Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Untitled

News yesterday morning put a damper of sorts on an already chilly day, one that began with my heading out the door at 6:45 a.m. (on a Saturday!) to visit the lab for bloodwork (see my post about how I apparently have just dodged slipping into a coma). We then spent the day as we'd planned, hauling out the holly from the storage unit to Christmas-ize the apartment.

If I have to be in one of these holding pattern "wait and see" modes, I have the best book to keep me company. You all know how much I have a literary crush on Michael Cunningham. (As a refresher, The Hours is one of my all-time favorite books and By Nightfall will be on my best books of the year list.)

I just adore the way Cunningham writes. I mean, one-line gems like these?  I cannot get enough.
"When we were together, memory dragged behind consciousness on a shortened rope and any event more than a day or two old fell away into the prenatal darkness." (pg. 171) 
"This is what you do. You make a future for yourself out of the raw material at hand." (pg. 106) 
I spent last night reading approximately 100 pages of this gorgeousness and am hoping to finish this up today. Which will be a sad thing. This is one of those books I don't want to see end, mainly because I know I only have one more Cunningham novel (Flesh and Blood) to indulge in.

One of the things I love about Cunningham is that he makes this writing business look so effortless, so easy. As we all know, that's not the case. Even Cunningham himself acknowledges such in the beginning of A Home at the End of the World. It's easy to miss the very small, brief author's note on the page with the publication and copyright information. He writes this:
"A Home at the End of the world was started during hard times. By the date of its completion - nearly six years later - things had eased somewhat. For those more comfortable circumstances I thank the National Endowment for the Arts and The New Yorker. I must reserve the bulk of my gratitude, though, for several friends whose generosity literally rescued this book during its early phases, when encouragement, shelter, and even a working typewriter were sometimes hard to find."  
I think it's so important for us writers to remember that, even for those that make it look it easy, there was a time that it wasn't. (And, that maybe it still isn't.)

Among the other things that I'll be reading today are some works by folks who may (or may not) be hoping for the type of recognition someday that is currently enjoyed by the likes of Mr. Cunningham.  You see, I've gone and joined a writing group here (actually, two of them!).  I'm really excited about this for a lot of reasons. I like the idea of meeting similarly-minded writerly people here and in regards to my own writing, I think I need this.  I haven't progressed all that far on my novel on my own, and it's not lost on me that some of my best years of writing were more than 10 years ago when I was in a very-similarly structured writing group. There's something to being accountable and getting regular feedback, and I'm looking forward to reading what these new friends have to say.  

What are you looking forward to reading this week?

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

HOme at the End of the World was the first Cunningham I read. It was marvelous!

Anonymous said...

I've never read any Cunningham but now maybe I'm thinking that I should. Where do you suggest I start?