Archive for January, 2010

Who You Should Be Reading Instead of Me

Seriously, if you’re not waiting with bated breath for every installment of Uncle Orson Reviews Everything, there’s something deeply wrong with you.  But today, well, today I read the latest installment, in which Uncle Orson (Orson Scott Card, for the layman, author of Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, and a couple dozen other novels of amazing depth and great power) says goodbye to Barbara Bova, one of the greats in the literary world, and a person that despite this you have never heard of.

Here’s a bit of it, which I’m only providing to you because I know you’re going to go and read the whole thing:

Her loyalty was not merely professional, it was personal. She love us and we loved her. Even when we disagreed about what should be done with this contract or that writing project, even when I refused to make changes a publisher was insisting on, even when I was late turning in a book, she never gave up on me, and continued to give me and my books the benefit of her best thought and strongest efforts.

Barbara fought fiercely for us, as fiercely as she fought cancer this past year. She told almost no one of the personal battle she was going through, and only when it was clear that the treatments had all failed did she telephone us and tell us good-bye. A week later she was gone.

I feel her absence every day.

My greatest wish, and at the heart I believe my only wish, is to live a life that someone of that skill will write something of such beauty about me in my memory.

Cj

P.S. Apropos of that, one of the great geniuses of Card is that although I never met Barbara Bova, or Valentine Wiggin, or almost any of the people he knows or characters he’s created, when he writes them, I love them the way he does.  I can’t imagine the skill required for this.  It is one of the things that prevents me from being a writer – that I see how it can be done well, and despair that I can do it, knowing that a lesser effort will not satisfy me.

The other reason is that I haven’t the discipline.  Yet.  But that’s a topic for another time.

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