It is a good day today. Writers are publishing, striving, and thriving. I am reading and writing at a break-neck clip (more on the Novel Blog to come shortly) and I had an entire weekend of a contemplative respite from the busy city and feel refreshed and focused on my craft... even when I'm at my soul-sucking day job. Today, three names are circling my brain: Therese Walsh, Stuart Neville, and Michael Chabon.
One of the first writing blogs I read was Writer Unboxed that is run by a gamut of people, but one of the founders of the site is Therese Walsh who's debut novel is out today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy is primarily for women and has been getting awesome reviews. I'm very happy for this new author and everything that she has gone through to get to where she is now. It's a big moment for any author, and one that is getting these kinds of reviews, well, good things are in store for sure! I think why so many people are actively rooting for Ms. Walsh is because yes, she is an author, but she is more than that. Through her site, she has become a friend to so many authors and readers alike. People will go to the book store today to pick up The Last Will because they like her. I don't know too much about the book (and what little I do know, I won't try to explain here) but I have this inkling that after work (around 4:30) I'm going to head to the Barnes and Noble across one of the busiest intersections in Atlanta, march my butt up to the counter and ask for a book who's genre is "Women's Fiction." I don't think that I would have ever picked this book up, no matter HOW much someone tried to goad me into it, because of that outlier of being "Women's Fiction," but for Ms. Walsh, (I'm going to call you Therese) I'll make an exception.
Stuart Neville's breakout novel - The Ghosts of Belfast - landed on U.S. soil a few weeks ago. I'm always interested in books with the connotation of being in the genre of 'horror'. It always seemed to me that I couldn't become scared by a book, but then I started reading some Stephen King and all of a sudden... I understood. I always thought terror to be something more visceral (if not low-brow) with slasher flicks like Saw and The Exorcist, I thought that to be scared by something, you had to see it, but these authors have taught me otherwise. James Ellroy, another very prominent (and very scary) author has already swathed Neville's first foray to the point of hyperbole, saying that it is the best first novel by an author he has ever read. (not verbatim) Really, really excited about this book, and I don't think it could get here fast enough.
Finally, I'm going through a really fun romp through the ever-growing life work of Michael Chabon. I picked up Gentlemen of the Road on my Kindle a few weeks back, and read through it rather quickly. Then I picked up his semi-auto-biography Manhood For Amatuers and I absolutely loved the glimpses into the mind of one of the best writers of prose alive today. Now I'm working my way through The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (Note: the link isn't to a current edition... I bought this one, it's the limited edition. I think I was lucky to find it.) which is another delightful display of prose from anything else I have read by him. I'm only about halfway through the relatively short book, but it is definitely dense enough to warrant a second reading. I found it interesting that he wrote this book so young, and it puts me in one of those "why-not-me?" mentalities. I enjoy these fires clear and unextinguishable passion for the craft that I practice that have been burning for a while now and don't seem to be going away. Michael Chabon has, better than any other author I have read, made me feel like I can do this too. I think it's his utter brilliance that he can make his writing come off with such ease (or, at least, it seems that way on the page) and can make the whole idea of writing so attainable because it almost seems like he is goading the reader, saying "See? Look how easy this is." I know that it's not easy. Even for him, but damn, those long, prophetic, sexy sentences and metaphores seem to flow almost too easily.
So what is it that these three have to do with eachother? They are all inspirations to me in their own ways. Therese makes me want to write blogs and get my name out there, Stuart makes me want to fight hard and expand my writing horizons and gives me hope, and Chabon is the master of letters that is capable of transporting me to the Pittsburgh of Art Bechenstein. These three have given me joy and prodded at the fires (however futile) of my own writing aspirations. Everyday I write harder and better because of people like this who have, at least to a certain extent "made it." I hope one day someone will mention me in their blog in this same way.