Monday, April 16, 2012

Confessions of a Fangurl

It had been happening so slowly, so stealthily, that I had failed to notice it until I was fully in the throes of the obsession. I had become a fangurl, with a u, yes. The object of my obsession? The brilliant YA author Maggie Stiefvater. And while I LOVE and adore her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, I believe I fell into obsession after numerous readings of her entertaining and educational and insightful blog. Ms. Stiefvater (I dare not call her Maggie!) is not only a very talented writer, one who obviously has the soul of a poet, but she also is a musician, composer, and award-winning artist. (What’s the matter Ms. S., no time to find a cure for cancer? Cole St. Clair would have!!) Though I’m older than she is, I want to grow up to be Maggie Stiefvater!

Yes, it came on slowly. Interestingly, I was fortunate enough to see her and hear her speak at last October’s Wordstock before I knew who she was! Had I known what I know now, I hate to think how I might have humiliated myself. A few months later I started working on a YA supernatural, and was concerned about the format I was using, going back and forth between the two main characters’ points of view. But lo and behold, I started to read SHIVER and what was Ms. S. doing, but that very thing! That was encouraging, especially by the time I’d finished SHIVER and fallen in love with it. If it worked for Ms. S., it might, possibly, maybe, work for me, the lowly fledgling writer.

But then there was the blog. Oh my, the blog. I love her blog. She is so amusing. So intelligent. So knowledgeable. So willing to share her knowledge with her readers. Coming late to this party, I’m still working my way through past posts, but each and every one is a jewel. Her posts on the craft of writing are inspiring and extremely helpful. My iPad always has tabs open to one or more of her writing posts.
And Ms. Stiefvater posts frequently. Excellent posts. And she writes excellent books. Lots of them, thankfully…I have a lot more reading ahead of me. And she plays musical instruments, plural, and composes music. And draws. And is married with a family. When do you sleep Maggie?

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of knowing Maggie Stiefvater’s work, check her out here.
P.S. I just went back to my blog post archive, and noticed that I first mentioned Maggie Stiefvater in my January 29th post. How fun to read that! I was so obviously in that early, new blush of growing obsession. How quaint. Sigh.

Monday, April 9, 2012

C'est Paris!

Paris est magnifique!

A delightful week, sunny and warm, spent soaking up all Paris has to offer, and finding writing inspiration around every corner. What more could I ask for?

While we saw all the regular tourist sights, and a few lesser known as well, the highlight of the week was a walking tour of a small section of the 6th arrondissement, (left bank) with the author of a book we read prior to our trip. (The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris is a memoir of the author’s years in Paris.) Originally from Australia, John Baxter is a friendly and engaging tour guide and storyteller, and we saw everything from the courtyard where Gigi was filmed to where Hemingway lived with his second wife, to the flat where the guillotine was invented, and the gutter that carried all the sheeps’ blood from the inventor’s trials and errors during the inventing process. The tour was followed by a wonderful afternoon spent sipping wine and eating fromage in his terrace apartment with its view of Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, talking about writing and cinema, and all things French. (He has a backlist of 40 books, many of which are biographies of people like Woody Allen, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas etc.) Our other tour mate was a fascinating man from Australia, Lebanese by birth, who in his spare time is a playwright. So our afternoon turned into a wonderful ‘salon’ experience. Quite appropriate as Sylvia Beach used to live in the building, and Hemingway and Fitzgerald were often there to visit her! I kept having to pinch myself!

Of course the literary part of my trip wasn’t going to be complete without a café crème at Hemingway’s old haunt, Les Deux Magots, on Boulevard St. Germain. He would write all morning in the café, all the while nursing ONE café crème.

In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes about spending hours looking at a Cezanne painting and gathering inspiration from it. Enjoying all the magnificent artwork in the many museums in Paris, it was hard NOT to be inspired. In fact, two sculptures in particular have become sources of inspiration for one of the YA books I’m writing. And of course, inspiration could be found in the very charming city itself!

A perfect trip. A beautiful city that begs for another visit. Someday.