Showing posts with label J.K. Rowling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label J.K. Rowling. Show all posts

Thursday, September 27, 2012

On The Casual Vacancy (Jillian)

J. K. Rowling's new book was released today.  According to Allison Pearson, writing for the Telegraph, it is a far cry from the wizarding world - dark, often unpleasant and coarse about British suburbia.  There have been questions about her writing something that is definitely not for children.  She said, "I’m a writer and I will write what I want to write." Personally, she can do whatever she wants - she's had phenomenal success, such that the vast majority of writers will never experience.  If she wants to write a dark, misanthropic tale, that's fine with me and the people who will read it and enjoy it for what they get out of it.  It would be a far worse thing if The Casualty Vacancy was a self-commentary on Harry Potter, if it unravelled the magic that she wove with those stories.  But no. They are two different animals. There is no law that says the woman must write about Harry Potter for life or not at all.  Goodness, I'd hope not.  The more power to her.  I just hope her next endeavor is a little happier.

For the record, the more I think about the bleakness and unkindness of The Casual Vacancy, the more convinced I am that I'd rather read her work than something such as Fifty Shades.  I'd rather be slapped in the face with a brilliantly-written, chilling work that makes me think, rather than slog through a boring, plotless chassis of a book. 

[These opinions are solely those of Jillian.]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whimsical Wednesday: From Rowling to Rebecca

Here is the mid-week whimsy report:

  • The New York Daily News got hold of a copy of J. K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy in advance of its release.  They've gone ahead and called it dull, but judging from how the release of this book is a highly anticipated event, I'd imagine others will have their own opinions.
  • NPR has an article on a Broadway musical-that-could-be based on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.  A Broadway musical of Rebecca?  I'm in. 
  • The Telegraph has a lovely article compiling reflections of authors and their first jobs.  It makes me feel like my beginnings, humble as they are, are in good company and not to be regretted.  Among the stories: Hilary Mantel was a social worker in a geriatric hospital; Attica Locke worked in her father's law office; Joe Dunthorne was an incompetant barman. 
  • The Emmys were Sunday night.  I was disappointed, of course, that none of the gentlemen from Sherlock (Cumberbatch, Moffat and Freeman) won anything.  I suppose they have a few BAFTAs anyhow, though.  There was a lot of talent in the room, I must say.  And it was a big room.
  •  Jillian is now on Twitter.  She still hasn't quite figured out how to use it.  Details to come!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thoughts on Ms. Rowling (Jillian)

Today is the day J.K. Rowling's first novel since Harry Potter, The Casual Vacancy, is/will be released to the public.  As a writer about to enter into the publishing world, my little novel clutched hopefully to my chest, I can't help but admire Ms. Rowling's quest to continuing writing in spite of all the mounting pressure.  Will it be as good as Harry Potter? Will she be able to successfully separate herself from the wizarding world?  Can she handle it?  I don't have the answers to those questions, because I'm not her, but I believe she is doing a very brave, intrepid thing, breaking herself away from the creative world that brought her so much success and trying her hand at something new, a totally different kind of story.  I wish her the absolute best.

Allan Massie of the Daily Telegraph has an interesting blogpost this morning on Ms. Rowling, asking: how do you deal with a book by an author who has achieved such a phenomenal success as Harry Potter?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Computer Diaspora (Jillian)

Alas, the time is coming soon where I might have to part from my beloved laptop on a temporary basis. Long story short, my laptop – friend and ultimate writing tool – decided it no longer recognized its AC adapter and refused from that point on to charge its battery. There is, of course, no logical explanation for this sudden bout of computer amnesia. I had two different partial diagnoses from two different “geeks”, and, believe me, a new adapter did no good despite their insistence. Hence, the fear that the geeks’ favorite way of solving things – that is, sending said machine off into the great unknown so someone else can attempt repairs and wipe the drive for good measure (grr…) – will have to be implemented.

Forgive the moaning in the above paragraph, but I am sure you can relate. When a writer’s preferred tool of crafting and performing her art is mercilessly taken away, a feeling of hopelessness settles in. Last year, I had the misfortune of falling down marble stairs at work with the same computer. Result? Cracked screen, just like a car windshield, but in retrospect, it could have easily been my skull. It was taken a repair shop where it languished idle for about two and a half weeks. Never mind how expensive that venture was, it was next to impossible to overcome the feeling that my hands had suddenly been cut off, and I could not write. Period. I dread returning to that state of writing paralysis again.

As I consider sending my dear friend away for another necessary respite, I cannot help but think how ludicrous the “writing paralysis” is. Yes, it is almost excruciating to be separated from the thing that has been such a vital instrument in my writing, but… I can write… because essentially writing is not about the computer. My brain works the same. My hands still work. The story is in my head, and not necessarily in its most consummate form on the hard drive, anyway. And, I must remind myself, writing via word processing machine is only a recent trend. After all the likes of the magnificent Mr. Chaucer and Mr. Shakespeare, many before and many, many after, produced manuscripts without use of a laptop, spell-check, online references and dozens of fancy fonts. Quills, hand-made ink, grossly expensive parchment and/or vellum, blotting paper, and candlelight… those were the tools. And what wonderful tools they are!

In fact, only last year (if you recall), Agatha Christie’s writing desk went on sale, no doubt for a pretty sum. I read Lucy Davies’ blog on the Telegraph website, and was intrigued some time ago by an entry devoted to those who collect the palettes of van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Mattise, etc. Anne Frank’s diary is preserved under glass. So is the Magna Carta in its various surviving versions. I wonder sometimes if I ever become noteworthy (ha! If at all, long after my demise!) would they preserve my laptop behind glass? Would it convey the same meaning as Jane Austen’s simple writing table, or would it be just another old computer with a black, dead screen? Hm…

Jane Austen's writing desk, from the Telegraph

I must remind myself that I do have these simple tools, too. Wouldn’t it be such a challenge, such an adventure to continue work on my novel as if nothing ever happened… except the change in medium? If all those others can make use of simple paper and pen, why can’t I? I already do.

So, I am beginning to toy with the idea of writing actual chapters via legal pad. While I have not yet lost the ability to write with a pen and paper, I don’t know if I’d have the patience for it. Another idea… old typewriter? That would definitely be an easier transition. But where might I find one that is both functional and semi-affordable?

A lot of things to think about. My only hope is that any crazy experiment can cause me to grow into a more versatile writer… the kind of person who can write a novel on a train or in a coffee shop, even if all I have is a napkin. After all, that’s what J.K. Rowling did – legal pads, coffee and a cafĂ© after hours.

By Jove! It’s so simple, it just might work!


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