Blog Chain–Out to Lunch


  Thoughtful and poignant Michelle H starts this round of the blog chain with this question:

If you could dine with any author, and I do mean any whether alive or dead (yes, we’re going into the realms of time travel – but hey, we have science fiction writers on this chain so we can always ask for them to write up the time machine specs), who would you want to dine with? And if you can ask them for advice on one writing element you feel you might be struggling at, what would it be?

My goodness, when I first saw this question, I was like, “Cool!” and “Oh, crap, I have no idea,” all at once.

I’ve often thought about what it would be like to pick the brain of an author. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to find out how they create, how they determine a plot, how they envision their characters, and how the heck they keep hundreds of plot threads straight? (I’m also curious to learn how they handle days, months, years of revising the same words over and over and over and over…well, you get the idea.)

But who would I chose?

Ahem, excuse me while I have an indecision attack. *walks away from computer and retuns hours later*

Yeah, still no clue. *leaves computer and returns the next day*

Uh, yeah, I suck. *gobbles chocolate bar, then forces self to write something*

I think it’s painfully clear by now that I have a really hard time picking my ultimate, favorite, everyone-else-pales-in-comparison, author. Actually, I just might pick JK Rowling, but I’ve seen so many interviews of her, I feel like I know her already. I could say Clive Barker, Anne Rice, or any other horror novelist. I could say Mark Twain–he’s got some great sayings, don’t he? But really, when it comes down to it, I’m gonna have to pick…(drum roll please)

…Somerset Maugham.

Yup. That’s right.

Confession alert: I grew up in a pretty small, boring, hick town and the school curriculum, well, wasn’t very, um, enriching. Sure, we had French and Spanish for foreign languages, we had advanced Calculus and Biology, and we covered Shakespeare and stuff. But I left high school thirsting for more exposure to the classics.

I didn’t get to indulge myself until after medical school. That’s when I “met” Somerset.–The Razor’s Edge, in particular. The prose in that book is so beautiful, I read the sentences several times, just savoring the flow of phrases and reveling in the selection of words. It’s been a couple of years and I have to say that the story has stuck with me. I may forget the subtle nuances of which character did what, but every time I hear or see someone discussing “fav’s,” this book comes to mind.

Final answer: Somerset Maugham.

And I wouldn’t necessarily have any questions for him. I’d just want to sit and listen to him talk…or maybe read from his books.

Check out Sarah’s post from yesterday in case you missed it, and stay tuned for Michelle M’s post tomorrow.

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16 comments on “Blog Chain–Out to Lunch

  1. Indigo says:

    I would have to save Edgar Allen Poe. Just to get a glimpse into his madness. He embodies the essence of a tortured soul writer. (Hugs)Indigo

  2. I like this answer. It is so hard to choose, and I love that picked someone who really impacted you.

  3. Sometimes you don’t even need to go to someone with prepared questions; you can learn a lot from him/her through normal conversation. Enjoy your lunch!

  4. It is a hard question! I think I’d choose Mercedes Lackey.

  5. I look forward to the day I personally meet the Author of the Word of God. As for more earthly authors, I wish I could decide. I think if we could dine with any one of them, we would find something in them with which we might feel akin.

  6. Cole Gibsen says:

    Awesome answer! I still have no idea who I’m going to pick…

  7. Michelle H. says:

    I grew up in a hick area myself (yeah, you might have guessed that by my last name) and our high school curriculum was pretty nonexistent regarding reading any of the classics. I missed out on a lot that should have been taught. Great answer 🙂

  8. Great answer! I’ve never heard of him, but I can look up his books.

    I’d probably pick George Orwell or John Steinbeck or Ray Bradbury. (See? I can’t pick just one, either!)

    I think I’m pretty lucky to know the authors I do know, though. I know some pretty amazing people.

  9. Thank you for introducing me to someone new. Will have to check out The Razor’s Edge!

  10. Arlee Bird says:

    Anais Nin? I’ve never read anything she wrote, but I’ve heard about her.

    Okay, how about Nathaniel West? He died way too young. I do like what I’ve read by him.

    Or maybe Flannery O’Connor–get some insight as to her approach to writing. She is one of my favorite authors.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  11. I’m with you on the listening part. I don’t know that I’d be able to do much speaking, or even that I’d want to. When in the presence of greatness, shutting my mouth might be the best thing I could do.

  12. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know who this is. But I consider myself fairly uneducated regarding the masters of literature, so while I should probably know who this is, I just don’t.

    Sigh….

    Another author I’ll have to go check out though, which is never a bad thing (grin). I completely understand what you mean about just sitting and listening though.

  13. Abby Annis says:

    Great answer! It was hard for me to pick too. 🙂

  14. It really is hard to pick, isn’t it? I’m not familiar with the author you chose, but from your description of The Razor’s Edge, I might have to look him up.

  15. another author I need to check out! And yeah, I probably wouldn’t utter a word at my dinner….I get a little scatter brained when I’m nervous anyways, but to just sit and listen would be amazing 🙂

  16. I’ve never read Maugham. What would you recommend for a reader new to him?

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