September 29th, 2005


Reality is sinking rats

"It's the perception of being in control, not the reality, that determines our success in navigating the world... In short, successful writers are rats with islands. They can't see the island, they have no logical reason for thinking there's an island, but as God is their witness, they know there's one somewhere and they're going to keep swimming until they find it. "

Jennifer Crusie on How to Survive your Publishing Career

when we helped tamaranth clear out her shelves for moving, she gave me Welcome To Temptation, recommending the scenes about writing sex scenes; personally I like the water tower that looks more phallic every time they repaint it to stop it looking phallic. I picked up another 3 or 4 Crusie novels in San Francisco and have been binge reading them ever since. They're smart, sassy and loud-mouthed ('spaghetti-spined weasel' is a typical insult), but they also remind me of Georgette Heyer - in terms of conflic, resolution and character, as well as in the irony. And the sex scenes are nicely written. Following a link from a link from a link I found her Web site, including this column from Romance Writer's Report, talking about how facing reality isn't necessarily a good thing, especially for fiction writers, and using examples from Half Empty, Half Full. Like the experiment where they take two tanks of opaque liquid, one with an undersea island and one without. Sunk rats are rescued, but rats who've found an island in a previous tank swim for twice as long before sinking.

Her conclusion is a variation on 'writers write' combined with 'no surrender' - which sounds good to me. But it's making me think about what is coping and what is a coping mechanism; what are the things to be worried that I do and what are the things that may seem weird but are a good thing for me to do because they help. For me half empty is when I'm drinking and half full is when I'm pouring and days when I remember that are always better than days when I don't.