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Heard Something Beautiful This Morning ... (1 Viewer)


Friends of WF
... Or: The Genesis of an International #1 Bestseller

In the pocket kitchen this morning prepping the day's nutrition, the perfect tømmer 10-inch knife I've carried for 26 years is frozen mid-stroke above the cutting board. I'm stalled in surprised thrall.

In my ears (and head and beyond) plays episode #729 of a podcast called "otherppl with brad listi". He's talking with Louise Nealon about her first book, Snowflake. It's "The #1 International Best Seller" whatever that means. She laughs. Full Ireland. From the belly.

And I'm embarrassed to whisper to no one at all, "Please make her laugh again. Please."

This podcast episode is gold. The book's genesis? "I had someone else's dream."

Ten years to write. From College (undergrad) roundabout to University (grad). "Just terrible at service staff. Set a table afire once."

Her community and its place in it all. Her uni teacher finally looking, listening, learning her and backing off and causing what was needed. Her agent approaching her, not the other way around, and what she brought and caused. And again that uni teacher, who also, years past, called her out of the blue for coffee once the book appeared.

The focus and method of her short stories were getting in the way of the novel, preventing the "characters' stories from coming together."

The setting and the question of autobiography. ("Scooped out my family and wrote new people and events into it.")

Some specifically remembered bits, because I set down the knife and picked up the pen on the shelf over the sink:

"...your characters have things you don't know..."
And those unknown things appear only in the act of writing and reading it back, not in the act of thinking about the writing.

"...nature doesn't aim; it plays..." A quote from someone else she mentioned.

The inciting dream? The book formed around it then was finally discarded when a close reader said, "I know it's important to you but it's not serving the story."

If you are like me, someone who thinks dreams are special personal knowledge, that last is an important point: The dream was saying "a story needs to be told" but not the actual story to tell. She had to find that part by making "mistakes," by doing, and then undoing, the work of telling the "wrong" story.)

And, praise the air, her laugh. Ireland, laughing.

It's been a gorgeous morning.
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