A Book in That

In all the flap over the National Book Awards and the Chime/Shine mix-up, which made Laura Miller’s critical piece in Salon appear rather kindly, I forgot to perform a little happy dance in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded jointly to three women (none mistakenly): Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; and Yemeni pro-democracy activist Tawakkul Karman. Their award was a bright spot in an otherwise grim news cycle, and I’ve tried to spend a bit of my spare time getting to know their respective stories. To that end, I just watched the documentary about Leymah Gbowee, Pray the Devil back to Hell, which is presently being streamed on PBS. http://video.pbs.org/video/2155873888/ Watch it if you can. It’s an extraordinary, powerful, gut-wrenching story. That Gbowee should have been inspired (or approached) to write a book about her experience was only right, I just wish I had something to do with it.  I was interested to note that Gbowee’s memoir, Mighty be Our Powers, is being published by Beast Books, the publishing division of the Daily Beast. Good for Tina Brown. I hope it sells like mad.

In any case, watching the documentary meant that I could officially stop thinking like an agent, which is to say, wondering, “Is there a book in that?” In this case, the answer was yes and it was already written. It can be a funny lens through which to view the world, and every so often it’s nice to switch it off. I imagine writers are similarly afflicted.  Do you view your day to day life in terms of writing projects?

5 Responses to A Book in That

  1. Often! In fact, my new WIP was inspired by a newspaper story I read a couple of years back. It really outraged me, and when I saw something in a similar vein a few months a go, it sparked the new book.

  2. Definitely! My next novel was inspired by a series on the History Channel (not one of the history ones, either!), because it made me think, “I wonder what a person in that world would do.” I might dismiss most of them and only use a few, but other media inspires a lot of ideas. And one of the characters in that book was inspired by a news article.

    Thanks for linking to this documentary. It sounds very compelling and interesting, so I’m glad it’s streaming. And I’ve been reading a lot of articles about cultural and media misogyny today, so I’m glad to also read about the Nobel Peace Prize committee honoring three women as well.

  3. Ruth Dupré says:

    Always, always, always. Well, almost always.

    The book I’m working on now (memoir)? I didn’t go into the experience thinking “Oh, wow, what a book this would make!” That came later, and man, was it scary. I’m timid, and asking permission from the other principals gave me indigestion. Life must’ve laughed at me for a week over that one.

    All the world’s a stage, or a book. It’s up to us to find the story.

  4. TryThis Again says:

    Do you view your day to day life in terms of writing projects?

    Unfortunately, yes. I also view it in terms of cute little things I can make with my hands (girlfriend, no one’s interested in cute little things these days). I’ve been picking up pine cones from shaggy delicate white pine, one of my favorite trees (okay, so I love all conifers) – when you bring them indoors, they slowly blossom, opening up just like a flower. This fascinates me. I think of painting them, in pastel Rococo colors – if I had a magnifying glass thing-y, I could paint tiny fleur de lis on all the “petals.” I imagine such a pine cone, pink and gold, in Mozart’s pocket, or stuck in Marie Antoinette’s coiffure. Wouldn’t that be a cute book? “The Rococo Pine Cone.” And I’m off…

  5. eugene bull says:

    …so you seem to want to work with a Liberian? :) Well, check out the link and see what you think.

    btw, working on a second novel…


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