Friday, August 12, 2011

TGIF at GReads

Author Block Party:
If you could gather a handful of authors to hang out with,
who would you choose?

This reminds me of an essay I wrote for my composition class in high school. Topic: invite five people to a dinner party and write about it. All I remember about my composition is that Fidel Castro was there and Harry Potter flew in on his Nimbus 2000. (Disclaimer: Fidel was there for dramatic effect only, he is not someone I admire.)

So, what authors would I like to hang out with:
  • JK Rowling. Not only has she created one of my favorite series of all time, but her life story is incredible. She's a real rags-to-riches story and has an amazing creative mind. One of my favorite things about Harry Potter is that Rowling is so intentional and playful with the words she creates to describe her imaginary world. I love that the teacher who turns into a werewolf at every full moon is named Professor Lupin, the French word for wolf. I love that the word "squib" defines a non-magical child born to a magical family. I've read that word used in military settings to describe a bullet or bomb or device that fails to detonate: a dud. I love that playfulness. And that's just scratching the surface, but Harry Potter is a world of fun for word lovers and anyone who has a basic understanding of Latin roots.
  • Diana Gabaldon (gab-uhl-dohn). I heard her speak at the Festival of the Book in Charleston, WV last October. She has about three science degrees including a PhD and a degree in Marine Biology. At the age of 30 she decided to "try" writing a novel. That novel was Outlander, which spawned a whole series, a spin-off series, and thousands of rabid fans of James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, of which, obviously, I am one. I love listening to writers talk about their craft: their methods and inspirations. Stephenie Meyer literally dreamed the Twilight series into being... Diana Gabaldon said she sat in church one Sunday morning, bored and distracted, thinking about a show on TV she'd watched the night before about an 18th century Scottish highlander warrior. She hilariously said that she couldn't get that "compelling image" out of her mind. So she went home and wrote a fantasy/sci-fi/historical/novel based on that compelling image. I also love that she is a mother of three and is wildly in love with her husband. She said that Outlander isn't just a love story, it's a story of a marriage. And I love that. From falling in love to growing old together, Jamie and Claire's love story doesn't get old. And so I'd like to get her to myself and ask her more questions.
In the resurrection category:
  • Charlotte Bronte (pretend there are two dots above the 'e'). Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books. I've always felt like Jane and I were kindred spirits, so I feel like I would also connect with Jane's creator. To me, Jane is one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, memorable characters ever written. What I love about Jane: her feistiness, her intelligence, her depth, her honesty, her absolute belief in her own value as a human being... she knows she is worthy of a great love and won't settle for less, her moral conviction, her resilience, her passion. She is someone I would love to have come to life and be my friend. (Can I choose Jane instead of Charlotte?) I hope that I embody some of the characteristics that Jane does. Oh, have I mentioned I love her?
  • Also, as I thought about this party, which is very heavy on the estrogen, I think I'll resurrect another dead author. Since I'm still getting over Hemingway, I'll bring him back to life circa 1925, in his hunky Paris stage, pre-him-becoming-a-total-jerk. I'm quite sure I'd end up despising him by the end of the evening and wind up just glaring at him across the party. But without him, Charlotte and I might just go off to the corner and gab about Jane and sip lemonade, and we know that Ernest knows how to party. Whether or not the whole "man's man" thing was just an act--the image he wanted to present to the world, or not, he's sure got the testosterone thing covered. And lest Ernest feel outnumbered by the ladies in the room (although I'm sure that was his favorite ratio) I might dig up John Steinbeck from his grave too. Then they could duke it out over who oozes more testosterone. I've always thought that these contemporaries had lots of things in common. I don't think they ever met in real life, but at this dinner party, they can argue over who killed more big game, seduced more women, and wrote better books.
Anyone wanna join us? :)

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