Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What's in the Middle

It's not what you think. My lovely friend Larramie at Seize a Daisy, chose me to complete this meme. I was literally working from 7:30 this morning until after midnight when I found out that I’d been tagged and I thank her for the diversion!

As an update to my last post, I’m happy to report that so far, so good. My 500 word per day goal has been working out very well, no matter how busy I get. It’s reasonable enough that no matter how tired or busy I am, I can make time to do it.

OK, here are the rules:

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, just make one up...or use the one you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

J – Justice, demonstrated by the degree to which we deal with the world with honesty and fairness, as individuals and as a culture may well be the thing I feel the most passionate about. It is certainly the one thing that can draw me into a heated discussion where very little else can.

E – I’ve always been very Empathic. There was a great discussion on empathy here not long ago and I naturally had to research more deeply into empathy. I feel genuine joy at the good fortune of others and I feel real pain for complete strangers. I don’t consider it a virtue. I believe it’s just the way I’m wired. It mystifies me that I am normally very level headed and rational, but I am easily brought to tears over things that happen on the other side of the country or the world. Commercials and music videos can do it to me. I have determined there is a big visual component to how emotional my reaction and it extends to the printed word.

A – Animals are a great love of mine. I have a rescue dog and cat and I don’t recall ever meeting an animal I couldn’t feel affection for. Even the animals that I have irrational fears of – like snakes – I admire, just from afar.

N – Novels. I am obsessed with reading them, I love to watch my friends making progress on theirs and nearly all of my free time is spent working or thinking about mine.

N – Although I’ve been away for the better part of my life since I was 19, New England will always be a part of me. All of my nostalgia, reaches back to that small cluster of states.

E – I consider Education to be a lifelong, joyful pursuit and the greatest gift I can receive as long as I am always open. It comes in all forms – all of my connections with friends, co-workers, writers, children, animals, strangers, books, magazines, newspapers – there are new things to learn everywhere I look and there are few things I find boring.

Middle names are always interesting. Let’s find out what they are for:

Kristin at From Here to There and Back

Kristi at Yoga Gumbo

Moonratty at Editorial Ass

Shauna at For Love of Words

Karen at Beyond Understanding

Carleen at The Pajama Gardener

Next up – My TBR stack has become so completely unmanageable that I think I’ll post a selection of books I want to read and ask you to recommend one. It will be interesting to see what you recommend.

I’ve gotten into a pattern lately where I try to alternate a hard book with an easier read, a long book with a shorter one.

I’ve also been reading books written by people I know. For a while, I was thinking that just buying the book was a good show of support and if a friend published a book that I might not normally read, I didn’t. I’ve been pondering the question more deeply and wondering how I’d feel if people I knew and liked didn’t read my book and I decided that I think I’d prefer it if someone took my book out of the library, read it and told me what they thought about it than if they bought it and it sat unread. It’s ambitious, I know, but little by little, I think I can work those books into my ambitious list.

So far this past year, I’ve read fabulous books by Patry Francis, Judy Merrill Larsen, William Haywood Henderson, Therese Fowler, Carleen Brice, Kim Reid, John Elder Robison, Nick Arvin, Chris Ransick, and Shari Caudron and just last week I read a fabulous short story by Bernita Harris in a recently published collection.

Books in the stack of people I know (or sort of know via blogging or because they are part of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop faculty) are by Karen Degroot Carter, Patricia Wood, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Jennifer McMahon, Tish Cohen, C.S. Harris, Charles Gramlich and Timothy Hallinan.

I am certain there are books around here that belong on one of these lists, but at the moment, I can’t place what I’m missing so I apologize to the author(s) in advance and will update this list if I remember more.

So whether published or not – which would you prefer? Would you rather know that a friend bought your book or that they read it?


Rebecca Burgess said...

Wonderful post, especially the part about justice for all.

I would without a doubt prefer to have my book checked out from the library then sit unread collecting dust on my best friend's shelf.

kristen said...

Definitely would prefer that my friend read the book, rather than just buying it and letting it sit on the shelf.

As for the tag--thanks. I think. I'm counting the letters in my middle name and wondering how ambitious I feel.

Like you, I've set small, manageable writing goals for every day and it does seem to be working. Progress in little baby steps, but progress nonetheless.

Bernita said...

One writes to be read - so yes, I'd prefer to be read, whether someone borrows it, buys it or steals it.
And thank you for reading me. Very much.

Carleen Brice said...

Well Lisa Jeanne, I'm going to say I'd rather they bought the book. I know for a fact that people have bought my books to support me and never read them and that is A-OK, fine with me.

ORION said...

I have a different take on this.
Buying an author's book shows real genuine grassroots support -especially for a debut author. I do this for all authors I know (either in the blogosphere or personally). If someone bought my book and it's on their TBR pile I am touched and appreciative. If it's like my TBR pile - I wait until I'm in the mood or have the time for a particular book. There is no timeline. After reading I do Amazon and Barnes and Noble reviews to show my support- there is always something good about a book- and there are always readers who will enjoy it...

Patti said...

depends. i would be be happy with both, but possibly happier knowing they read it and then wanted to tell me they read it.

as it is my friends read my blog but they don't so much pay for it. well, maybe they do on some days.

Yogamum said...

I think I'd be happier if they read it, but I know about the huge TBR pile!!

Thanks for the tag -- I'll get to it!

Shauna Roberts said...

Interesting tag--Thank goodness I have a short middle name but I'll have to think about this one.

I'm guilty of buying friends' books and not getting to them for a while. . . sometimes a long while. But I think it's good to buy a friend's book even if one doesn't intend to read it because the writer's publisher bases decisions such as whether to buy the person's next book and how big an advance to pay based on sales on the current book. Buying a friend's book helps keep them in business as a writer.

Larramie said...

Definitely read the book, Lisa. After all think of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the writing AND the publishing!

Also, thanks for playing along with the was fun, even my own. ;)

moonrat said...

i'll play... awesome meme. i might not tag anybody, though. who knows. i cannot see the future :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Nice. I always enjoy learning more about my blogleagues. I share many of your characteristics, or at least wish that I did.

Patti said...

ooohhhh, we have the same middle name but you have an extra letter. nice....

Ello said...

Lisa Jeanne! very pretty! Larramie got me on that one too, but my middle name is like 13 letters long. I think I'm going to use a name my parents used to call me - XENA. Yep, how weird is that. I'll explain when I post.

And I agree with Pat that if you are a debut author, buying the book is pretty key - my TBR bookpile is so high and I've got so many other things I have to do, the most important thing to do is show immediate support - and then read it when you can.

Melissa Marsh said...

That they read the book - and tell me honestly how they feel about it. :-)

Maddy said...

I also alternate my reading materials depending upon how challenged my tiny brain is on any one day.

I like that meme, I'm almost tempted to pinch it.

Julie said...

Good post - appreciated your comments on empathy; the name was a helpful guideline as I'd also been tagged!

Sustenance Scout said...

Done! Thanks for the tag! K.

Jennifer said...

Hi, Lisa! I've been reading your blog for months now, and I thought it would be a good idea to de-lurk and say hello. And to thank you, too, for all the inspiration your wonderfully-written, honest entries have given me.

To add my two cents with regard to supporting a writer friend, I'd like to know that people purchased a copy, even if they didn't read it. This is pretty much what I expect of many family members and friends who "don't read fiction." But if they showed their support for me in this way--or maybe gifted a friend with a copy?--I would be touched. (I'd still drop hints that I'd like them to read it, though.) Both purchasing and reading would be the ideal for any writer, I'm sure.

Lisa said...

For everybody -- just in case you're wondering -- I believe I'd rather have a friend read my book, rather than just purchase it, but if they aren't readers or my stuff isn't to their taste, then I think buying the book to be supportive is nice too.

Rebecca, the part about justice is the part that can get me into fights with people. It's the one time I can't heed the only advice I ever remember from Dr. Phil -- do you want to be right, or happy? Oh, well, we're all trying, right?

Kristen, baby steps will get us there, I'm sure of it.

Bernita, It was my pleasure entirely. You're a fabulous and gifted writer.

Carleen, Fair enough!

Pat, Thanks so much for coming by and for making me feel OK about the unread copy of Lottery in the TBR stack. I'm glad that's ok with you :) And great point about the Amazon and B&N reviews. I've done some, but I ought to do more.

Patti, I think my friends pay for stopping by here sometimes too!

Kristi, One of the things that all of us "here" seem to have in common is the huge TBR stack. Hope to see you soon.

Shauna, Nice post on Sue! And -- it sounds like you do exactly the same thing I do. So many books -- so little time.

Larramie, I am trying to read as many of them as I can for that reason exactly. And really, for the bloggers I have come to feel that I know in some way, I WANT to read what they've written. I'm curious.

It was a great meme and thanks for the tag.

Moonrat, Yours was great! Thanks for playing.

Charles, The things I listed are important to me -- not sure I always live up to pursuing justice every time I get the chance. But we're all trying.

Patti, I knew we had a lot in common! I think my Mom was going for a Franco-ized version of the name.

Ello, Your post wins the middle name prize! Only you are so NOT. :)

Melissa, Interesting spin. Makes me wonder, would we want a good friend to tell us that they didn't like our book? I guess I could take it if I thought it just wasn't to their taste, but I wonder how I'd feel if they didn't think it was written very well...Hmm. I suppose I'd have to tell myself they weren't a good judge :)

Maddy, Please do the meme! Yes, the alternating is almost a requirement these days. I can't handle reading too many difficult books in a row.

Julie, That discussion on empathy at John Robison Elder's blog was VERY interesting and has had me thinking about empathy ever since.

Karen, You did a great job with it!

Jennifer! Where have you been all this time??? I've just spent 30 minutes at Quidite and I'm about to add you to my links. I know I'll end up back there reading through all of those great posts. Any writer that has a separate tag for posts called "John C. Gardner deserves his own category" is someone I want to watch :) I've had On Moral Fiction burning a hole in my TBR stack for about six months now, but I've been waiting for the right time. So glad to have found you!

steve said...

Lisa--a belated comment. I think I'd go both ways on your question. If I had a friend who had lots of disposable income, I would most appreciate him or her to buy the book. But if it were somebody who's living from paycheck to paycheck (like me), I'd be highly honored for that person to read the book. Now I just need to write a book for them to read.

I'm thinking about doing that middle name meme. I followed the example of John Ono Lennon and took my wife's maiden name (Crews) as my middle name. The trouble is, there's no h for history there. Maybe "chronology."

Steve Malley said...

I'm with Steve, there. Those with much money, please, please artificially inflate my sales figures with your purchases! I'll even buy you a cup of coffee with my royalty so that we'll be even!

Those without, I'll be happy to lend you a copy.

Come to think of it, my parents bought my first book and then refused to read it. Now they don't buy my work, either.... I wonder what they tell people I do?

debra said...

I think I'd prefer that my book be read rather than gathering dust. I have a huge stack of books that I want to read. I generally have time to read before I go to sleep, which is why I have such a huge stack at the bedside.

Jennifer said...

I don't know where I've been! Hiding, I guess. :)

I actually found your blog through a Google alert for John Gardner; you'd written about The Art of Fiction, and I was going to post, but I didn't. And then when you wrote about "Puff, the Magic Dragon," I thought--I should post now! Oh, well.

Thanks for linking to me; I've linked back.

I am planning a re-read of On Moral Fiction in the new year. It's a very interesting book. My American literature is very lacking so I spend a lot of time Googling the writers he mentions. Have you read On Becoming a Novelist? That one's good, too.

Julie said...

Lisa - Just a note on the comment box format; unless I'm missing something, (which is possible) it makes it tricky getting through to other bloggers to contact them.

I notice that Jason has just switched his, possibly for the same reason.

Recent course I was on made a basic distinction between sympathy and empathy - the first you feel for someone (and leave them in their problem) the second you feel with them (and help them to move out of it)....

Lisa said...

Steve, I totally agree with you on the disposable income. Books and other art purchases are things we all spend disposable income on and they're the first purchases to go when we have to cut back on spending. I'll have to see if you did the middle name meme -- hope you did.

Steve Malley, What DO they tell people you do? :)

Debra, I try to keep the bedside table to a small stack, but invariably, I keep adding to it until I realize I have to trim it back to a safe height! I guess that's because I never really know what I'll read next until I'm about to start it.

Jennifer, I loved On Becoming a Novelist! I also have three of Gardner's novels, but I've not read any of them yet. Which is your favorite?

Julie, I'm not sure what you mean, so could you email me (there's a link on my profile or you can email lisa.eudaemonia at gmail. Thanks!

Jennifer said...

I never know how to answer the favorite question. (Not just with regard to Gardner, but to pretty much all books, films, etc.) I'm currently re-reading Nickel Mountain, and that is achingly lovely. But The Sunlight Dialogues and Mickelsson's Ghosts are excellent, too--just different. I liked Grendel a lot, but I feel like most of it went over my head a bit, which is why I want to read Beowulf and then give it another go. I have a lot of his stuff, but haven't read it all. Your post today about the TBR list is very familiar! Too many books, too few hours in the day.

steve said...

Lisa--haven't got to it yet. I spent a lot of time doing the JFK post. I have a few days off now, so I'll try to do the meme,

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon

Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf