An evening with David Mitchell and Lana Wachowski

A lovely evening. Mitchell read from the first passage of Slade House (which I read a week or so ago, I’ll try to tell you about it soon!) and then he and Wachowski had a lovely conversation about art and immortality and writing between genres (as it were).

There were quite a number of moments I wish I could have recorded, but here are the two I wrote down.

On writing between genres, or being told your book should/shouldn’t have something because you’re not in X genre:
“If a book needs a dragon, it should have a dragon.”

On reading reviews: he said he certainly never reads the bad ones, because they’re so demoralizing and haunt you for months, but then he said he doesn’t read the good ones either:
“…even the good ones are wasps at the picnic of a calm mind.”

WOW what an image.

I’ve been a huge fan of his books for a long time now (the other book I took with me to have signed was Black Swan Green, which is one of my all-time favorite books) and it was wonderful to hear Nathan (the first character in Slade House) read in his voice. He doesn’t have a straight-up English accent, there’s a bit of a lisping quality around his Rs that I wondered if originates from his time in Japan/Asia…

I can’t wait to see what he writes next.

I really loved this little anecdote.

There was a guy I was reading about in the 1700’s whose wife was 10 minutes late at the dinner table every [night] so he took those 10 minutes to work on a novel and he ended up writing 3 very successful novels that way by squeezing in those 10 minutes. I think that’s the trick is giving yourself that time and scheduling it in.

from this interview with Mark Frauenfelder.

I love that idea of even just in 10 (or 15 even!) minutes a day, you eventually DO have something to show for your time.

(It’s repeated again in this article.)

I got to both of these from this article, from this post by Maggie, whose blog I really love.

Deep thoughts, with books and blogs.

I have an ongoing fascination with the way things intersect in our lives — how you do a new thing you’ve never done but Oh! completely unexpectedly it overlaps or intersects or has some deep resonance with something else you just did. I am particularly obsessed with this when it comes to reading (see “Good Things Come in Pairs” on this page) — it always feels like you somehow came to exactly the right thing at the right moment when those resonances happen.

Right now I am reading The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit and yesterday I read this quote that just dug deep down into the heart of me:

The things that make our lives are so tenuous, so unlikely, that we barely come into being, barely meet the people we’re meant to love, barely find our way in the woods, barely survive catastrophe everyday.

Today I was reading Lizzy House‘s blog and saw this:

Also, I just want to say, that maybe I would have met these people another way, that somehow we all would have come together in whatever way, because we were supposed to. Or that my hard work and merit would have positioned me for all of this good, but I do not believe that that’s how the world works, otherwise we’d all live on islands that were having parades in our own honor everyday.

Dang, world.

Private car jokes, a.k.a. things Mr Erickson and I now find hilariously funny and no one else can understand why we’re laughing.

  • The time he thought I said fireflies needed “human error” [once enclosed in a jar w/ holes in its lid]. (I said “humid air”.) “WHY WOULD THEY NEED HUMAN ERROR?!?” has become a standard response to many, many things.
  • The time he told me Friday was a two paper day and I said “Why would you buy two papers?” thinking he meant two copies of the same paper.
  • Graupel. The hot new thing in precipitation. “Gee, the graupel is really comin’ down out there.” “We could be in for some graupel accumulation!”

When you ride to and fro every day with the same person, you start to be like an old married couple, in-jokes, irritations and all.

This. Remember this.

Coretta Scott King: “I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture is violence. Neglecting schoolchildren is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.

Charles Eisenstein: “Love is the expansion of the self to include the other. And that’s a different kind of revolution.

both quoted in this amazing post by Eireann Lorsung.

To which I’ll add: “Love is the answer and you know that for sure.” –from another poet for peace, John Lennon.

Oh, real life.

…in which the lion’s share of our days is full of meaningless details: minutes spent waiting for traffic lights to change, minutes spent searching for lost papers or misplaced keys, minutes spent half-listening to uninteresting conversations.

-from the textbook for my Children’s/YA Lit class (a content, not methods, class) Children’s Books in Children’s Hands.