Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Ghosts and Romance

When I think of ghosts and romance I think of Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and especially the last scene when she is an old woman and has died in her chair. Captain Daniel Gregg reaches down and takes Mrs. Muir's hand, telling her it's time to go. She rises up as Captain Gregg's young and beautiful Lucia, just as she had been when they first met and she rented Gull Cottage despite its reputation for being haunted.

Unfortunately, that's not the kind of ghost and romance I mean today. I have been busy.

I was waiting for a picture of my grandmother, which I received from my parents a week or so ago, so I could write the ghost story of her visit after she died. I wrote that this morning and just the memory of that special night still brings tears to my eyes because I know she's still near me and just a breath away. It's why I cry when I hear Josh Groban sing Just a Breath Away.

The story is for an anthology about ghosts and I have already been accepted and will even be paid. How cool is that?

The romance is for another contest. I wonder if I should just quit sending my writing in to contests and get back to writing for whoever will buy my words, but in a way it's a training ground, a chance for me to exercise my literary skills (or lack thereof) and get into the habit of writing more and more often. I am pretty proud of the story about a couple of teenagers who once lived across the street from each other and found out eight years later that they had always been in love. There's one little scene where they're walking down the beach one evening at Daytona and he kisses her. He gave her her first kiss when she was ten years old in a tunnel of love at an amusement park and both of them remembered the kiss but never said anything. The story's about summer and broken hearts that need the right moment and the right words to mend.

So, two stories down today in addition to the seven I wrote over the weekend. I do need to get back to the book, but I'm not quite ready to dive back into that deep pool. Not yet anyway.

I finished Rushdie's Fury and it took a surprising turn a little over halfway thru when Professor Malik Solanka falls in love and writes a fairy tale that launches another successful line of dolls and fuels a revolution in Lilliput-Blefuscu where his lover is from. But the ending, surprising as it is, turns out to be a joyful, silly, and wonderful moment when he realizes what is really important to him. It's a little more romantic than I expected Salman Rushdie to be, but it's my first foray into his world. Instead of jumping into another Rushdie world, I decided to try A. S. Byatt's Possession instead. I read a synopsis of the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and decided to check out the book first. It's a big one, but so far it's intriguing. The first few pages involve theft of history and a professional war between two scholars intent on the same poet. Could be good, but I'll reserve my judgment until later.

I did pick up the other Rushdie book I ordered, which was finally at the library, and checked the mail. I had nothing new to review until today when I picked up the mail. There was a box of five books, nonfiction and fiction, awaiting me and I haven't had a chance to get thru the library books yet. I can see I will be spending a lot of time reading for quite a while, especially since AuthorLink got their problems straightened out and are sending me another horror novel to read and review. Feast or famine, but at least there is a little money in the offing and that never hurts. Don't you feel sorry for me facing a mountain of books I have to read and review? *grins* Or is that jealousy I see in your virtual eyes?

I think I also upset an LJ user when I noticed one of the quotes he posted was from one of my favorite books, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. He considers her a pain in the head that just won't go away. However, I upset him when I said that his favorite, Hemingway, was without substance. Hemingway was a great reporter, but as a novelist his work is a skeleton without the muscle, flesh, and skin. I loved The Old Man and the Sea, but his books were more like movie scripts than novels. The characters are wraiths moving thru a ghostly panorama, but that's just my take. Not everyone likes the same authors, or even dislikes the same authors, for the same reasons. If we did, there would be no reason to have more than one or two writers or poets in any generation. Just pick the one everyone likes and forget about the rest. That's what is so wonderful about writing; there are so many different styles, viewpoints, characters, and worlds to visit. Some you like and some you don't, but than the gods there are lots to choose from. It's like trying a new food. You never know if you're going to like it or not until you taste it.

Just like I didn't realize until I got my father's letter today that I didn't know that much about his childhood. The log cabin he showed me when I was a child is where he was happiest and that was before his mother died. There is a whole history of my family and my father's life I know nothing about. I wrote back and told him I would like to know more about his life and about my grandparents. Hopefully, he'll share that with me and with my siblings. It's strange to realize you don't know much about your parents or what they were like, what they loved and dreamed and hated, and what made them into the people who were the center of your universe as a child.

Well, that's enough prattle for one day. I'll shut up now.


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