I will be gainfully employed once more as of this coming Monday. The job is with the same company I’ve been with for a few years (Allyis – which is a fabulous employer), but in a position of more responsibility. While the hours and location of the position are still more flexible than at most companies, it is still more rigid than what I was used to before. On the down side, that means less time to spend with my family (although it’s still pretty good by most standards). On the up side, that means a more consistent schedule is being forced upon me, which might help me in my writing endeavors. We’re also trying to get our son on more of a schedule. We’re not trying to force him to nap or go to bed at an exact time every night, but we’re trying to get him at least more consistent. It’s a struggle! The hope is that once we have a more predictable schedule (or routine, really, since to me the word “schedule” intimates inflexible time lines) that I’ll know where best to cram in a few moments of writing time. It might end up being in the morning, it might end up being in the evenings, or possibly even both (I would like it to be both). Then I can purchase a new computer so I can actually access my files. Funny how much more productive I am when I have a machine that actually functions.
I read somewhere recently that a writer should read a thousand words for every word they write. In that vein, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed “Finnikin of the Rock” by Melina Marchetta. I really liked the main female character – damaged, as most of the characters were, but very strong. The main character, Finnikin, I liked fine, but for some reason he felt a little flat to me. Not that he wasn’t believable, but it seemed to me that the other characters were a bit more fleshed out (like his father, for instance). The names of countries are tossed about all the time, and I wasn’t really able to keep them all straight (don’t know if it was due to the writing or to my sleep deprivation), but in the end it didn’t really matter if I could or not. I was able to track the ones that were important. Anyway, I did get a good sense of the world, there were some vibrant characters, and I really enjoyed the way she unfolded the story. I’ll seek out the other things she’s written and keep in mind the aspects I do and don’t like when I get back to working on my own stories.
Another book I read was “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea. I enjoyed it immensely – again, there was a good, strong female character, and her relationships were complex and engaging. Great imagery, and I felt the novel really put some aspects of immigration and the US/Mexico border in perspective for me. (This is not a typical border crossing novel.) The book made me laugh out loud with pleasure near the end – we should all be so lucky to have a character such as Atomiko in our hearts and heads.