About Writing Fiction
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So we watched the recent movie Shirley. Great performances, interesting concept. It wasn’t what I hoped for, but it was based on a work of fiction, a writer’s interpretation of what she drew from an idea of Shirley Jackson’s life. Don’t let it deter you from reading the novels of one of the great writers of the fiction of the dark and strange sides of life.
Here are links online and a brief list of what I’d recommend to start with.
I’ve been called a lot of things in my time but my favorite sobriquet involved broken glasses, a travel bag, and a raconteur who told endless tales on beckoning roads.
I’d just finished fifth grade.
We went on a trip to Mexico. My parents hired a driver and car. When we drove out of Mexico City, we headed to Puebla, Oaxaca, Taxco and many archaeological sites, several only half-unearthed.
We stayed at hotels in various places and then the following day we’d meet our driver for the next adventure. The only resort town we stayed in was Cuernavaca towards the end of the trip.
The driver was a wonderful guy who wore a cowboy hat, had a moustache, and a philosophical outlook. I would guess he was forty (maybe younger or older?) but all I knew at ten was he was a grownup.
I sat up front with him while the rest of the family (Mom, Dad, sister, two brothers) sat in the back where there were two rows of seats.
I carried a Braniff Airlines yellow bag that seemed huge. I don’t know what was in it now but some travel necessities were likely stuffed down within its uncharted depths.
I wore a pair of sunglasses but they dropped on a stone at Teotihuacan when I sidestepped some sunning rattlesnakes and I lost one of the lenses.
I kept wearing the sunglasses anyway.
After this, the man who drove us called me “the one-eyed man with the yellow bag.”
It remains my favorite nickname from childhood.
He’d say it like it was some Homeric epithet. Then he’d tell tales from the road and his various adventures. Sometimes he had beer on his breath, which meant the stories would get wilder as he drove.
Once, after wandering ruins at Monte Alban, he shouted across a distance filled with many people, “At last! The one-eyed man with the yellow bag is here!”
All heads turned toward a ten year old.
I felt famous.
That guy made the trip amazing for me.
The time in Mexico opened my eyes to a deeper world than I’d known before. I have other moments from the trip that felt profound to me—the one-eyed man with the yellow bag—and though I don’t remember his name now and he may never have remembered mine, I’ll never forget his tales or the moment he christened me in the shade of ancient stone carvings of jaguar and Quetzalcoatl.
Douglas Clegg News is undergoing a change, and I hope you come on board.
There’s a free ebook when you join, a coupon for my Payhip-run bookstore, and a special offer for my signed book bookstore. But beyond that, I’ll be opening up my life a bit more, posting about writing, my other interests, what I’ve been reading, and more.
Hope to see you there!
What is this pandemic madness? Pet portraits? Here are our current two, excellent friends, hang out together all the time, even share their bed with each other — scandalous!
The wonderful Dawn Nassise made my husband and me masks for this pandemic year. This is one of them and it’s perfect. This may also be my 2020 Official Author Photo Look.
Hope you are well and safe in this time of coronavirus 19.
Buy me a coffee.
In this scary and unsettled time, when the entire world is dealing with this pandemic, I hope you and those you love (and even those you don’t love) are okay.
Stay well, do your best, and let’s hope others come through this with a sense of joy intact despite the uncertainties and the unpredictable future. Thanks to first responders and medical professionals, those who work in delivery industries, those who keep their grocery stores open, and anyone, any helper, who is on the front lines of this crisis.
This picture looks like it’s about a mirror and some roses but it’s really about my Alpina typewriter, made in Germany in the 1950s. It’s a beautiful machine and I love typing on it. I alternate typewriters when working on drafts, primarily to keep the work aspect fresh.
(One of our major interests here at Stonehaven is the garden. We have several— with themes. One is a Roman Pleasure Garden with pool and pond and tropical plants, another we call Dogwood Park with witch hazel, dogwood, plum, peony and several other bushes and plants and which also has a sitting area and rock wall; and the other is the Witch Garden full of wild things, fountains, and statues of Persephone and Demeter. Hey, life is short.)
Hellebore is one of my favorite flowering plants. It has a very decadent, debauched kind of hang to it, producing some beautiful but stygian flowers that bloom in late winter and might’ve been imagined by Edgar Allen Poe or Charles Baudelaire.
When they’re blooming, their leaves usually haven’t caught up, thus the plant looks ragged in this close-up, but this is the first hellebore blossom of the season. We planted seven of these around the shady areas of the garden last summer. Apparently, if they manage to survive a few years, they’ll become small bushes and have the potential to produce a lot of these flowers between February and late April.