While helping to plan and set up the MFRW Spring Mainstream blog hop, I was searching for just the ‘right’ name. Spring cleaning was just too depressing. Spring planting might resonate in some places but in the high desert it can lead to erratic results. Then I remembered a song I heard years ago, sung by the iconic Doris Day…something to do with Spring Fever. Hmmm, Spring Fever, now that’s a great blog hop title, speaking to all levels of writers.
With that established, I was contemplating my own blog. How would I tie in my featured book, Teach Me To Forget, with Spring Fever? I went to You Tube (my very favorite time suck) to remind myself about the lyrics. Lovely, and so…lyrical. Off to the side, You Tube suggests other renditions of whatever I’m watching (TIME SUCK MUCH???), leading me to what looked like an opera singer. What the heck, let’s check it out. Bryn Terfel
Okay, jaw dropping and mind racing. It’s so unusual to hear someone singing with such precision. The precise enunciation of each word, with just a slight emphasis on the ‘p’ in ‘dope’ along with the clarity of every phrase, plus generous facial expression supporting the words. What a treat to hear popular music interpreted in such a classical fashion.
Then my brain switched from appreciation to contemplation. Do you see a parallel between category writers and literary writers? How many times have you been told your writing was ‘too literary?’ I know I have been, along with several very talented writing friends. ‘Word usage too sophisticated for the average reader’ is one of the more common phrases. Along with ‘too descriptive’ and ‘today’s readers don’t want that level of detail, they want their books moving forward with great energy.’
Really? All of today’s readers lean more toward Hemingway than Faulkner? Then why do we have questions about the details in a story, and why oh why do we miss those rich, evocative descriptions? Some of us want to know how ocean waves slam against the dock during a storm, sending salt water spray to mingle with the fresh water of the rain. Add in the bone deep chill of a wet wind and the bright flash of lightning and we are THERE, waiting for the shadow of the love we once met on that dock…
I think readers, and writers, come in all degrees of detail desires, and I find the proliferation of small presses and the greater ease of self publication allows for a much greater variety and depth of description.
That said, here’s a snippet from Teach Me To Forget
***At first, Jonathan wasn’t sure he’d come to the right place, in spite of the dog dancing at his feet, and he worried about finding her in time. Night came early this deep in the woods, and travel was necessarily slow among the granite outcroppings and fallen trees. If Bethany were seriously hurt, it would be a major undertaking to get her back up the hill after he found her.
Baron dashed up to him again, actually taking hold of his sleeve and pulling as though he had a thought in his head he needed to convey. For lack of better direction, Jonathan gave in to the urging. Once he took a step forward, the quivering red dog dashed away again to take up his post at the foot of a thickly leaved tree, looking up and whining.
She’d somehow managed to wedge herself in a fork of the tree. Her arms embraced the trunk, further support being added by the over-shirt she’d wrapped around her body, tying the sleeves to a sturdy branch. A quick inspection showed him the problem, branches and a vine holding her foot at an angle too awkward for her to free herself. From the scarring on her heavy leather shoe, it was obvious she’d tried. Of course she would try. Bethany had taken care of herself too long to wait around for anyone to help.
Her face was pale against the leaves, a few stray freckles standing out starkly. Thick auburn lashes lay on the dark purple smudges defining the tops of her cheekbones. She seemed to be resting, or passed out, her mouth tightened as though to keep in any sound of distress.
“Bethany?”Something, perhaps the speed of his search, had caused a slight constriction in his throat. Clearing it, he tried again.
“Bethany? Honey, how bad is it?”
The lashes quivered, compressing briefly then parting to reveal soft, mossy-colored eyes. In the twilight world of the not quite awake, she blinked then focused on him. Her mouth quivered, stretched into a small smile.
“Hello,” she said, barely above a whisper. “I knew you’d come.”