After posting a visit with Miss Birdie back on Halloween, I found myself taking a notion to spend some more time with her and read her book -- The Day of Small Things. Of course I've read it before -- many times -- while I was writing it and re-writing it and proof-reading it over and over. But none of these are the same as just reading for fun -- with the writer/editor eye turned off. And enough time had passed that, at times I could forget I'd written it and just read . . .
I was so pleasantly surprised that I picked up Signs in the Blood and read it. It was better than I remembered, if I say it myself. Again there was that strange disconnect between reader and writer -- I kept coming across little family jokes and little odds and ends that are parts of my past . . .
As I always say, Elizabeth isn't me -- but we share a lot -- Little Sylvie's cabin next door . . . the dogs . . .
She and Phillip sat on my blue bench . . .
Old Wounds gets very close to my world -- Elizabeth and family live in this barn while they are building their house in 1984 -- just as my family lived in it in 1974 while building that same house . . .
(I hasten to add that, unlike my unruly Elizabeth, I was never tempted by a charming neighbor -- nor by a bed-room eyed snake handling preacher either.)
And sometimes I kind of expect to hear mariachi music floating from Justin and Claui's house -- home to Elizabeth's Mexican farm hands Julio and Homero in Under the Skin.
Rereading these books was a surprising experience in that I became the reader not the writer and I kept finding myself thinking, Why, that's just the way I'd say that or That sounds familiar only to realize suddenly, Well, duh . . .
I also realized that I am now closer in age to Miss Birdie than Elizabeth (who was ten years younger than I when the first book came out in 2005. )
It was an interesting experience, reading right through those books that took over six years to produce -- reading right through them in less than two weeks.
I've moved on to two more series -- binge re-reading -- and I'll talk about them another time.
Meanwhile, I apologize for the sudden appearance of that wretched Word Verification in the Comments -- Blogger is messing with me again. My settings are set at NO Word Verification but there it is. However, several folks have told me they just ignored it and their comments posted anyway . . .
Mysterious are the ways of Blogger . . .
I can't imagine reading my own book. Nor can I imagine writing one! Must give you great satisfaction.
I don't have to enter word verification to get my comments to post, only to those that actually have it there on purpose.
Your post made me smile. Thank goodness, when you reread your books, you liked them! I've gotten back into writing lately, and I'm constantly rereading as I write, but even with the eye of the author, I'm still getting pleasure in some of what I've written. We bring so much of ourselves into our writing.
It was so much fun when we visited to see all the places that had appeared in your novels, to see how close our visualizations had been to reality. I think it is a mark of your gift of description that so many of the sites were instantly recognized.
How lovely that you showed us the photos of the sites that sounded so similar to your life...which of course all authors must depict, their own experiences. I've loved your books and re-read them several times. Thanks! (And yay no word verifications!)
Vicki, I have been dropping by to see your recent posts, but seasonal rushing around has kept me from leaving comments.
Every one of these posts has a very special quality and I appreciate the opportunity to visit hereabouts.
So nice to read your impressions about your own books. I imagine your souvenirs intertwine with your writings and you look for them when rereading your books. That's seems a marvelous experience.
The closer I get is from reviewing the pictures I took...lol.
heh...got to watch out for those snake handling preachers...lol....i am glad you liked your stories...and were not overly critical of yourself...i wonder do you think they get better as they go along?
Good question, Brian. I used to think that they did -- but on re-reading, I find that, for me, there's not that big a leap -- the early books are better than I remembered. Of course, that's just my own admittedly biased opinion. . .
Most people are getting that WV thingy. I changed to embedded comments and that took it away. You can ignore it, that works too. Just annoying. I will most definitely read your books soon. I love your country life, it's old buildings and benches and so on.
I will have to give it a couple of more years before I reread your books, but look forward to doing just that. Thanks Vicki
I'll get a hankering to re-read again soon I think. I miss Elizabeth and her mysteries. The first books were my favorites and I always felt your books were well written.
I used to write for publication (nursing education materials) and I would sometimes return to something I had written and be surprised that I thought it was really good. I suppose a novelist returning to a book must be the same. To read your work as a genuine reader and not as a critic or writer and really enjoy it must be satisfying indeed.
Having the benefit of reading your "thank you" short story, I more deeply appreciate your writing talents since the story went in such a totally new direction than the Elizabeth books. And was so enjoyable...in a different way.
How nice that you got at least some of the experience of reading your wonderful books as a reader. The snippets of short stories you give us on the blogs are most appreciated. So looking forward to your next book. At the same time, I really miss Elizabeth who, in my mind, is existing in a kind of alternate universe of suspended animation, waiting to be awakened to her continuing life. I still have hopes that will happen. The pictures of sites so familiar to us from the books were great. Whatever you write, I am confident your readers will enjoy every carefully created word.
Lynne in GA
I think it's great to go back and reread all your stuff. As a painter, I get to actually just look at things I've done all the time. Sometimes I think I paint things so that I can look at them and write things so that I can read them. Nothing wrong with that!
Well now . . . you see how fast your stories go by . . . and why I'm waiting here for you to dash off another five or six, say, in the next two-three months.
How'd that be? :-P
How fascinating that you were able to become The Reader! I love to re-read a series; before I can do that with yours, though, I need to get them all in paperback -- I don't like switching between pb and kindle. ;-p
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