clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shameful Acts, and Bogmail

Confessional time, again.

I have a library in that I have a room in my house for books. I intended to augment its storage. I got rid of some terrible bookcases last November with the intent of getting new lovely models.

I packed up a great pile of books and shuttled them down to a storage room below me.

At left you see I am continuing to purchase books. I am indeed storing them unshelved because I have yet to buy the new bookcases. Sigh.

I am overrun with books. Nearly. I'm ashamed.

That wasn't the confession.

I want to write tonight about a special book. It's a stolen book. That's part of what makes it special. I stole it by way of borrowing it and never getting it back to the owner. Many of us have done this (and thus have a no loans policy for our own books).

Worse, I stole it from a mentor. It's a little piece of him and I cannot bear to part with it. He knows I've had it for decades. We've talked about over the years.

I haven't seen him for over fifteen years. He got me on this path.

The book: Bogmail by Patrick McGinley. I've included a link to the dreaded Amazon here.

It's a great tale of murder and guilt in a small town in Ireland which happens to be very much like the small town in Ireland I know and the very small town in Western Kansas which I know all too well.

This is a book that showed me that my environment and my experience can be something special and not ordinary and dull. When you are very young and writing, everything you know seems so ordinary and dull. Andy loaned me this book and I knew right then that I would have stories that I'd want to tell. It has taken  bit for the perspective to set in about those stories; but, it is indeed due to this fabulous tale of murder and the complications of a peat bog.

Let's look at the opening lines:

Roarty was making an omelette with the mushrooms Eamonn Eales had collected in Davy Long's park that morning. They were good mushrooms, medium sized and delicately succulent, just right for a special omelette, an omelette surprise. He had chosen the best mushrooms for his own omelette; the one he was making for Eales was special because it contained not only mushrooms from Davy Long's park but also a handful of obnoxious, black-gilled toadstools which he himself had picked on the dunghill behind the byre.

Lovely. We know our protagonist, the antagonist (for now), the setting, the action (murder by fungi), the the delicate aroma of hatred at being told that the mushrooms were succulent and the toadstools came from a dungheap. Maybe that isn't hate, but it sure isn't the love of Jesus.

I recommend this book because it is a well written murder and place is such an important consideration throughout.

Now, the last confession.

I've had trouble with a story. I've thought and re-written and nearly let it beat me up until I've come to the germ of the tale: toast. Ordinary conventional toast.

My protagonist wants things to be ordinary and conventional and the only thing in her whole life which resembles ordinary and normal is the toast she makes for breakfast every morning.

I have to take the toast from her, now. I feel like a bastard for doing it but one must suffer for art. My protagonist is about to suffer the burnt crumbs of disappointment. Right there at the beginning: burnt toast.

Off to write about it. I got to this point only because I invoked forbidden food. If I got the story off on the right foot again and ran this draft to ground: brownies. They are definitely on the forbidden food list and their aroma now fills the house.

I'm off to write. I hope you are too. Give Bogmail a try. It's a good read for the wicked.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll write again on Sunday.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

No toast for her! :) Love that forbidden food theme you've got going.

Haven't read Bogmail, but you've piqued my interest now...I'll have to check it out.