Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Path of Imagination

Eons ago, before the written word, stories entered the world by mouth and not by hand. Tales of the great hunt were shared orally and passed down the same way. Eventually language was converted into symbols and some of these tales were chiseled into stone or painted onto papyrus. With the advent of voice technology software, we have come full circle. Stories can enter the world via the voice before they're converted into symbolic language. Voice activation software still has a few bugs, but it keeps getting better and better. It won't be long until it's darned near perfect. When it gets to that point would I stop writing novels and convert to talking them instead? Probably not.

Intuition tells me that typing words activates a different part of my brain than speaking them out loud. I write more elegantly than I speak. Call me crazy, but I feel like the pathway from my imagination to mouth colors my words differently than the pathway from my imagination to my fingers. A story begins in the author's imagination, but surely, how it's filtered into the world affects the end product. Or does it? 

Unlike my talented ancestors who didn't have the luxury of computers, typewriters or even paper, my brain isn't wired for long verbal feats of memory, organization and story creation. It's just not. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Very First King Size Bed

Away in a Manger 

First published in 1885 in a Lutheran Sunday school book, the poem is often mistakenly attributed to Martin Luther himself, but in actuality the author is unknown. In 1895 William J. Kirkpatrick put the words to music:

Away in a manger, 
no crib for a bed, 
the little Lord Jesus, 
lay down his sweet head. 
The stars in the sky 
looked down where he lay, 
the little Lord Jesus, 
asleep on the hay.

Simple and sweet, this song takes me back to childhood. My parents didn't have a lot of money, but I felt rich with joyful anticipation. On Christmas eve, during the car trip home from my Great Aunt Josie's cozy little house in the city, my four sisters and I would sing carols. We knew a ton of them, but someone always requested Away in a Manger. Ahh, the memories.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Writes From Readers

Fan mail is a rare treat for a relatively unknown author like me, so I thought I'd share:

Dear Ms. Verhoff, I enjoy reading about teen girls who have interests outside of dating and clothes. Glory isn't a wizard, she doesn't fight vampires or zombies, but kicks butt in her very own way. Her weapon is never giving up. Glory rocks! ~ Nicole* from Boulder, CO (12-4-2012)

Hello Nicole:

You are right about Glory Alley. While she's not immune from fantasizing about nice clothes and dating, most of her energy is focused elsewhere. As you know, her dream is to become a geologist, but her first priority is simply surviving her dysfunctional family. Like all teens, Glory Alley is a rich and complex individual. She is stubborn to a fault, yet insecure about her place in the world. As a daughter, grand daughter, sister, friend, rock collector, student, budding geologist, spelunker and a dreamer--she must learn to balance her strengths and weaknesses within these many roles.

Some readers have come away from the book calling her selfish and labeling her the bad guy. Others see her as the selfless hero. I find the range of reactions interesting, but not surprising. We're all part saint and sinner. Whichever category others decide to place us in depends on their unique experiences.

By the way, I love the way you defined Glory's weapon as never giving up. If you don't mind, I'm going to borrow some of your comments. Your email made my day. I really appreciate the time you took to contact me. 

*Last name was removed to protect the reader's identity

For your convenience, read a sample right now.