Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Few Words Before Bed

Yes, I admit it: I gave my obsessive impulses free rein today. They pushed me through the expansion of yet another L'Engle stub on Wikipedia, about Sandy and Dennys Murry, into a full article, and completing the same process with the article on Calvin O'Keefe. I am unrepentent. It was good and important work, and I'm glad I did it.

But oh, what a mess I've made! Looking up the entire histories of these characters has led to my pulling book after book off my L'Engle shelf, so that I can look up everything from what Charles Wallace said about reading to Calvin's gift of shoes from Mr. Jenkins, from the name of Dennys Murry's wife to the way Madeleine L'Engle's early publishers tried to constrain her writing into predictable patterns. Soon I will have to put them all away again, except for A Wind in the Door, which I'm rereading, having just read A Wrinkle in Time yet again.

Something I've been meaning to say about that: in reading through this favorite book of mine, I was surprised to discover that although I've pretty much memorized all of the dialogue and some of Meg's thoughts, a lot of the description is barely familiar to me at all. What characters think and say and do tends to be everything to me, so even with this terribly familiar book I've made very little connection with lines about the weather (aside from the infamous first sentence: "It was a dark and stormy night") or the moon over Uriel. I suppose I need to make an effort to pay more attention to description rather than skip over it. As boring as it generally is to me (not in L'Engle per se, but generally), I need a good grounding in what it looks like when it's done well, so that I can do it better myself. Rereading the Murry-O'Keefe books (and eventually the Austin family books) should help with that, as well as helping me with the Wikipedia pages on L'Engle and possible my own L'Engle site, The Tesseract. Equally important, I think, is the input of literary material into my brain, which tends to be all output, too much of the time. Even literary reruns should help me get a fresh perspective on my own books, even as I write a bunch of online stuff about L'Engle's work.

Still, even before I get through all that, I have other writing to do. I left Princess Cathma Masha of the other Mâvarin in the middle of an argument with her protector and confidant, Wil Masan. I'd like to know where that conversation is going, even though I probably shouldn't be working on that book at all yet. I need to get Mages of Mâvarin under control first. I've made it to Chapter Five in that, finally, page 149. I seem to be getting it done in little spurts rather than steady effort.

And now I'm going to bed. Jace and Sandy will have to wait for tomorrow to tell the next part of their story.


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1 comment:

julie said...

Hey! I see bits of the top of your desk! They're bigger bits than I can see on mine. I'm jealous! ;-)