Thursday, September 29, 2011

Better Than It Has Any Right to Be

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

I just finished reading Michael Chabon's first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. It's better than any first novel has the right to be, especially since Chabon started it when he was only 21 years old.

No, it's not perfect. The ending, especially, feels rushed. That's not unusual: most fiction authors write more-or-less in order, first chapter to last. The author has had the early chapters long enough to revise them over and over, but less time to work on the last chapters. Nevertheless, it's damn good.

Years ago, when I read Ramond Radiguet's Devil in the Flesh and realized that the author was only 18 years old, it made me feel like I know nothing about love.

Reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh make me feel like I know nothing about writing a witty and engaging story.

I'll be thinking about that when I do a bookstore reading of my witty and engaging work this Sunday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The First Full Day of Autumn

The autumnal equinox was yesterday, so this is our first full day of autumn. It's always been my favorite season.

This year, however, has had very odd weather. We had a very wet spring in Chester County, PA. Then the rains disappeared, and the state declared a drought on August 5th. This was followed by record rainfall, which included rain from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

August - which began with a drought - ended with 13.12 inches of rainfall in the county.

And the rains kept coming in September. The ground is saturated, right when it's usually drying. Wet ground provides poor support for the trees, which may blow over in winter storms.

You can't say that we haven't had interesting weather in 2011.