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Going Back and Loving It

I am very, very deep in writing mode. First draft. That means I don’t read much. I don’t want to get too entangled in the lives and emotions of characters who aren’t showing up in my book. I’ve tried before. And I’ve found I can get derailed.

Which leads to the problem I had last month. I had a long weekend getaway planned to a place with lots of downtime. And if you’re a person like me, it’s hard to separate even a mini-vacation from books. What a conundrum! What could I read that wouldn’t derail me? What could I read that might let me regain my focus on hitting the St. Louis runway again?

The answer brought me back to when I was 12, a time before Judy Blume and the YA invasion. I was into mysteries, but with no new Encyclopedia Brown in sight and having left Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys far behind, what could I read? But wait! What was on my mother’s nightstand? The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie? Interesting. And wait again! My mom owned more!

The summer between sixth and seventh grades, I consumed Agatha Christie mysteries, both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. I didn’t always understand everything. Some of the phrasing and terms were a little confusing, but still, I loved them.

Soon, though, came school and friends and required reading and reading the books my friends read, and Agatha Christie faded into the sunset of my amusement.

Fast forward decades. Last month. I happened to find a Miss Marple paperback hidden away in my basement not long before that weekend. And because my voice is nowhere near Agatha Christie’s, I thought it might work. And it did.

I’d never read They Do It with Mirrors (originally titled Murder with Mirrors), or at least I don’t remember reading it. Even if I had, it would be a different experience as an adult.

I don’t think I need to write a review. We all know that Agatha Christie set many standards in mystery writing. And though the enjoyment factor will vary from book to book, any one will still be a solid read.

What I do want to say is this. We are, at least I am, very struck with all the new titles, wanting to read them, wanting to keep up with the conversations. But that weekend, there was something very wonderful about taking a breath, about stepping back and revisiting what was golden and still, pretty much, holds up. Agatha, you haven’t seen the last of me.

P.S. Read some other great reviews as part of Barrie Summy's wonderfully coordinated club, now in it's 3rd year!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
amygreenfield
Mar. 8th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
What a great post. I agree - it's important to read what's new, but I've learned just as much (probably even more) from reading and re-reading older books.
jodyfeldman
Mar. 9th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
It's her meting out of detail that really intrigued me, teaching how to be measured, but dynamic. That and the fact it was no big deal to them that several characters had been repeatedly divorced.
blogsarahlynn
Mar. 9th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
I, too, loved mysteries as a child and read a few Christies then forgot about them . . . until years later as my mom and I cleaned out my grandmother's condo and found a large collection of old Christie paperbacks. They're in my basement now, and while I really enjoyed the novels, I also enjoyed "sharing" the reading experience with my (deceased) grandmother.
jodyfeldman
Mar. 9th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean. Some things aren't nearly the same when you can't share them under specific circumstances. It sounds like your grandmother was really special.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 9th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
I was a huge Agatha Christie as a teen, too! I preferred Jane Marple over Hercule Poirot. ;) I hope your first draft is going super well!
jodyfeldman
Mar. 9th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
I'd pegged you for an Agatha Chistie person.
And it's going, Barrie. Way too many words without enough good stuff, but it's all fixable and all good.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 9th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Oops. That was Barrie. ;)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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Appearances

2010
February 18-21
Writing Retreat
San Antonio, TX

March 21
Midwest Booksellers Association
Spring Meeting
Left Bank Books

May 7
Branson Children's Literature Conference
Branson Intermediate School
Branson, MO

May 15
6:30 pm
Children's Book Week Event
Pudd'nHead Books
Webster Groves, MO

May 25
Skype Session
Children's Lit Students
University of Central Washington

June 1 - 4
8 Middle Schools, Sarasota School District
6th & 7th Grades,
One Book Starbooks Program

July 26
Skype Session
Children's Lit Students
University of Central Washington

2009

March 7, 2009
3:00 pm
BookSpring (formerly RIF) VIP program and signing
BookPeople
Austin, Texas

April 1, 2009
Beth Yeshurun Day School
Houston, Texas

April 2, 2009
2:00 pm signing, Author’s Area
Texas Library Association
Houston, Texas

April 16, 2009
Mid-Rivers Council IRA
Main Street Books
St. Charles, Missouri

April 23, 2009
West Clayton Elementary School
Clayton, North Carolina

May 30, 2009
11:00 am
10th Anniversary Celebration
St. Louis County Library, Headquarters

September 13, 2009
St. Louis Art Fair
12:45 pm
Reading with Ridley Pearson

October 3, 2009
Missouri Literary Festival
Springfield, Missouri

October 6, 2009
Southwest Middle School
Manchester, Missouri

October 7, 2009
3:15 pm speaking
4:30 pm signing
Missouri Library Association Conference
Columbia, Missouri

October 10, 2009
The Big Read
St. Louis, Missouri

October 13-23, 2009
15 Schools, Northeast Independent School District
San Antonio, Texas
October 13 – Redland Oaks Elementary
October 14 – East Terrell Hills and Camelot Elementaries
October 15 – Wilshire and Serna Elementaries
October 16 – West Avenue and Harmony Hills Elementaries
October 19 - Wilderness Oak Elementary
October 20 – Castle Hills and Dellview Elementaries
October 21 – El Dorado and Clear Spring Elementaries
October 22 – Fox Run and Regency Place Elementaries
October 23 – Colonial Hills Elementary

November 5, 2009
Mini-Skype Session
4th & 5th Grade Book Clubs
Patton School
Arlington Heights, Illinois

November 10, 2009
Skype Session
Children's Lit Students
University of Central Washington

November 16, 2009
Mason Ridge Book Club
St. Louis, Missouri

December 1-4
8 Elementary Schools
Frisco, TX
December 1 - Rogers and Fisher Elementaries
December 2 - Curtsinger and Robertson Elementaries
December 3 - Spears and Shawnee Trail Elementaries
December 4 - Bledsoe and Smith Elementaries

December 6, 2009
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
MICDS Book Fair
Barnes & Noble
Ladue, Missouri
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