Time Keeps on Slipping Into the Future

Another day off the grid. There seem to be a lot of those this time of year. I'm juggling a lot, and the cracks are starting to show. No writing is getting done, which hurts, but there's no help for it. Sometimes things take priority. Taking care of my children, being there for every sniffle, every school project, every tantrum and sleepless night, is a decision I made long ago. They'll be grown and gone one day and I'll sit here in the silence and wonder where the time went. While I have it, the words will have to wait.

In other news, rain has arrived in Louisiana. After a year of droughts and hot, dry weather, in October the skies opened up, and in the last month or so have made up some serious ground. As I write this various areas of the state have received anywhere between three and eight inches of rain, with more on the way. Flood watches and warnings have been posted just about everywhere. In my backyard, we are now the proud owners of a stream. Welcome, stream. Do not grow any larger, please.

All of this bad weather and holiday madness has also meant I haven't had much time to spend at the renovation project. It's killing me, as I've grown very attached to the place again after all these years, and I've very much enjoyed the process so far of renewing and remaking the place where I spent my childhood. It's also been an opportunity for my sister and I to reconnect, something that was long overdue.

One thing was accomplished, however - we've chosen a name. No longer the renovation project, now I give you: Arcadia Farm. A few days ago I registered us as a National Wildlife Foundation home habitat, and as part of the process you're required to give a name to the property. We had been playing around with Arcadia for a while, and after some more debate and suggestions we settled on adding Farm to it. No, it's not a farm now. But, it could be, one day. One day.

The LOML and I are taking the GRE on Saturday, in preparation for heading to grad school in the fall. My goal is a PhD in Creative Writing and Folklore. The plan is to take it slow, but every journey starts with a step, does it not? And so here is my step. Why am I doing it? Partly to become a better writer, to hone my craft and research topics that interest me. Partly because I just love to learn, and I miss academia. Partly because it would be nice to have a backup career. And partly because it's been a bucket list item of mine for a very long time, and, like it or not, we are all steadily marching towards that bucket.

So, it's off to study (wow, are my math skills outdated), and wrap presents, and wipe runny noses, and reminisce of antediluvian days.

Every year is getting shorter
Never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to nought
Or half a page of scribbled lines ...

11 December 2009

The Greenhouse Project

As promised, here are pictures from the greenhouse project I completed on Thursday. Ok, maybe 'greenhouse' is being a bit generous. It's probably closer to 'rigged up plastic lean-to', but hey, at only $25 for supplies, I'm not complaining.

The impetus for this whole thing comes from the fact that I have lots of container plants. Lots of them. Many are tropical or semi-tropical in terms of cold tolerance. Now, in the north, that would mean bringing everything into a sheltered location for the duration of the season, but in Louisiana, when it can literally be 20°F one day and 70°F the next, it generally means hauling the whole mess in and out of the garage any time freezing weather threatens. As you can imagine, this is a HUGE pain. Every year I say I'm going to do something about it, but I never get around to it. This year, however, I was determined.

I started with some supplies I got at the local home improvement behemoth. Three 4' lengths of rebar, six 5' sections of of pvc pipe, a bag of L connectors, and approximately 250' of 4mil plastic sheeting along with a few tools: hammer, scissors, staple gun, and that most basic of all redneck home project supplies, duct tape.

Next, I pounded the rebar into the ground at roughly even intervals across from a section of my backyard fence that is already in a nicely sheltered area on the south side of my house. Over this I put three of the pvc pipes, and attached the L brackets at the top.

After this I started attaching the plastic sheeting. I covered the fence, attached the other three lengths of pvc to rest on the fence supports and act as a roof, then covered the remaining two sides, securing it to the ground with heavy cement blocks so that I can lift the sides up on warm days to allow for air circulation.

Next I added some cheap plastic shelving and started filling it with plants. I believe on final count the thing ended up being roughly 8'X6'X6', enough to handle all my plants, but just barely. I think next year I may have to go a little bigger.

Finally, with lots of duct tape and some creative scissoring, I managed to scrape together enough of the plastic sheeting that was left to cobble together some doors. I secured them with clips so that they, too, can be opened up on warm days, and then I strung old leftover Christmas lights over the plants inside, to add just a little more warmth near the leaf surfaces.

So far, the thing has held up beautifully. We don't get ice and snow accumulations around here often, and though the LOML had to go outside Friday night a couple of times to sweep off the heavy ice that was building up on the roof, I think the thing will work beautifully for its intended purpose - a place my beautiful tropicals can overwinter without being such a pain. The location is perfect, close to a water spigot and a power source, so other than a little watering now and then we should be good to go. As I said, it wouldn't hold up to the punishing winters up north, but for my purposes, I'd definitely say it was a success.

06 December 2009

Welcome to England, He Said

Can't seem to get that song out of my head today. It's Tori Amos, in case you're interested. You better bring your own sun, sweet girl. I love Tori. Amazing artist. I saw her once, in concert at the Varsity Theatre, not long after it opened (I'm dating myself here), in Baton Rouge. Her first real tour, in support of her debut, Little Earthquakes. Unbelieveable show. My small-town mind was absolutely blown as I watched her writhe and purr on that piano bench. My musical sensibilities changed that night, and I'm not sorry for it.

No writing today, but lots of thinking. Lots and lots of thinking. I think the book will be mostly on hold until after Thanksgiving. I might be able to get something down tomorrow, perhaps again Thursday. After that, though, it's mad dash to grocery shop, clean the house, and feed the masses.

Second, don't forget that The Absent Willow Review's Anthology, The Best Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction 2009 is on sale now here. It contains my story, "The Last Fairy Tale," one I'm quite proud of, as it were. Also, something I hadn't thought of until a friend mentioned it today: I'm more than happy to sign copies of the book for anyone who requests. Just contact me via private email and I'll send you the shipping address and particulars.

A picture of my roses up top, by the way. Just for the hell of it.

17 November 2009

In and Out of Weeks

And I have been. Time passes quickly for me during the fall, though in some strange way my mind seems to slow down somewhat. I haven't written anything of consequence in about two or three weeks, though I *have* been busy. Life takes over sometimes, and pushes away the stories. They linger, however. They linger.

Lots to do with the kids, and outdoors. For those of you who live far away, in Louisiana, we sort of all come back to life in autumn. It is soooo hot here in July, August, and even most of September, that many of us kind of hibernate inside, hugging the air conditioner. In October and November, the air cools off, the humidity falls, and we venture out again. I've been on field trips, camping trips, and other fun adventures with my kids. I don't regret that the stories have to take a back seat right now. I'll pull them out again when the weather is too cold and wet to enjoy the outdoors once more. For now, I'm reveling in the beautiful weather we've been having.

Lots to do in the garden this time of year, as well. With the heat of summer gone, and the cold of winter on its way, the job is two-fold: Put to bed all the warm season perennials who need a good, thick blanket of mulch to make it through the winter, and plant all the cool season annuals that will keep the garden alive during the cold days to come. This means lots of pansies and snapdragons for me, as those are my two favorites. One sweet allysum, though I haven't historically had a lot of luck with that one. I'm even thinking of getting a small Leland cypress in a pot on the back patio and wrapping it with Christmas lights. We'll see, though...that may be a bit ambitious...

Busy day today. Laundry is overflowing, and must be dealt with. Groceries are depleted, and must be restocked. And later today, rain is coming, followed by a nice shot of cold air. *Sniff, Sniff* Do I smell gumbo?

16 November 2009

Tam Lin

This song plays heavily in the plot of a great book I just finished, Elizabeth Bear's Blood and Iron. If you are interested in stories that delve deeply into Arthurian legend and the Faerie mythology of the British Isles, you'll love this one. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the Fae.

<a href="http://music.trickypixie.com/track/tam-lin">Tam Lin by Tricky Pixie</a>

03 November 2009

October 23, 2009

I've been somewhat remiss on working in journals lately. Autumn and Spring do that to me, I guess. I'm too busy getting things done to sit down and write about it. I haven't written in my personal, handwritten journal since this summer. I've learned, over many years of keeping journals, that I'm just not the sort to record every single thing that happens to me every single day. My dad was. He wrote something every day, even if it was just a quick weather and health report. I've found that I'm much more successful if I just write whenever I have the urge.

I have been busy, however. This week I finished "Father Patrice Hears Confession", my Louisiana werewolf story, polished it up a bit, and sent it out into the wild. Hopefully I'll get a sale on it before Christmas. We'll see.

Some news to report as well. I've decided to move this blog over to WordPress. I've been thinking about it for a while now, researching a bit and reading what other people who use it have to say, and I think it will be a nice fit for where I'd like to go with this blog. I imagine I'll keep this one live, as an archive, if nothing else. Of course I'll link back, and send out an announcement when I've made the change.

In the meantime, Autumn marches on, even down here in the semi-tropics. It's a bittersweet time for me - on the one hand I love the relief from the oppressive heat of August and September, but it's the start of the time when I'm cold (literally, my hands and feet are freezing) all the time. I can never seem to warm up in winter, no matter how many layers I pile on. It's a constant battle to keep my blood circulating to all my extremities properly. So, while I love the season, I hate the cold.

We do, I'd like to point out, get some beautiful fall color down here in Louisiana, despite what many think. We just get it much, much later than our neighbors to the north. Whereas their leaves begin to turn in September, we usually have to wait until November before things begin to get colorful around here. In the meantime I've been perusing garden blogs from more northern climes, hearing about early snowfalls and enjoying their beautiful foliage pictures. When our leaves begin to turn, I'll post some pictures of my own.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of interesting mushrooms I snapped at the Renovation Project last weekend. We've had an unusually wet October around here - it's normally our driest month - and as a result, lots of interesting fungi have been sprouting up.

23 October 2009

in time of daffodils

in time of daffodils

in time of daffodils(who know

the goal of living is to grow)

forgetting why. remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim

the aim of waking is to dream,

remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze

our now and here with paradise)

forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond

whatever mind may comprehend,

remember seeks(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be

(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me, remember me

- e.e. cummings (1894-1962), American poet

Thanks to Helen Yoest of Gardening With Confidence.

09 October 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Goodbye, Necrography.

Got an email today informing me of the demise of yet another small print 'zine. I'd submitted to them in the past, but ended up pulling my story because the lag time was far, far too long...

I'm not sure what the formula for a successful start-up is, 'cause I've obviously got no experience in that area, but I will say that as a writer I was kind of offended when they announced their last-ditch survival effort a few weeks ago:

Because of this, we're implementing a new submission policy. It's very simple. If you buy a copy of Necrography, then submit your work, we guarantee it will be read and reviewed with the utmost attention and you'll get a quick and personal response in a very timely manner. If, however, you submit to Necrography without buying a copy, we can't guarantee we'll respond to your submission or even read it in the first place. This submission policy will be in place when (and if) we re-open submissions again.
Now, I can appreciate a lack of money as much as the next starving artist, and I surely can imagine the pain of submissions that far outstrip advertising or subscription dollars, but this just didn't seem like a great idea to me. Sure enough, it pissed people off:

The move we made nearly a month ago, in regards to our tiered submissions triage, served only to anger a few of our writers and friends.
In any case, there has to be a better way. I find it sad that small print 'zines have such a low survival rate, but the fact is, the world is changing. Short fiction is becoming an online format, pure and simple. People don't buy magazines for stories much anymore - if they buy stories in print at all, they buy them in anthology format. That's just reality.

However, I think it is true that as writers and readers, we should support the 'zines we expect to stay alive long enough to publish us. Small press magazines have a long history of teaching wanna be's how to write professionally, and I think that's especially true for genre writers. So, maybe we do have an obligation to subscribe as well as submit.

Brandon Bell has an interesting post on the subject, and his idea is to subscribe to three 'zines, to lend his support to venues that support his career as a writer. I can get behind that, I think. Updates to follow.

05 October 2009

Goodbye and Good Riddance

The hulking mass of rusting metal and tornado fodder that's been the bane of my existence all summer is finally gone. I'm extremely happy, because instead of the solution we expected, having to pay to get the thing towed away for scrap, someone actually took it - a man who plans to renovate it and give it to his sister who currently has nowhere to live. So, not only did we get rid of it, we recycled!

In celebration, we spent the day Saturday cleaning up the aftermath. The movers left the porch and its roof (second photo). The LOML dismantled the porch, but we're still up in the air about the roof section. The tin is still usable, so we put the whole thing off to the side, hoping some brilliant idea will come to us about how to use it. In the meantime, this area of the property looks sooooo much better.

September was the six month anniversary of the start of The Renovation Project, and so far I'm more than pleased with the results. We've reclaimed huge sections of the lawn and flower gardens, started on the wooded areas, and even done a little of the demo work on the house. For a project done on odd weekends and days off, I think we've made lots of good progress.

The novel is coming along nicely as well. Out of my literal mountain of notes and scene snippets, I have cobbled together three good chapters so far in draft one, and the words have come steadily every day. My goal is to finish a draft by the end of the year, but ideally I'd love to be done long before that. I'm thinking hard about doing NaNoWriMo again (yes, I love torture), so to be done at the end of this month would be great. We'll see, though. I'm not going to beat myself up over it - I've missed too many self-imposed deadlines to think that might work.

Rain, rain, rain since we got back home Saturday night, and I'm not complaining. Rain is good for contemplation. It cleanses the mind. And if there's one thing about me that's dirty, well...

'Til next time.

September 18, 2009

A little more traction this week, though not by much. I have managed 1600 more words on my new story, a werewolf tale called "Father Patrice Hears Confession." That title's subject to change, of course. It's what I'm calling it now, anyway.

What else has happened...let's see. I went to the Friends of the Lafayette Parish Public Library semi-annual book sale and picked up my usual sack or so of books. Didn't find as much as I normally do, unfortunately. It wasn't that there weren't a lot of books available, just not as much in the categories I'm interested in. Science Fiction and Fantasy take up one tiny table in the corner. Other speculative genres and horror are kind of spread around here and there. It's fun, a giant garage sale of books twice a year (and what bibliophile wouldn't love that) but I wish I could have found more in my favorite genres.

Yesterday I read "Brokeback Mountain", by Annie Proulx, from her collection Wyoming Stories. I wanted to read it for two reasons - one, because Annie Proulx is a master of beautiful prose and I wanted to study her style, and two, because I'm interested in including more GLBT characters in my own writing (my recent story "Becoming" being my first attempt). It was wonderful, of course, heart-achingly beautiful and poignant. It evoked a level of emotion in me that I hope to one day achieve in my own writing. The movie was wonderful, I loved it, but maybe because I'm a reader and a writer the short story - condensed, tightly written and powerful - had a much stronger impact on me. I think it's one I'll come back to.

Facebook continues to be interesting. Despite privacy concerns, it's been wonderful for connecting with people I thought were lost to me forever. Old friends, connections broken by life and circumstance, have been popping up everywhere. Makes me nostalgic for my old hometown, and for at least some parts of my childhood.

My son and I are working on growing some little pumpkins for Halloween, though I fear we may have planted the seeds too late. Today I found a female flower, little green baby pumpkin attached, so I hand-pollinated it. We'll see what happens. If push comes to shove, I'll buy a little pumpkin from the store and shove it among the leaves sometime in October. Hopefully he won't catch on that it's a big fake-o.

If you're of the liberal mindset and interested in politics, check out my friend Diane's website, The Wild, Wild Left. I've posted some essays there before, and hope to again eventually, but there are lots of good writers hanging out ranting about this or that. Caution, though - if you're conservative and looking for a scrap, you'll get one - they're pretty devoted over there.

In any case, off to write for a bit. The book sale is ongoing through Saturday, so I may sneak back over there in a little while. Shhh....don't tell anyone, ok?

Image © 2009, Lynette Mejia, all rights reserved

18 September 2009

Is District 9 Racist Against Nigerians?

I loved District 9. I'll admit, however, that I kept wondering throughout the whole thing why the gangster-types were all Nigerians. I figured there must be some kind of cultural reference I was missing. It bothered me somewhat, even though I still loved the movie. I think it had some important things to say about the nature of the "Other" and what it means to be human. We use that term as a synonym for kindness and mercy, but by and large I don't think humans tend to act in accordance with how we like to view ourselves.

In any case, I've been following some of the reactions to the same questions I had. One author who's blog I follow, Nnedi Okorafor, was very offended, and the whole Nigerian thing ruined the movie completely for her. Here is her post. And she's not the only one. There's been a lot of backlash on the internet by people who resent Nigerians being portrayed in such an unflattering light by the filmmakers. Some are calling for an apology by the film's director, Neill Blomkamp.

From Tola Onanuga at The Guardian UK, however, comes another perspective: Why District 9 Isn't Racist Against Nigerians. In it the author makes a case that the director portrayed the white corporate types and "MMU" employees as much more evil, that the film is intended to be a reflection of the inhumanity of all the humans in the story, and the evolution of the aliens from the ultimate "Other" to creatures who have more in common with us than we'd like to think.

Both of the above authors, by the way, are of Nigerian descent.

So what's the opinion here? Is District 9 racist? Are some humans deliberately set apart as "worse" than others?

I tend to think the originality of the story, the relevance to issues the whole world faces relating to race, and the superb film-making that went into the movie ultimately override any concerns I have about which human group is depicted as the most evil.

Still, though, it nags me...did it have to be Nigerians?

11 September 2009

The Point Game

Found this article today, published in the New York Times a few weeks back. It's about the Accelerated Reader Program, and I think it makes some good points. Both of my children go to schools that use Accelerated Reader, and, I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about it myself.

On the one hand, I think anything that promotes kids' interest in books is a good thing. AR, through its point system, gives kids reading goals to work toward, and at both my kids' schools, meeting those goals is rewarded at the end of the year. It's a big deal to get an AR award, and, after growing up in a school system in which only athletic achievements garnered attention, I think that's a wonderful thing.

On the other hand, however, I remember as a kid having a stack of my favorite books, and reading them over and over until they were dog-eared and falling apart. They were dear to me, priceless even. Some of them I still have, all these years later, and every time I look at them on the book shelf I'm 7 years old again, reading on a drowsy summer afternoon.

My kids have the same habits, but with AR in the picture, I can't allow them to follow their natural reading instincts. In order to get the points, they have to stay on reading level, constantly read new things, and rush through books in order to get the required points by the end of the grading period. There is no lingering over a beloved book. There is no rereading. There is only the numbers, and what the numbers can get you. In some ways it turns reading into a chore, something else to be checked off on the homework page. Reading isn't an escape for them - it's becoming part of the grind. We can't even have a break in the summer, as both schools now have a "Summer AR" program.

I'm still of a dual-mind about the whole thing. As I said, I think anything that encourages kids to read, to discover new authors and to broaden their horizons has merit. But to turn it into something quantitative, something to be measured and compared and reduced to a data set for the gratification of schools...that just seems fundamentally flawed.

10 September 2009

September 3, 2009

I keep nearly all of my fiction books in my bedroom. Since they number somewhere around 600-700 volumes, you can imagine what that looks like. The walls are lined with bookshelves, which are themselves crammed to overflowing. I designed it that way for a reason, however. Books are my talismans. They make up the fortress that surround me when I sleep. I find it comforting to wake up and see them all there, quietly waiting, sentinels whose magic and knowledge keep whatever lurks in the darkness at bay.

I write in there too. Though most of my business is done in my office, the meat and bones of what I do take place in that room, where I can curl up on my soft bed with my laptop, surrounded by all those voices, some of them still speaking after hundreds of years. Shakespeare keeps me company. So does Dostoevsky, and Milton, and Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Jane Austen keeps my time. Isaac Asimov types furiously along beside me. Hemmingway and Poe drink in the corner.

They're good company, if a little daunting. My prose wilts like a weed in a forgotten parking lot when I really stop to think about how it compares to what surrounds me on the walls. Most of the time, I try not to think about it, but occasionally it gets to me. I look at those words on the screen, and I wonder, who am I kidding? This is horrible, a monumental waste of time.

But then I stop, and I look around, and I remember that at least some (if not all) of them went through the same thing, or at least something close to it, at one point or another. Everyone has self-doubts. And truthfully, when it comes down to it, I don't write because I think I'll make money at it, or because I think I'll have some sort of fame or illustrious career down the line. I write because I have to, because, for as long as I can remember, it's been my vocation, whether or not I wanted to admit that. I write because, well, what else would I do? In the end, though we all look outside occasionally for validation, the only real opinion that matters is mine. Who gives a shit if anyone else ever reads what I write?

I look up, and they're nodding and smiling. I smile back, and look down again, down at the terrible prose on the screen, the stuff I write, the stuff that makes me happy. I put my fingers on the keys, and I continue.

03 September 2009

Dead Winds' and Spent Waves' Riot

And our newest feature - guess which poem today's title was snurched from! A bit of a game I play sometimes, for those of you who know me well. Several of the blogs I read use song lyrics, snippets of poetry, etc. in their titles, and I get a little thrill when I recognize where it came from. A clue to a secret message; a shared wink, as it were.

1300 words on "Limbs" yesterday, wrapping up my first draft. Today I need to jump back in and start the revising process, though that can be a tricky thing. Sometimes you need to step away from a project in order to see it clearly again. I also hate to do it because I know that, in its current form, this thing sucks, and as many times as I tell myself that first drafts are supposed to be awful, that every piece of art starts out as a crude approximation of its final form, it's still hard to look back at what I've written and see it so mangled and crude. In some ways, it's easier just to look away. It has to be done, though. I need to get some fresh stuff to market.

So here I am, in this bright morning time when I'm groggy and fuzzy-headed and not quite all there yet. I normally like to write in the afternoon, sunset or thereabouts, but the time between 3pm and 9pm is taken every day by homework, extracurricular activities, and the like. Things have definitely ratcheted up a notch this year, for both my kids. And, as a consequence, for me.

Still, I'll do it. In a few minutes I'll rattle into the kitchen for a fresh shot of caffeine, then screw up my courage and open that file. I do it because, despite the anxiety, despite the uncertainty of a paycheck and the nagging fear that I'll never be as successful as I want to be, I still love what I do. Time to get to work.

27 August 2009

August 25, 2009

1200 words yesterday on my new short story, "Limbs", inspired by a chopped up live oak tree I glimpsed along the side of the road Sunday while bringing the kiddos to visit their dad. This will be my first horror story in a while, and I'm happy to be back in the area. I like writing horror, or, as I suppose it could be called, "dark fiction." It's a place where I'm comfortable as a writer - peeking into the darkness we all know is under the bed or in the closet. It appeals to my inner child (and yes I know I was a weird kid. I still am.) For a while the only stories that came to me were fantasy. I'm glad that black-eyed kid is back. I missed her.

In other news, a very unusual August cold front arrived over the weekend, bringing in dry, crisp air with the tiniest taste of Fall. It's my favorite time of year, my most productive as a writer, and it cheered me a great deal to feel the first, tiny yawn of Nature. She'll be going to sleep soon, and I'll be waking up again. But, isn't that always the way of it?

25 August 2009

Review: The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan

I've been a follower of Caitlin R. Kiernan's blog for a year or so now, but The Red Tree is the first of her books that I've read. I follow her blog for the same reason I follow other authors - to get a glimpse inside what the process is for them, how they write, create, and manage to move in and out of the world of their art. I think I like her blog best, however, and I find myself looking for her posts every morning, mainly because she doesn't gloss over the life she leads, and the difficulties she has as an artist. It's all out there for the world to see - the bad days, the periods of writer's block, the fears she still has about whether or not she's good enough. She lets her readers into her life in ways I'm still not brave enough or comfortable enough to do yet in my own writing, or even here.

Yeah, I know, I know, this is a book review. I'm getting to that.

My point is, over the course of reading her blog I've come to know a few things about her, and when I read somewhere that The Red Tree was autobiographical to some extent, it interested me. It's a tricky thing, injecting some of what you are into a story - it sort of sets up a "is it real, or is it memorex" kind of situation for readers and fans. I started reading the book with that mindset, and the feeling stayed with me throughout the experience. The reality of it, however, turned out to be much more layered and complex than that.

Let me say first of all that I loved the book. Not in the way one loves Shakespeare, or Hemmingway, but in the way one loves Poe, or Lovecraft, or Swinburne. The Red Tree left a mark on me, a feeling that I know I'll get every time I see it sitting there on the shelf. Even as I type this, and look down at it here beside me, I'm drawn into it, into the atmosphere the author created, and I feel myself slipping into a memory of that world - the world of Alice - through the looking glass, as it were. A world where "everything we see is but a dream within a dream."

And that's the point of The Red Tree, I think. Throughout the novel, I went round and round with the story, in and out of reality, in and out of what might be true, what might be dream. I thought about how many things the protagonist had in common with the author, and I wondered - what is real here?- with every chapter I read. What is real for Sarah, the protagonist? What is real for Caitl in? What is real for any of us?

Throughout Sarah's journal entries and dreams, her research and her memories, I was kept slipping, looking for a foothold into reality. As it turns out, this is both the draw and the magic of The Red Tree. It's a book about finding oneself lost, even though the path may appear straight; about the confusion and pain of losing our way, and how anger and pride cloud things even further. It's all of those things wrapped in an atmosphere of dark fantasy and gothic sensibility, and it was a great read. Five Stars.

18 August 2009

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