It’s Towel Day, friends: the day hoopy froods carry their towel in remembrance of the greatest sci-fi parody writer ever, Douglas Adams. Since I hotlinked this image from Lemon.ly, I’m sending you there for the details.
It is perhaps odd for me to write a eulogy for Kathi Kamen Goldmark because in truth I barely knew her. I can say this: she always volunteered to speak or answer questions for the NCBPMA, and because of her friendliness and approachability she was one of the first local producers I knew by name. She was one of those vivacious people that seems to be everywhere, and always smiling to boot. Being a producer is a tough job, and yet she never hesitated to answer a question or offer an explanation about why a certain guest would or wouldn’t be a fit for her show. She somehow managed to do this job while writing books and performing in the literary group the Rock Bottom Remainders.
As I’ve embarked on this journey in the Bay Area publishing world, I always imagined the day when Kathi and I would be friends. Not because she was some milestone of important authors (though she was!) but because she had that kind of warmth that made me think I could do this, that the writing and publishing scene isn’t a clique, but a community.
In the coming weeks there will be numerous posts from people who knew her well, that will explain better than I ever can why the loss of this luminary light will affect the Bay Area forever. I only wish to contribute this to make it known how many lives she touched, even among her acquaintances. It breaks my heart to know that I will never be able to tell her what a role model she was for me, and for so many others. But perhaps if you are reading this now, it will remind you of all the lives you may touch, and the special place you may find if you keep following your dreams. A space that is all your own—like Kathi, whose presence in the literary world is irreplaceable. Kathi Kamen Goldmark, you are missed.
$&ADFYF@!#$% Stop everything! You know Protagonize, that nifty site where writers go to share their stories online? (You don’t eh? Check it out.)
THEY PICKED ME AS THEIR FEATURED AUTHOR THIS WEEK. I’m so psyched. Look, here’s proof.
This must be what it feels like to get picked as Student of the Week in school.
What better time for you to have a look at the novel I’ve been posting there since February? Best to get reading it before there’s spoilers everywhere.
Two Chapter Ones
Novelling never seems to go as planned. When I started this novel, I told myself I would spend as much time on the later chapters as on the opening ones. Everyone spends forever writing their first chapter, of course because it is the first thing people read. I’ve also discovered that writing the first chapter is one of the hardest things to write. Why? Because what the reader wants is exactly the opposite of what the author wants. The writer wants to introduce you to their world: who these characters are, where they live, what they’re in search of. The reader hasn’t decided yet whether she cares about any of those things. The reader wants to know what happened: what’s the story? What’s the conflict? Where is this going? Complicating things further, the reader really does need some of that background information. Well into the novel, they know what the characters look like, where they live, what kind of world the story inhabits. So the author has this challenge: they must get the reader involved in the story right away while sneaking in little details that give the reader something to picture. When my reading group first looked over my story, I realized they didn’t know diving in whether the world was going to be suburban or fantasy, if it takes place today or fifty years ago. Thus every detail in chapter one matters, because the readers is starting from nothing. Not only do you have to sneak them in, you have to give just the right details in just the right order.