Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Books, deadlines, & truffles

Deadlines and minor panics have been sprouting up for several months, but now at least the current round of college applications is done--much more to do there, but at least we hit the eleventh hour with submissions on Friday. Make that the eleven fifty-ninth minute. And The Throne of Psyche has gone to Mercer University Press. I made the deadline of Friday; then my mother (wonderful persnicketiness!) found some glitches, and so I tinkered some more and turned it in again last night. I guess that's called not quite making the deadline. I got a reward anyway: last night my husband flew home from Houston with a giant purple box of Vosges (haut chocolat, indeed!) truffles, and I discovered that an announcement of chocolate brings the very speediest responses to facebook status lines . . .

Soon I hope to do some more posts on friends-with-new-books since a bumper crop has come along lately. I have a rather daunting stack, but it's not the best of times in Book Land, and one must do one's little bit to help. Yesterday I had lunch at Alex and Ika's with two local writers who just received excellent reviews in the not-defunct-after-all Kirkus: Peg Leon of Cooperstown, whose second book, A Theory of All Things, is forthcoming from Permanent Press; Alice Lichtenstein of Oneonta, who also has a second book appearing, Lost, from Scribner's. Both books have March pub dates and sound like fine reads. I'll get to them.

Meanwhile, I have decided that I don't quite like the first third of my third--perhaps my last, as I have written one for each of my children--novel for children. So I shall be getting back to that soon. The rest of the book has great swing and momentum, but the first third seems a bit mired in molasses. The pacing is a tad off, and the introduction of the various characters comes too slowly.

From a review of the anthology Enemy of the Good (U.K.: P. S. Publishing) in Tangent:

“The Red King Sleeps” by Marly Youmans weaves a vivid fantasy dreamscape of romance, death, decay, and the dangerous power of the mind to create worlds. This story is not long, but Youmans makes every word count. The imagery she presents is as beautiful as it is eerie. It is not surprising that she mentions that this story was “written in the seizure of a dream.” This story will seize anyone with a taste for the dark and surreal. --Maggie Jamison

That's the Tenniel Red King sleeping at the top of the post, of course. I was given the Alice books when I was five and read and reread them endlessly. My Red King doesn't look much like this one. He doesn't even look like a Mervyn Peake illustration--and I adore Peake's Alice illustrations (and what wonders he did with Bleak House and other books!)

And now since I appear to be truffleable, or worthy of being truffled, I will go have a very small bite to eat . . . If you were here, I would share. Alas. As it befalls, I am alone with a large number of helpless truffles. First I shall recite "The Walrus and the Carpenter," waving my handkerchief as I do. Then: a nibble or two. Good cheer!

5 comments:

  1. A good reminder Marly! I've long waited to read this short story and now I can. I've just ordered my copy with PS. Roll on the day when a publisher of vision produces the definitive short stories of Marly Youmans. Warning; I'm claiming the cover art work!!!

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  2. Marly, you are just a delight. Enjoy that purple box of truffles!

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  3. Clive,

    That will be a good day and a smashing jacket.

    Eileen,

    I'll take that as a command, thanks! And so I'm off for chocolate...

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  4. Bravo Marly! Enjoy your chocolate; it will make the revision go faster.
    You inspire me with your busyness!

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  5. Robbi,

    Shan't mention all the disorganization then!

    I finally remembered the chocolates that Mike brought me from a similar work-trip to Chicago: Canady La Chocolatier. Those were superb, and they came in the most scrumptious handmade parchment boxes from Thailand. Lovely flower designs embedded in the top...

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.