A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: A Perspective on Time

It was time. She’d fought against it for so long. She hadn’t thought that this day would ever come. She’d dreaded it, longed for it, prayed against it, prayed for it, wept over it, laughed about it, and yet here it was. Everything she knew was about to change. Everything unfamiliar for which she had ...

A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: It Was Time

She’d fought against it for so long. She hadn’t thought that this day would ever come. She’d dreaded it, longed for it, prayed against it, prayed for it, wept over it, laughed about it, and yet here it was. Everything she knew was about to change. Everything unfamiliar for which she had prepared was about ...

A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Rough Cut

Here’s a little something I wrote for fun today as a timed exercise: The King Edward Hotel was not specifically fitted out for aliens, especially water breathing aliens, but fortunately, the Gnasticollas were used to the terrestriocentrism of many provincial planets, and arrived with their water helmets on and other necessary equipment in conveniently packed ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: 7 Habits According to Tolstoy

1. Keep an open mind 2. Practise empathy 3. Make a difference 4. Master the art of simple living 5. Beware your contradictions 6. Become a craftsman 7. Expand your social circle Via BBC News Filed under: Literary, purpose Tagged: Tolstoy philosophy

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Russian Letters

After ten years of research, and doing back and forth translations using google translate while scrutinizing its Russian/English dictionary, I am learning Cyrillic letters. I have to hope that this is keeping my brain agile! And for another meaning of Russian letters, I’m reading a wonderful collection of short stories edited by Robert Chandler, the ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Two Jews

J and The Betrayers are both novels about antisemitism and social violence, both powerful. And yet who would talk about them in the same breath, one a dystopia, the other hyper-realism? The authors, Howard Jacobson (J) and David Bezmozgis, are a generation and an ocean apart though united by their Queen, Jacobson being British and ...

A Novelist's Eye: Lilian Nattel Online: Review: Little Failure

Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a memoir about life as an immigrant child from the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, a subject that I’ve become very interested in because of this memoir. I rated this a four (though I am against ratings really) because the ...

A Novelist's Eye: Lilian Nattel Online: Review: Tenth of December

Tenth of December by George Saunders My rating: 5 of 5 stars Brilliant stories. My favourite was only two pages and in that compact space told the story of a father’s rage and pathos through the vehicle of an unusual scarecrow. A book I want to own. View all my reviews Filed under: Literary Tagged: ...

A Novelist's Eye: Lilian Nattel Online: Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A book people seem to love or hate. I did laugh out loud. It’s a tall tale, not my favorite genre usually: the hundred year old man runs away from an old age home, has ...

A Novelist's Eye: Lilian Nattel Online: Archie and Thanks for the Books

I use Grammarly for proofreading because I want Veronica to love me. – Archie We’ve been having an Archie issue in this house. Archie and his pals (my fave is Jughead) hide under pillows and on top of bathroom shelves. Now, I have nothing against those folks. When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed ...

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Writers’ stimulants

I still think most of these would be whiskey, not coffee. (h/t to Mark Victor Young.) Alltop is a stiff drink of humor.

A Writer's Playground: Lilian Nattel Online: Postcard Story

After finishing Web of Angels, I did some writing exercises to get used to facing the blank page again so I could start something new. Recently, I re-read what I wrote then. This small piece of fiction surprised me, and I want to share it with you today. Sunday My life exists from Monday to ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Joyce Carol Oates on 1st Draft

Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor. Filed under: Fun, Literary Tagged: Writing Life

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: What I Learned from Figure Skating

The figure skaters at the World Championship competition, held this past week in London, Ontario, are the top skaters in the world. And they fall. They fall on their bums in front of a packed stadium, eyes upon them, and in front of TV cameras that represent the millions watching from home. They work all ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Alice Munro’s Brilliance

I am reading Alice Munro because she is brilliant. In the mid 1990s, I studied her stories for “weather,” ie the external details that make a story come alive. In the margins of a book of her short stories, I wrote “clothing,” “smell”, “rain.” Then I added weather to the next draft of The River ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Looking Deeper

I was walking and saw a slight indentation in the sidewalk. It was the shape of an inverted V. I stood over it with my camera and took a series of pictures. As I bent closer, I noticed a crevice at the tip. Bending closer still, I crouched over it. With my nose practically inside ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Literature Trumps Erotica

The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler is #8 in the top 100 books on amazon.ca, surpassing all three Shades of Grey. I’ve loved The Imposter Bride since it came out last year. It’s a finely written novel about the relationship between an enigmatic mother and her daughter. A holocaust survivor, Lily Azerov immigrates to Montreal ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: The Process: 10 Years Ago

As you’ll know if you follow my blog, I sent off the first draft of a fun new book to my agent. He is a dear as well as smart, but not the fastest responder. So while waiting, I had in mind to return to embark (again) on another the first draft of a historical ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs and Janet McTeer as Hubert Page via Gallery for Albert Nobbs Throughout history, there have been women who have lived as men either because of gender identification and/or for safety and opportunity as soldiers, pirates and doctors, for example. (This includes James Barry, an 18th century surgeon who became the ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Bravery: the Writer

I want to tell you about a writer who looked old in his mid-30s. He walked with a cane. He was overweight, lethargic, pasty-faced and depressed. It was no wonder. He was a writer trying to write vividly, truthfully and with compassion under a totalitarian regime. He believed in the socialist dream, at least he ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Writer’s New Year Resolutions

1. Create more, worry less. (h/t Diane Shoemperlen) 2. The market isn’t Stalin. Have fun writing. 3. The market is Stalin. Be subversive. [A]n invisible force was crushing him. He could feel its weight, its hypnotic power; it was forcing him to think as it wanted, to write as it dictated. This force was inside ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Eugenides Advice on Writing

To follow literary fashion, to write for money, to censor your true feelings and thoughts or adopt ideas because they’re popular requires a writer to suppress the very promptings that got him or her writing in the first place. When you started writing, in high school or college, it wasn’t out of a wish to ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Sea Plane and Reading

WWII military supply plane That is the interior of the sea plane that took me from Vancouver to Gabriola Island. As the only passenger, I got to sit in front. I thought the ride would be scary. Instead it was a stroll through the sky. A magical row below the clouds and above the ground, ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: The Next Big Thing: What I’m Working On

Goddess Durga by Joydeep Thanks to Lauren B. Davis for tagging me on this great questionnaire for writers. I have to confess that I’m participating in this more because I want to hear what other writers are doing than wanting to write about myself–but I will do my best to wrestle the questions to the ...

A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

This is a beautiful, heart-breaking, and ultimately redemptive novel about an Ojibway (Anishnabeg) man’s journey from childhood in the bush to his undoing in residential school, experiences in the Native hockey league and in an NHL farm team, his subsequent alcoholism and recovery. It is a narrative as familiar as the Cultural Revolution stories among ...