Friday, September 3, 2010

Is someone smoking within a six mile radius of where I'm standing?*

I recently finished reading the book Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. I have to admit it took me some time to get in to. The book begins in London and then enters into a mirror version of London call "Un Lun Dun" with other places connected to it like, "Parisnt". The reason I had difficulty is because, well because I am from Virginia. Reading a book based in London is one thing, you see a word and you think, "I wonder what that is?" You look it up and find out that it's a telephone or a toilet. But with this book it was, "What's that? Is it from London or is it a made up thing in Un Lun Don?" So, in Jessica fashion, I gave up on the book and read about 15 others before returning to it. Finally I told myself that I just needed to read it. My brother-in-law, Ben, is who lent it to me and I figured one day he'd like to get that book back, and he'd like to get it back knowing my thoughts on it. I can make stuff up pretty well, but not an entire book (...actually, I can) - maybe I should say a summary of a book, I can't make up a summary of a book.

I struggled through the beginning chapters (which were short little heaven sent chapters) and then suddenly, the book took off. Suddenly, I understood what I was reading. Right before I finished the book I wondered if that is what it is like to read Clockwork Orange, all nonsense at first and then the reward for sticking with it is that you will actually know what is happening. Maybe we'll try it (after I finish my 60-some books awaiting perusal).

My point in this blog is that I am jealous of China Mieville. He makes up this entire world Un Lun Dun and plays off of things in the real world, like the black window in Webminister Abbey, which really gives you the heebies. Or how giraffes are not all that cute (let's be honest here, ever since my first encounter with a giraffe I haven't been fooled). In fact, they are crazy carnivores (in Un Lun Dun...see below).

That's not cute. I saw a cute little cartoon drawing of a giraffe today and I thought, "eek, those things scare me." And not the way they used to scare me, it's on a deeper level now.

I'm jealous of China Mieville because I want to write well, I want to write stories that stick with you. I want to have an imagination that can make things up like black windows, binja (ninja trash bins), an ungun...I guess people have different styles, I doubt Charles Dickens could have written Un Lun Dun either, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a kick-butt writer.
When I read a really good book it leaves me with two feelings. I have the feeling of "I love this book!" coupled with the feeling of, "Crap, I'm not good enough." Who knows if I'll ever get published, I hope that I do, I would really, really like to have that happen some day. I'll do what I do and I guess we'll see.

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