The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Headin' to the Abbey

       I will be absent from the blogosphere for the next three days. (Try to refrain from sobbing for too long.) A friend and I go to Conception Abbey every year for a writing retreat. It's run by Benedictine monks and is located in northern Missouri.

        Three days without television or internet. Three days without distractions. Three days of quiet.

       I am working on a longish piece and will be sharing it with a critique group at the retreat. Although it's not finished, this will be the first chance for someone to say, "It's a steaming pile of poop." (If they do think it's crappy, I hope they see something redeeming in it so I can salvage something.)

      What is your favorite place to write/think/de-stress?

      And please, check my guest post out on The Muffin. After reading it, you might revel in your rejection...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Now There is Light!

Our part of St. Louis lost power on Friday evening, a little before nine. Tonight (Monday), a few minutes after nine, we regained power. Many people had a great deal of property damage; thankfully, I don't think a life was lost because of these tornadoes that dropped in for a visit. I figure, houses and cars can be replaced; loved ones can't.
On Thursday I went to see Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and now his most recent novel, And the Mountains Echoed.  His second book, Suns, is one of my all-time favorite books.
This is Khaled Hosseini signing his book.

This is the cover of his newest novel. Before the story begins, Hosseini includes a 13th century
quote from Jelaluddin Rumi. It could have been written yesterday. It is, "Out beyond ideas of
wrongdoing and rightdoing,there is a field. I'll meet you there." Brilliant! 

     He gave the audience some helpful hints. If you want to be a three-time best-selling author like he is, do this:

  • become a political refugee
  • come to a country where you don't know anyone
  • learn a foreign language
  • get into a profession (like medicine) that takes 10 years of school (Hosseini is a doctor and has lived in the U.S. since 1980) and then work on writing a book
     When asked what his writing day was like, he offered this golden nugget:

"I take my kids to school, I sit at my computer and hope something happens." (That's what all writers do...we hope something magical happens...)

       The woman who interviewed him asked a few silly questions. One of them was, "Why don't your stories have happy endings?" He responded as kindly as he could. (This ain't a Disney movie. These are stories about real life.)

      I finished the book this morning. (I read it by flashlight for the past couple of nights.) It did not disappoint...