Hey guys! Welcome to the second day of Armchair BEA! BEA (Book Expo America) is a huge event featuring books, authors, agents, publishers and is basically a Bacchanalia for booklovers. Alas, it is in NYC and I’m on the West Coast so I will not be in attendance. But fear not! Because the lovely people at Armchair BEA have a great week planned for those of us who won’t be at the convention, and I’m participating!
So this is where I talk about Twitter. When Twitter first showed up, a few years ago, I was skeptical. I’m a writer, and the idea of having to limit myself to only 140 characters was…unpleasant. Daunting. So I never bothered to make an account. Until I discovered book blogging. Ensconced in Lit was holding a Twitter party. I had to figure out what that was, and when I realized there would be actual authors involved I had to give it a try. And I discovered that through that magic that is Twitter, I could actually interact with real live authors. This was also daunting, of course, but mostly amazing. Since starting my own blog, I’ve learned that through the magic of the @ symbol, I can notify authors of when I’m mentioning them, and sometimes they thank can me. Imagine!
And sometimes, Mary Lindsay reads my review of her book Ashes on the Waves, and leaves me a beautiful comment!
I don’t ordinarily comment on reviews of my books, but your last line really got me. *wipes away tear* This book was an intense experience–a labor of love. Thank you for taking the time to read and review Ashes on the Waves.
(It’s not letting me insert a gif, but that’s okay, because there aren’t any that can properly express my glee anyway)
And once, in response to my featuring her book for Grabby Paws, I got into a Twitter conversation with Victoria Lamb that involved sharing adorable kitty pictures back and forth.
So I’m officially a fan of Twitter, and all the author interaction it has facilitated for me.
But it still can’t quite beat meeting an author in person.
For a while I lived in Southeast Pennsylvania and they have an event there every May called the May Day Fairie Festival. It’s held on a beautiful farm in the middle of nowhere, and the best part of the event (I feel) is the Fairy Chautauqua. This involves a tent, about twenty people, an author (usually with an artist, sometimes one of two of each), and a discussion. At the last one I went to, Carolyn Turgeon read excerpts from her novel Mermaid while Charles Vess drew his interpretation on a white board. Then we all made poems or drawings interpreting a passage for ourselves. Hands down this event is what I miss most about the East Coast. If any of you reading live within driving distance I definitely suggest you check it out.
The first year I went, Holly Black was there. I’d just finished reading her Tithe series a few months before so I was beyond thrilled. I brought my copy of Tithe for her to sign and we took pictures.
I know it’s dark, but it was raining that day. It just makes her even more cool, that she was willing to drive from New York to a muddy farm in the middle of nowhere two states away just to hang out and talk to lovers of faeries and fantasy.
More Than Just Words
Today’s discussion post is on “those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story.”
Before I started blogging, when I was spending most of my time in the deviantART literature community, I ran a group called the Lit-Visual Alliance. There was a bit of a divide between the literature community and the visual arts community, since the latter was huge and the lit community not so much so. The idea of the group was to create literature based on visual images, and to create visual images based on literature. I was trying to foster the kind of creative cooperation that used to go into the creation of books. My mother collects old books, and my favorite is a copy of Wuthering Heights with woodcut illustrations interspersed throughout. Illustration didn’t used to be solely the domain of children’s books, and with the increased cost of printing (something we could fix if we’d start printing on hemp paper, but that’s another topic entirely!), it has sadly fallen by the wayside too often.
I had the idea for the group when I ran across a painting that haunted me so much I just had to write a poem about it, to tell the story of the creature painted within. So today, I’m going to show you the painting as well as my poem.
Washed up a remnant,
a relic of abandoned epochs,
she inhales her first breath in an aeon.
Air thick with soot,
pungent with poison,
sinuous hands fly to her throat
as she sputters a curse
in a language long forgotten.
Beneath the slick surface of her murky realm
lost, she wandered on,
searched through centuries for a land
half-remembered in dreams.
Time and toxins took their toll
and when she arose from the depths
her scales shone bright with mercury,
glinting silver in the moonlight.
With trembling fingers
she combs starlight from her tresses,
brushes moonbeams from her curves,
counting lesions to her body,
carved by knowledge, knives
or nothing. She no longer knows.
across the magic mirror
a thousand starry-eyed monstrosities,
rake their gaze across her form.
jagged rocks and filthy sand.
Another breath laced with smoke
and she feels herself fall.
“This land is not the one I have dreamed of,”
she reasons. “I will find my way back to it one day.”
A lullaby of cities screaming sings her to sleep,
and like a marble image of long-lost beauty
she graces the land like a Goddess,
forever marking the place with her presence.
A discarded star slips unnoticed from her brow,
shimmers like a promise against the tainted shore,
before she sinks beneath the waves,
to upon waking, resume her search, once more.