A lot of times, a book will be so good that it will make me want to write. "I can do this!" I think to myself. Not in a bad way--"God, how did this get published? I could do this"--but in the most positive way possible, creativity sparking off example like flint on steel. Other times, a book will be so good that I sort of inwardly despair at ever being able to do anything like that. Carter is one of those books. To be fair, I think I was depressed mostly by the sheer amount of research that clearly went into the writing of it; I've been poking around my preferred era of history since I was thirteen, and I still don't think I could marshal what Glen David Gold says (in the afterword) that he put together in five years. I get the same feeling from The Crimson Petal and the White, as maddening as I find the ending--a kind of massively detailed verisimilitude I envy but despair of matching. But then there's Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart books, which are infinitely shorter than either of those two, and tell just as good a story with more economy of historical detail. So... turning right back to the front of Carter Beats the Devil and reading it again probably isn't a good idea, is it?
(There were actually two points in Carter where I started gasping aloud. You know how in The Neverending Story--the movie, I mean--the boy is so relieved at some point [the sphinxes?] that he practically passes out? Yeah. That was me. I actually had to stop reading for a couple of minutes. That was the first part [page 586, paperback]. The second part was page 633. And while we're handing out page numbers, can someone tell me if the penultimate chapter is supposed to stop mid-sentence, or if my copy's just weirdly cut off?)
Meanwhile, I'm back on Black Ribbon, trying to hash out a new opening, and it's like shoveling coal. The ideas are good, but the execution is awful. I'm to the point where I'm just trying to get the roughest possible representation of what I want and then keep moving.
Nick Saban and Alabama win big over Western Carolina. And once again, I am a football orphan.
Damien Hirst skull sells for 100 million dollars. Jesus. Of course, it does involve 8,601 diamonds.
The World: In Cuba, a Politically Incorrect Love of the Frigidaire.
'Stache bash is one hairy contest.
'The Black Widow' snags Buffalo's wing-eating crown.
Man who lost pants and $41k gets it all back.
New Schizophrenia Drug Shows Promise in Trials.
Oh, Everyone Knows That (Except You): The path of "open secrets" to public knowledge.
"I think they come in peace... and sweatbands."
Gere touts new movie, urges Olympics boycott.
Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams split. It's just--read the entry title. I lol'd.
'No hope' for 'retoxing': Lohan unemployable.
Telluride Day 1: 'I'm Not There,' 'There Will Be Blood.'
Sci-fi fans warp into Atlanta for 20th Dragon*Con.
Director Named for the 'Descent' Sequel.
Trailer for the Long-Delayed 'One Missed Call' Remake.
Pics and Video from Shyamalan's New Flick are 'Happening.'
Premiere's Top 20 Plot Twists.
Pullman's next to feature Lee and Iorek.
Helena Bonham Carter to Film HBP Scenes in Spring, 2008. Meanwhile, HBC is pregnant again and... interestingly clothed.