I wrote down everything I read and began writing my own first novel...

This blog aimed to contrast what I was reading in in 1975-79 with the same month, week and day, 30 years later in 2005-2009. I'm leaving the blog up in archive mode, blogging in real time on Live Journal--and still writing novels.

Lynne Murray's Live Journal and Bride of the Dead Blog

Friday, July 24, 2009

A good stopping place

When I was a kid and my mother wanted to pry me away from whatever I was reading, she used to ask me in her gentle way to set down the book, "when you reach a good stopping place."

I think I've reached a good stopping place for this blog. I will have a new novel coming out soon, Bride of the Living Dead, and I need to stop looking in the rear view mirror and focus on what's right in front of me.

I started writing this blog in late December of 2005, and it's been fun, self-indulgent and educational. I learned, as usual, by doing things wrong--or at least making my own choices, which may look wrong even when they are right for me!

Lesson one, obscure blog titles are probably not the way to go!

Lesson two, complicated concepts like looking back 30 years compared with now..... What can I say? I'm a novelist, I like a lot of layers!

Although I continued my orange notebook listing books I read until December of 1982, I feel okay about leaving my 30-year-old, 30-years-ago self in 1979. That was when my life began to change and deepen in many ways. My mother died in 1980 and a few months later I met and began to live with the man I would marry. I published my first novel in 1988.

Now here's the scary part. I'm not really giving up blogging. I will keep in touch in the more immediate, unpolished (eek!) form of Live Journal. Simple concept, simple title lynnemurray.livejournal.com

Usually I hide behind material that I've revised and flea-combed for months or, at the very least, days. When Laurie Edison suggested Live Journal, my first thought was: "Fine, for her, she writes about making jewelry, that's colorful, concrete, three-dimensional and intriguing."

Myself, I sit in a trance spinning webs of words. At least spiders get out and slaughter the occasional housefly, but I leave housefly capture to the cats. That's pretty much my life. Who wants to read that? The jury's out on who will read it. But I did get the idea to write a bit about writing, getting Bride ready to go to press, doing revisions on my next (Vampire) book, forging ahead on my ongoing (Ghost) manuscript, book promotion (a major obsession) and all that jazz.

I've been doing guest blogs for Body Impolitic--the next one will be on writing fat fiction. Laurie and Debbie have invited me to blog more frequently. I shall, and I will put up links here when I do.

Thank you for hanging out with me on memory lane! I will leave the archives of this blog where they are and simply post the forwarding address for new stuff. Feel free to visit me in the present day. My new motto is

word salad, word soup, words on fire!

Live large and prosper!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Turning Points & Hill's Law of Work

I had this quote above my typewriter for years although I don't where I got it, or who "Hill" is. Internet searches bring up Napoleon Hill, the "think and get rich" guy, but this doesn't really sound like him. Maybe it's a lost cousin of Murphy's Law, but it describes my life pretty well:

"Hill's Law of Work: Everything takes 8 times longer than you expect it to."

By the same token you never know when you're reaching a turning point until way afterward. In 1979 I came back to San Francisco after a few years hiding out in Los Angeles, That dark time in my life taught me how to write my way out of the hole I'd fallen into. That didn't happen overnight, when I wasn't working a day job or scribbling down my suffering, my other hobbies were drinking too much and alternately dieting and bingeing. I was isolated from most of the people around me, which gave me lots of time to read and write my first novel (as well as some very self-pitying journals). The journals show the darkness starting to lift around 1978-79.

I finally finished the novel, a sensitive story of disillusioned youth. It was essentially unreadable, but I didn't know that then, and anyone who did look at it was too kind to tell me--fortunately. The major thing those years taught me was that I liked writing novels. So the next question I asked myself was. What kind of novel do you want to write next? That's a question I still ask myself often. I also discovered Susie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue somewhere in here, though I haven't found it in the list of books I read, it began to have an impact on me that took several years to fully manifest itself.

Last week I did another guest blog for Body Impolitic on the subject of
fat women in film fat women in film (or the lack thereof).

May 2, 1979

Bird, the Legend of Charlie Parker by Robert George Reiser
Dispatches by Michael Herr
Note: very well done.
The Suicide Cult by Michael Kilduff, RonJaners, SF Chron staff
Oscar Wilde by Philippe Julien
Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs
Murder on the Yellow Brick Road by Stuart Kaminsky
Sandlot Peanuts by Charles M. Shultz
Murder R.F.D by Leslie Stephan
Designing Your Face by Way Bandy
Dr. Zismor's Brand name Guide to Beauty Aids by Zizmor & Foreman
The Magician of the golden Dawn, story of Alistair Crowley by Susan Roberts
Altered States by Paddy Chaefsky
Super Wealth, the Secret Lives of the Oil Sheiks by Linda Blandford
Women of Watergate by Edmunson & Cohen
Killed in the Ratings by William L. DeAndrea
Marriage with My Kingdom, the Courtship of Elizabeth I by Alison Plowdon
The Face of Rock and Roll, Images of a Generation by Bruce Bollack & John Wagman
I looked up Bruce Bollack and found an interview he did in 1977 with Leonard Cohen, the interview was more about Bollack than Cohen, yeah, I know, humor
the website owner at Speaking Cohen went looking for Bollack also, and mainly found the book listed above. However, I managed to find out
what Leonard Cohen is doing nowadays. Cool! Happy 75th birthday, Leonard Cohen!

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Note on June 19, 1979 "peculiarly comforting"
I remember reading this book while camping out on my friend's sofa after moving back to San Francisco.

July 3 I read
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, another comfort read

From May 3 to July 5, 2009 I read:

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
A tour de force
about Connie Willis

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Starring Xavier, a short film review, a July 8 conversation...and a bit of catching up!

Many good things are happening, but I keep falling further behind on those books from 30 years ago. When I catch my breath, I'll address that--I wish I could hire my youthfully energetic 30 year-old self to help me out even with typing the titles of all the books she read. But she's become me and time travel remains stubbornly fictional. So I'll just have to do my best. I'll put the Pearlsong Conversation info into a sidebar to make it a little less confusing.

Now the film review and a link to a longer Body Impolitic piece on Fat Men in Film:

Briony Kidd's short film about an Australian fat man on welfare playing Macbeth , Starring Xavier
had me searching the internet for "fat men on film." I did a guest blog for Body Impolitic on that subject, which you can read here.

Kidd's hero, Xavier, beautifully played by actor, Jason Seperic, finds himself an object of ridicule in an amateur theatrical for "unemployed losers." Gradually, he begins to understand Macbeth's dark ambitions and finds ways to dig himself out of his depression and fight for what he wants. By the end of the film, he discovers a voice he did not know he had..

Starring Xavier is a 15-minute film and, due to my elderly TV/DVD player, I had to watch on my computer, but it was an uplifting experience. In an email, Kidd mentioned that a small film like this can take years to put together. My admiration for independent filmmakers increases the more I learn about this kind of devotion.

From March 14, 1979 to May 1, 1979 I read:

I Am Blind and My Dog Is Dead (cartoons) by S. Gross
Line of Duty by earnest Tidyman
Freeway by Deanne Barkley
Jazz-Rock Fusion, the people, the music by Coryell & Friedman
The Japanese Corpse by Janwillem van de Wetering
Idi Amin, Death-Light of Africa by David Gwyn
Instant Beauty, the Complete Way 6to Perfect Makeup by Pablo of Elizabeth Arden
The Great movie Comedians by Leonard Maltin
One Man's Fancy by Saxon
The Wolf by the Ears: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery by John Chester Miller
The Wise Wound - Eve's curse and Everywoman. Menstruation as a powerful and positive resource by Shuttle & Redgrove
1979 note didn't finish but will check out again- quite good
2009 note: I LOVED this 2009 blogger response, at Period Piece, "wtf"!
Mood Control by Gene Bylinsky
True Confessions by John Gregory Dunne
Callahan's Cross time Saloon by Spider Robinson
Fat and Alive and Thinning in America by T. I. Rubin, MD
The Women We Wanted to Look Like by Brigade Keenan
Buried in so Sweet a Place by Stanton Forbes
Grave Humor by Fritz Spiegl, Ed.
Writing a Novel by John Braine
My note: A good book, but not a good time for me to read it. Made me impatient so I skipped around in it.
A good review of it
Jack's Book, an oral bio of Jack Keroac by Barry Gifford and Laurence Lee
Note from the future, interesting that Barry Gifford would speak to our Mystery Writers of America group about Black Lizard Press
Celluloid Rock by P. Jenkinson and A Warren
Our Kind of People, American Groups & Rituals by Bill Owens
He, an irreverent look at the American Male by Florence King
My note: very funny
2009 note I later read her Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, also funny link
Big Star Fallin' Mama, 5 Women in Black music by Hettie Jones
Hettie Jones website

From March 14, 2009 to May 1, 2009
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Great book. Sad that
Larsson Larsson died in 2004, but at least he finished the trilogy.

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

Spyderwick Chronicles, book 1, by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

I have to stop here. If my hands could hold out I'd type a wonderful Holly Near quote I copied by hand in 1979 that starts "Popular music has contributed more tothe misery of women in the United States than any other single thing except maybe film and television"
Later maybe.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Coming soon in paperback, my new novel, Bride of the Living Dead!

For those of you often read this blog, I've been promising GOOD NEWS! Here it is!!!

IT'S OFFICIAL! Pearlsong Press will publish a trade paperback edition of my new romantic comic novel, Bride of the Living Dead! Yes, I know I'm repeating the headline, I just can't stop saying it! I've got a new book coming...Yay!

The heroine is Indie film critic, Daria MacClellan. Big, beautiful and rebellious, Daria, who is most comfortable in a horror movie poster T-shirt and blue jeans, finds that her wedding is hijacked by family drama. How did she sign on for a formal wedding planned by Sky, her perfectionist, anorexic, older sister? Daria adores her fiancé and she loves horror films, but her wedding seems to be turning into one. Will a picture perfect pink wedding turn her into the Bride of the Living Dead?

THE EVEN BETTER NEWS - I'm thrilled to be working with Pearlsong Press, a niche publisher featuring body positive fiction and nonfiction with a particular emphasis on Health at Every Size (HAES). Pearlsong is the home of many wonderful authors including the Queen of the Rubenesque Romances, Pat Ballard! I'm so happy to be in royal company.

One of the joys of working with a small press is the personal touch and the commitment to keeping the books available for readers.

With, founder Peggy Elam, Ph.D., at the helm, Pearlsong Press connects with readers in some innovative ways including weekly Health at Every Size broadcasts on Radio Free Nashville. I love the super positive music she plays! Peggy also schedules call-in teleconferences called Pearlsong Conversations, where anyone can call in to chat. I'll let you know when I get to do one of those in case anyone wants to call to talk!

I'll keep you posted as we start the journey toward publication.

The book news from 30 years ago will resume in the next post.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

That pesky existential terror again....now starting to catch up

I am still planning to announce some positive publishing news, but I have to finalize it before I can talk about it. Meanwhile, I do apologize to the few, the brave, those kindly people who read this blog, for such a long stretch between posts. I have been working many hours per day for laughable reimbursement in an effort to survive. As a novelist I'm used to working for practically nothing, but this is a semblance of a "day job" so I haven't been able to excuse it as "what I did for my art."

I thought I might blog here around March 13, but I couldn't finish the post before I had to return to rowing as fast as I could to keep from submerging in the white water rapids also known as my turbulent finances. I just contributed a guest blog to Body Impolitic so it seemed only fair to start catching up with my posts here.

Ironically 30 years ago I was moving back to San Francisco after a couple of years of exile in West Los Angeles, I was too distracted to read a lot. I picked up several books and never finished them. This Jan-March, well, I've been reading some when I needed to escape the whole occupation, preoccupation and obsession with making a living thing. So far I have survived to write this. Friends and family have helped...we all have treasures in our lives, and they are mine. I'll try to catch up next time, and I hope to deliver some good news then.

January 30 to March 13, 1979 I didn't finish any of the books below (except the Rocky Handbook)

Life Is a Banquet by Rosalind Russell

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be by Simone Signore

Sylvester Stallone' Official Rocky Handbook
(I was a big Rocky fan then)

The Honorable Schoolboy by John Le Carre
I kept getting the characters mixed up in this one.

I DID finish:

Hate Don't Make No Noise, Anatomy of the New Ghetto by Etta Resvey

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

Rolling Thunder Logbook by Sam Shepard
my note: self-indulgent in the extreme

January 30 to March 13, 2009 I read

Dead to Me by Anton Strout
Not too many paranormal fiction novels are this funny Strout's Amazon blogI couldn't find another and I don't have time to keep looking right now!

Mistral's Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton
A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton
Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton
These are the Meredity Gentry series with more plotting than the Anita Blake series has these days!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cautiously hopeful...

"I was waiting to call you till I had some good news to report, but there just hasn't been any." That's what I told an old friend when apologized for not having called in a few years. She said her situation was similar. It was bad news that finally got me off the dime to call her (if that expression still makes sense--I didn't use a pay phone to call and it would have cost only a dime if I had. I had heard that the independent bookstore where she's worked for decades will be closing. That sort of bad news is all too common these days.

So I am a bit cautious in saying that I will soon have good news to report on the publishing front soon. I can't say more until things are finalized. Like Emily Dickinson's feathered friend in Hope something somewhere within "sings the tune without the words and never stops at all."

I'll let you know when it's official (and yeah, I hate suspense that trails off to nothing, so if my hopeful publishing news falls through I'll say so).

From December 27, 1978 to January 29, 1979 I read:

Linda Goodman's Love Signs by Linda Goodman
Aiii! Later I even owned a copy. Mostly this book was useful for rationalizing why various romances fell through. Is there a net abbreviation for "rueful laugh"?

Doonesbury's Greatest Hits by G. B. Trudeau

Werner Erhard: the Transformation of a Man, the Founding of EST by W. W. Bentley, III

Love Kills by Dan Greenberg

The Dancer From the Dance by Andrew Holloran

Sane Occultism by Dion Fortune Mary Violet Firth

The Most Dangerous Man in American, Scenes from the Life of Benjamin Franklin
by Catherine Drinker Bowen

It's Your Body, a Woman's Guide to Gynecology by Laverson & Whitney

On Becoming American by Ted Morgan

Does She Know She's There? by Nicola Shaefer
This story of a woman whose daughter, Catherine, has extreme disabilities and Nicola updated her daughter's story a follow-up book from Inclusion Press entitled, Yes! She Knows She's There, telling the story of Catherine's moving into an independent living situation in 1986.

From December 27, 2008 to January 29, 2009 I read:

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith
I held on to this book till I was in a more warm and fuzzy mood. The story is enjoyable, but McCall Smith is such a gentle writer that he makes Agatha Christie look like a dark-hearted serial killer.

This book set me to thinking about Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, and whether someone who liked the No. 1 Ladies Detective stories set in Botswana would enjoy Dinesen's lyrical stories of Kenya circa 1920s. I'm not sure. Dinesen's stories are much sadder and less pretty, although the writing is exquisite.
I love this quote from Questions on the website devoted to her work and life:

...[Isak Dinesen, aka Karen Blixen] spoke publicly about her literary persona...:

"I belong to an ancient, idle, wild and useless tribe, perhaps I am even one of the last members of it, who, for many thousands of years, in all countries and parts of the world, has, now and again, stayed for a time among the hard-working honest people in real life, and sometimes has thus been fortunate enough to create another sort of reality for them, which in some way or another, has satisfied them. I am a storyteller."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Remembrance of heartbreaks past and bagpipes present

November 25 to December 27, 1978

Bird Lives, the High Life & Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker by Ross Russell
Note from 1978: A tough book for me to read and almost as tough not to read

This note gives me a personal insight, which I'll try to share, even though it highlights what a sad young woman I was in 1978. I sigh to confess that I had a hopeless crush on a jazz musician after a brief affair. Hence the Charlie Parker connection--research I might call it. I carried that torch for an amazing number of years, but fortunately rather than playing it out in life, my heartbreak inspired my first novel--a sensitive story of disillusioned youth. The novel was unreadable, but I learned a lot by writing it. The quaint memory of my youthful misery gives me hope that my current problems will similarly fade once I've come out of the tunnel.

Janus by Arthur Koestler
Note: Only the ch. on wit and humor

The Night Lords by Nicholas Freeling

Emma Hamilton by Norah Lofts

The Thin Game by Edwin Bayrd

The Black Marble by Joseph Wambaugh

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Air Time, the Inside Story of CBS News by Gary Paul Estes

Movie Stars, Real People and Me by Joshua Logan
Joshua Logan

Soul Rush,Odessey of a young woman of the '70s" by Sophia Collier
- note: a Guru Maharaj Ji survivor

I was interested to see that Collier did well later in life.

November 25 to December 27, 2008 I read:

The Saint City Sinners by Lilith Saintcrow
More demons and necromancers

The Little Country
by Charles de Lint

Music and bagpipes in particular play such major role in this book that I went looking for some YouTube examples of bagpipes, etc. This is the one I liked best.

Making Money by Terry Pratchett
It doesn't seem as if I've 30 books by Terry Pratchett, but I have, and I'd happily as many more as he writes and re-read the ones I've already read!