Showing posts from April, 2015

"Sticky" Books

Any avid reader knows there are books and then there are books. There are books you read and then forget, and there are certain books that stick with you for the rest of your life.   When I was about 14, I read Mervyn Peake's novel Titus Groan for the first time. Reading has always been my favorite sport, and I began making up stories at an early age...but this encounter with Peake changed me. His rich, somber fantasy was a world unto itself. His characters and settings were odd and fascinating and wonderful--and presented with such skill that although I've not read the Gormenghast trilogy for years, I can still remember Peake's people and places with clarity.     Reading Peake made me write in a new way. His novels and poetry unlocked a deep love of language in me, a love for the shapes and sounds of words. This love flowed out of my pen and filled my notebooks with brooding teenage poetry (stuff you will never read and that I ought to bu

10 More Fun Facts About The Mermaid's Sister

Yet more Mermaidy Trivia...   I collected the name "Scarff" from the side of an appliance company van while on a trip to Virginia. I guess there are real people named Scarff in the world. And they travel about fixing washing machines. I wonder if they ever find orphans under apple trees or tucked inside seashells. Pilsner was almost named "Pilcrow," but it seemed kind of wrong to name a raven something with the word "crow" in it. The Red Hedgehog Tavern was named after the tavern Johannes Brahms liked to frequent in Vienna (Zum Roten Igel). For more on the bits of Brahms in the book, see the other 10 Fun Facts list on this blog. Clara Schumann The figure in the upper left corner of the book cover is Dr. Phipps, not Scarff, as some have assumed. Originally, Auntie was supposed to have a stubby-winged pet bat in addition to Osbert the wyvern. I'