Monday, February 23, 2009

I wish I were as smart as Ira Glass.

During some blog reading in the last week or so, I was lucky enough to come across this video of Ira Glass speaking on stories. I've heard him once before on this topic, and he has such a sharp view of what makes a good story, and articulates it so well. Though he's, of course, speaking about making stories for radio, what he says about stories is universal for any medium. I transcribed a number of things, including:

"Narrative is like a back door into a very deep place inside of us, and a place where reason doesn't necessarily hold sway."

"When a story gets inside of us, it makes us less crazy."

He also talks about taste, about surprise, about the structure of telling a story. And about how a story is most satisfying when the audience knows what the bigger, universal "something" of the story is.

Ira Glass at Gel 2007 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

All You Need Is Love

I am a sucker for a good romantic story. Good, believable, subtle, difficult, imperfect, sincere, understated romance. Sometimes this is the main plot of a story, but most often, it's the secondary one. At any rate, in honor of V-Day, here are my favorite love stories.

For the grown-ups:
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Sexing the Cherry by Jeannette Winterson
Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Much Ado about Nothing by Shakespeare

For the teens:
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Graceling by Kristen Cashore
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Quotable Sunday

Everyone at Kindling Words gave a favorite quotation, many of which resonated with me, so I thought I would share those. . . .

"'Now' is the operative word. . . . You don't need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating."--Barbara Sher

"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it."--Abbie Hoffman

"One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it."--Katherine Anne Porter

"We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love object or its love."--Sigmund Freud

"We will rise to the occasion which is life."--Virginia Euwer Wolff

"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."--proverb

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."--Anton Chekhov

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."--E. L. Doctorow

"It's not down on any map; true places never are."--Herman Melville

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."--George Bernard Shaw

"Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--over and over announcing your place in the family of things."--Mary Oliver

"Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope."--Edith Wharton

"Don't ask yourself what the world regards; ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."--Howard Thurman

"I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it."--William Faulkner

"That's a sure way to tell about somebody--the way they play, or don't play, make-believe."--Madeleine L'Engle

"Things needs not have happened to be true."--Neil Gaiman

"Grown-ups always say they protect their children, but they're really protecting themselves. Besides, you can't protect children. They know everything."--Maurice Sendak

(I gave the Yeats quote that I love: "I bring you with reverent hands / The books of my numberless dreams.")