Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sarah Lotz and Exhibit A

When I was at the Cape Town Book Fair I got in the queue to have my copy of Exhibit A signed. As I've mentioned before I am a) an author stalker and b) addicted to signed books. Since I write detective books myself I am always keen to read locally written mysteries, so was excited to get me grubby hands on Exhibit A.

So I'm in the queue and I get to the front and a lovely young woman is sitting at the table. (Shocked to hear she is 38, I thought she was in her 20's until I read the review today!) I put my book down and she asks how to spell my name. So I start-"L-A-U-R-I" She puts the pen down and looks up at me. "Are you Lauri Kubuitsile?" I said, "Yes" because I actually am.
Then she went on with some quite nice words and my head blew up to the size of a large watermelon. The picture you see here is my signed copy of the book which inside says-" Amazing to meet such a talented writer". How about that?? Hope she goes on to win the Nobel Prize or something and I can sell it on eBay for millions.
(No, I'd never do that)

So why am I telling you all of this? Am I trying to let you see the power of me in case you've somehow missed it? NO! I want to start this post off by telling you- in my eyes- Sarah Lotz will not be able to do wrong. Everything I write will be biased at a 95.4 degree angle. She'd have to go on a murderous killing spree or strangle kittens before I'd be able to write a single negative word about her. Know this before you proceed. You've been warned.

I have not started her book yet, though it has moved to Pile A on my table. Those who follow this blog know that I have been involved in a long, drawn out, sumptuous, read-a-thon with Middlesex. I couldn't bear to finish it. I idled. Re-read. Accidentally purposefully let my bookmark fall out and then stuck it in further back than I actually was. It had to happen, I knew it would- the end arrived. After the event, I took a few days to live with the fact that indeed Middlesex was finished. A new chapter of my life would have to begin.

Then I started in on the Cape Town books. Since my writing partner oozed about The Rowing Lesson, I started there. In retrospect I should have thought a bit about what to read post-Middlesex, but I didn't. You can't go from the wild, reckless expanse of Middlesex to the tight, swirling words of The Rowing Lesson. Something will have to give.

I nearly threw The Rowing Lesson to the side in frustration for it not being Middlesex, but I have persevered and am actually beginning to like it, might even find myself loving it by the end; we'll see. When I'm through I will be on to Exhibit A which I will love. (Refer to third paragraph)

This post, in fact, is about a lovely quote in a review of Exhibit A in the Weekender. Ms Lotz talks about writing. She says-

I liked this (as you probably expected I would) but... really... I do like this. It is dead tiring to hear writers talk about how hard it all is. The torture of it. The blank page. The absent muse. They must use pharmaceuticals and ample amounts of alcohol just to write one bloody sentence. Ao! feel pity for them folks.

I agree with Lotz- SHUT UP! Is there anything more lovely than being god? Everyday I get to sit down and create worlds and all sorts of interesting people. I put the people in my worlds and make them do things and then I see what happens. God in a nutshell.

It's a bit like what we did as kids with Barbie's Dream House. We had Barbie and GI Joe and two spare weebles from the weeble set under our bed and one Mr Potato Head with a moustache but one eye missing. And then we put them together and we had long drawn out dramas and sometimes people would get killed (usually Mr Potato Head- I never liked that black felt moustache - dastardly is the word that comes to mind) and some would fall in love ( always a champion of the underdog, I liked a weeble to be the object of Barbie's adoration). We were in control.

Writing is like that. Writing is lovely. As soon as I leave my stories and move to the real world disappointment descends. I no longer control the woman behind the glass at the post office. (If I did she might very well choke on a chicken bone at lunch today- shame) That's where the disappointment lies. That is where the frustration can be found. Not in the writing. Never in the writing. That's the land of joy.


Miss Footloose said...

Lauri, I so enjoyed your post -- my first this morning. What a fun exchange with Ms. Lotz at her book signing.

Ms. Lotz's SHUT UP comment hits the spot with me. I am a writer and I agree with you: Writing is lovely. It's exciting, and never boring to me. Playing god, yes indeed!

What is the difficult part for me (and I must admit complaining about it)is not the writing, but the promotional and marketing work publishers in North America expect writers to engage in. But that's another story!

I'm interested in finding novels set in countries other than the US and here you are and Sarah Lotz.


Miss Footloose (w/a Karen van der Zee)

Lauri said...

Karen thanks so much for stopping by. There are so many lovely books written in this part of the world. As I said, I'm currently reading The Rowing Lesson which won the MNet Award and is shortlisted for the Sunday Times award, both very prestigous South African awards. I would recommend the book, the writing is stunning.

Miss Footloose said...


I'll find Rowing Lesson! I'll have time to spend at Heathrow Airport soon and have a look there, or order it.

I'll keep checking up on your further recommendations!


Helen Ginger said...

What a fun post. I so loved it and your enthusiasm. Reading your blog is a great way to start the day.

Straight From Hel

Lauri said...

Thanks Helen, glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

nice! complete control it is. i agree i wish real life could be like that. but i guess it cannot because good things will be destroyed for no good.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. Obviously a very sensible writer because I would love to meet you too. How awesome would that be?

I agree with your thoughts on writing. What a privilege. We should all look at writing as a gift, not a chore. How amazing to create something from nothing. Like most things - it's all in the way you look at it!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Lauri, this is, hands down, my favorite blog post of yours! How funny, and when I got to the part about the Barbie and Ken and the dastardly Mr. Potato Head I lost it.

Lauri said...

Selma- I hope our meeting in flesh and blood is somewhere in our future too!

Elizabeth-I think it was funny for you because you were a Mr Potato Head hater too- am I right???

Sarah Lotz said...

Lauri - thank you so much for saying such lovely things (sometimes Googling yourself is worth it!) It was really great to meet you as well, and I can see we have a serious mutual appreciation thing going.

Wow. Am actually quite blown away.

Glad to hear so many other writers are fed up with the whingers who whine about being privileged enough to write for a living.

And Miss Footloose, I share your pain regarding marketing - it's much the same in South Africa.

Um, I'm not sure Exhibit A will stand up well next to Middlesex or The Rowing Lesson, (it's pure guilty pleasure stuff, I'm afraid), but hope you enjoy it all the same!

Lauri said...

Sarah, thanks for stopping by! Guilty pleasure has many merits so I'm sure Exhibit A will find it's place in the crowd. Still haven't started it though. Suddenly have to zip through a book that I'll soon host a blog book tour stop. Then on to Exhibit A!