Monday, January 19, 2009

beginning of a quiet week

We're back above freezing, with night temps going to the 20s and the possibility of a few inches of snow tonight, and although I'm ready for drier ground, it might be fun to see the horses and donkeys and cats and Corgis play in the white stuff.

In a little while, I'll head out to do the chores, which I suspect will include adding some shavings to stalls, and I need to make a run to the feed store later in the day as well.

Last night I watched Legends of the Fall, which I originally watched during what we call the "sleepy years" - the time during and after pregnancies when most movie watching in the evenings involved me dozing off after a short period of time, no matter how engaging the movie.

There are a number of films that, when asked if I've seen them, the answer is "sort of." Often I would wake up at odd moments, see a bit of a scene, then fall back asleep. I usually caught the final credits when nudged by my husband that the movie was over.

Anyway, I had a vague memory of Legends of the Fall, and that I had been quite captivated by it, and it has been in my Netflix queue for awhile. Since it was a "watch instantly" movie, last night I decided it was time to watch.

What a story - I loved the farmhouse and the setting particularly. It was one of those movies that had me racing to Google after, putting Jim Harrison titles (I've read a few already) in my Amazon cart for future reference and reading interviews.

He said something that I love, about writing:

I think it's interesting what someone there said to me once -- it's something that I hadn't thought before, and it startled me. He told me that (the French) read me because in my fiction you have the life of relative action but also the life of the mind. In so much fiction we have one or the other, but never both. We tend to try to separate them. You find that in Barry's work as well -- this marvelously convoluted thinking system but yet people are still doing something.

Nice to begin the week feeling inspired and justified in my writing style. Maybe I should be querying European agents. :)

The life of the mind. I just love that.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Legends of the Fall was a good movie, we enjoyed it too.
Good quote from that author. Sadly, I think at this point of the winter of my discontent, my life of the mind is totally befuddled.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! The 'Sleepy Years'. I remember those, too when I was prego, but I'm not watching many movies now, because the 'return of the sleepy days' is now due to the pain pills and just general boredom.

Excellent horse flick 'Legend of the Fall', too.

I'm glad you were inspired.

Happy writing, Billie!


billie said...

LOL, Arlene - I hope things get clear for you as spring approaches!! :)

billie said...

Lisa, speedy recovery wishes still being sent...!

Glad I'm not the only one who had those sleepy years. It was such a shift for me, the night owl.

jme said...

hmmm, i liked the film too, but now i wonder if i shouldn't read some of the author's work, or maybe more foreign fiction? that quote makes a lot of sense to me; maybe it's why i've been in such a fiction rut and found it hard to get into a lot of what i've been reading lately - maybe it's been incomplete! i like 'convoluted thinking' with action :-) i think i might be inspired too - thanks!

(and maybe those european agents might be well worth a try...)

billie said...

There was another quote that had to do with "plot-driven" - which I think much American fiction tends to be. It's certainly an easier sell than a book which focuses more on language and character development.

I remember a critique once of my first novel ms - the reader kept pointing out point of view shifts. But it wasn't a POV issue - it was the main character being so hypervigilant that she noticed things about other characters - including making attributions as to what they were thinking about her.

I accepted the criticism and looked at it to see if I wanted to change it - but decided that was such an integral part of my main character it would have detracted from the book to take it out.

It did require a careful reading to get the complexity - but then that book's first agent told me to always write to the smartest reader, and after that I stopped trying to analyze whether the life of the mind I tend to write in all my stories was too much.

That first book - everyone said it should be published but no one was willing to publish it. :) I always felt it would have flown in Europe.

jme said...

plot-driven is a good way to describe it. (sometimes i think our entire culture is more 'plot-driven' than about artistry and character development, but that's another rant ;-) i've read too many formula novels from the bestseller lists that were just wanting for something - i guess it would be hard to make a bestseller of rich language and nuanced character, but that's what i live for! see, i haven't even read your novels and i'm already a fan :-)

billie said...

I think Cold Mountain was one, and The English Patient was another. Poisonwood Bible. But those books come maybe one a year if I'm lucky.

jme said...

hmmm... i did enjoy the english patient, but haven't read the others yet. time to visit amazon!

billie said...

I liked Prodigal Summer, too - by Barbara Kingsolver.