Thursday, March 27, 2014
Tanith Lee has always been one of my favorite writers. Her worlds are strange, fantastical, and disturbing, as are the scenes she writes--a woman in an alternate Renaissance is killed by a flamingo; Snow White falls in love with a beautiful dwarf; a family of vampires exists like the mob in modern England. Her heroines seem to be victims until they discover a goddess-like power within. Her heroes are as striking and unsettling as dark gods, yet are still fallible and human. Love is an ancient, erotic power. Her universes are gorgeous nightmares, even when set in reality (When the Lights Go Out), the Victorian era (Reigning Cats and Dogs, Elephantasm), strange futures (The Silver Metal Lover, Eva Fairdeath), or other worlds like something out of a glittering and grotesque Mesopotamian mythology (The Flat Earth series, Anackire). Her Secret Books of Paradys might as well take place in some elegant hell, the characters poets and artists and criminals. In her hands, vampires and werewolves become bizarre, seductive, and truly terrifying (Heart-Beast, Personal Darkness, Lycanthia, Red as Blood). She even manages to make robots and Romeo and Juliet her own (The Silver Metal Lover, Sung in Shadow). As for her antagonists, they are as perverse and glamorous as devils, yet still manage to remain human.
Other books by Tanith Lee: The Heroine of the World
The Blood of Roses
Sometimes, After Sunset
A Bed of Earth
White as Snow
The Secret Books of Venus
Friday, March 14, 2014
(Illustration: The cruel and elusive Muse)
WHAT I IMAGINED: Waking up early in the morning and having coffee on the balcony while outlining or researching a book. Maybe going to a coffeehouse.
THE REALITY: Dragging out of bed late in the morning due to staying up late obsessing over a plot problem. Drinking a can of espresso during two hours of checking emails and social networking.
IMAGINED: A constant stream of fabulous ideas.
THE REALITY: As usual, the best ideas still hit just before sleep (hence, the dragging out of bed in the morning).
IMAGINED: Being more energetic with only a part-time job and full-time writing.
THE REALITY: Realizing exercise or yoga or something is needed after being hunched over a computer, desk, or book most of the day. Feeling like a pretzel. Drinking way more caffeine.
IMAGINED: Saying clever things on social neworks and giving out advice while creating a magical experience.
THE REALITY: Strugging to say clever things on social networks and getting distracted by GoodReads and Pinterest.
IMAGINED: Time to write short stories and plan other books while writing devastatingly gorgeous prose and intriguing characters for my current book.
THE REALITY: Errands, house cleaning, playing with the cat, appointments, etc;...you know, life.
IMAGINED: Efficiently and perfectly completing revisions while telling myself I love revising.
THE REALITY: Panic that the revision might not be finished, while realizing I don't love revising as much as I thought I did. Clutching the manuscript and growling "You again?"
IMAGINED: Getting lost in the world and characters I've created while listening to inspiring music, surrounded by candles with witchy scents--sandalwood, patchouli, midsummer's night--and perusing magazines with great photos and old books of folklore.
THE REALITY: Music, witchy candles, magazines, and books on folklore are expensive, so, not so much.
Realizing that writing isn't a job. It's a fantastic, satisfying way of life that requires discipline and a nurtured imagination. And, so far, it hasn't stopped being fun.