The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Warning: Fluffery ahead!

Posted on: August 24, 2007

My laptop is fried, temporarily, so my posts will not be coming as fast and furiously as they used to. (Ha.) Right now I’m going to buckle down and finish that Josipovici draft if it kills me and then treat myself to the 2nd book in the Bartimaeus trilogy.

Provided by the fluffiest fluffer among the fluff, litlove.

List some of your favourite words:

Verisimilitude, galumph, chortle, calumny

What’s your favourite maxim or proverb?

Don’t have one.

What’s your favourite quotation?

‘Some have brains, and some haven’t, and there it is.’ – Winnie the Pooh

What’s your favourite first line of a novel?

I’m cheating on this one by giving several selections. I can’t pick just one!

‘This is the saddest story I have ever heard.’ Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

‘No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.’ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

‘I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well.’ Orhan Pamuk translated by Erdag M. Goknar, My Name is Red

‘Mam says that Dad was pigflesh and pigmind, a huge mucky porker what nabbed her by force, then jogtrotted off beyond the farlands when he understood what had been hatched.’ Kitty Fitzgerald, Pigtopia

‘In setting out to describe the recent and very strange events that took place in our town, hitherto not remarkable for anything, I am forced, for want of skill, to begin somewhat far back — namely, with some biographical details concerning the talented and much esteemed Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky.’ – Fyodor Dostoevsky translated by Pevear & Volokhonsky, Demons

‘My mother used to threaten to tear me into eight pieces if I knocked over the water bucket, or pretended not to hear her calling me to come home as the dusk thickened and the cicadas’ shrilling increased.’ Lian Hearn, Tales of the Otori, Book I: Across the Nightingale Floor

Give an example of a piece of description that’s really pleased you in your reading lately:

I can’t come up with any.

Which five writers do you particularly admire for their use of language?

Marcel Proust, Orhan Pamuk, Andre Dubus, Steve Stern, Vladimir Nabokov

And are there writers whose style you really dislike?

Sarah Hall, James Salter

What’s the key to really fine writing, in your opinion?

That’s hard for me to express. Beyond good grammar, ear for rhythm, I’d say that a writer really needs to bring to his/her writing a creative fire, a passion — whether he releases it in his writing or convey it in a more measured, even restrained manner — a potent force that a reader can feel and in some way possess. Above all the “voice” has to be distinctive, something the writer owns and can hone so he can realise its full potential. If he’s really lucky it will be so distinctive that one can put it down, unmarked, beside any other work and a reader, after comparing can point to a book and say, ‘That’s his.’


7 Responses to "Warning: Fluffery ahead!"

Chortle. Ha, ha ha! That’s a great word. I should use it now and then.

Not fluffy at all, imani! In fact, pretty streamlined, I’d say. Great set of opening liners and, like Dorothy, I think chortle is a fine word, too!

Love chortle, and am a big fan of calumny, too 🙂

Chortle is a fantastic word. Love the Pooh quote too. so much wisdom in Pooh.

Hope your laptop is back up and running soon!

Dorothy glad you agree. I think Lewis Carroll made up some of the best English words.

litlove thanks, I could not limit myself to just one.

gentle reader I think it’s the second syllable that makes “calumny”.

Stefanie the Pooh stories are my self-help guides. 😉 Ack, I have my fingers crossed for the laptop too.

Chortle!!! Great word.

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