Friday, July 5, 2013
In my real life, I enjoy looking back at the places I've been, the things I've done, the people I've known, so it only stands to reason that I'd create characters who share this trait...even if they usually have a lot more painful memories than I do. Hey, conflict is good in stories, not so good in real life, right? So it all works out.
As I think I mentioned in my First Book Friday post a few weeks back, the Oberon series is finally going to print and, as a result, I've been re-reading the series for the first time in years. It's been an interesting experience. You know that quote from the end of Field of Dreams, where James Earl Jones says, "The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces."? Yeah. that's been me these past few weeks.
There are good and bad aspects. It's been ten years since the first book was published (and I wrote it a few years before that!). As I read it now, I see all the anachronisms. My characters still wear watches and only rarely carry cellphones. Their computers are oddly antiquated--as is their political and cultural environment; there's a Governator joke, for one thing, as well as a passing reference to same sex marriage that could only be confusing in light of recent events.
When two of my female characters bemoan the fact that they can't marry each other and ask themselves, "What was the Supreme Court thinking?" it's in reference to the California Supreme Court which, in 2004, voided several thousand marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by the City of San Francisco.
On the other hand, I've been having a blast remembering not just where I was when I wrote certain scenes, but what my life was like, where I was living, what my kids were up to, what grades they were in, who their friends were that year, or the year after...
Of course, that's part of the magic of books and you don't have to have written books to experience this, you only need to have read them. Or, perhaps I should say, you only need to have fallen in love with them.
There are quite a few books that have the power to transport me to another time in my life (gee, it's almost like Quantum Leap!) and that I'm compelled to re-read from time to time. Here are just a few:
1. Lord of the Rings. My sister and I devoured the trilogy over summer vacation the year I was 16
2. Rebecca. Oh, was there ever a book that screams "Summer Read!" any louder than this one? Well, maybe Jaws, but let's not go there.
3. Owl in Love. Obscure, but delightful. I have to re-read it from time to time. I simply have to.
4. The same goes for Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek (which is somewhat less obscure, but no less delightful...but not for the faint-hearted
5. And for The Forgotten Door. I know someone who periodically buys all the used copies he can find and hands them out to all the children he knows. Yes. It's that good--and even more out-of-date than my books!
6. Dirk Gentley's Holistic Detective Agency. I loved Coleridge before I read this book, I love him twice as much now. Oh, and Douglas Adams too, of course.
7. Pride and Prejudice. I don't really need to explain this one, do I?
So what about you? What books make up your Wayback Machine?
Posted by PG Forte at 3:38 AM