Pam Houston’s genre-breaking book takes readers on adventures far and deep within
You could say it was prescient that Pam Houston began writing her latest book on an airplane. But then, the award-winning short-story writer and novelist often writes on airplanes—and when she started writing these vignettes she had no idea they’d morph into a novel.
“I was invited to an evening called ‘Unveiled’ at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, where a group of us was going to read new, untested work,” said Houston. “I took the assignment so literally that I wrote the first 12 chapters on the plane and in the hotel the night before. After I read, Richard Bausch said, ‘Write 100 of them, and that’s your next book.’”
Authors Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler open up
On a Bookshop Santa Cruz wall, notes are taped above a pile of books whose covers depict a luminous white coffee mug suspended against a red backdrop.
“We broke up because I’m not a gorgeous Australian who lives in China. Accents, right?” reads one note. The words, “We broke up because...” are printed on pages of a notepad near the shop’s display, prompting book shop visitors to share their break up stories. The notes correspond directly with the title of the books piled below: “Why We Broke Up,” by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. popular children’s author Lemony Snicket).
Kiss procrastination goodbye; say hello to pen and paper
If the old adage is true, that each of us has a book inside ourselves, then the trick for most people is getting the words from the inside transcribed to pages on the outside.
The problem for many would-be writers is that the idea of having written is far more attractive than the grueling task of writing itself. Yet if you harbor a secret dream of penning the next American novel—or even a breathtaking bodice ripper—one thing is certain: you must sit down and write.
Editor’s note: This week’s Poetry Corner features Lola Haskins, who divides her time between Florida and Yorkshire, England. “Still, the Mountain,” her ninth book of poems, won a medal in the 2010 Florida Book Awards. Her 10th, “The Grace to Leave,” will be published by Anhinga Press in 2012. Ms. Haskins loves coming to Santa Cruz.