Wednesday 26 May 2010

The Book that Marks the Spot (+Beth's tag)

Here is the excerpt from Marilynne Robinson's 'Housekeeping' which made my heart POUND in highschool, and marked the day I knew I wanted to write too someday. Her novel 'Housekeeping', first published in 1980, is what sparked my interest in literature when I was just 14. She's is still to this day my favourite author.

"He would peer at them as if he could read them, and pocket them as if he could own them. This death in my hand, this is ruin in my breast pocket, where I keep my reading glasses. At such times he was as forgetful of her as he was of his suspenders and his Methodism, but all the same it was then that she loved him best, as a soul all unaccompanied, like her own. ... So the wind that billowed her sheets announced her the resurrection of the ordinary. ... And she would feel that sharp loneliness she had felt every long evening since she was a child. It was the kind of loneliness that made clocks seem slow and loud and made voices sound like voices accross water."

Do you have a book which marks the day you knew you wanted to write?

And now for my tag:

If I were a: MONTH I'd be January. Duvet snuggles listening to pouring rain.
If I were a: DAY I'd be Wednesday. Not too tired yet from work, not too far from the weekend.
If I were a: TIME OF DAY I'd be sunrise. I gotta get out of the habit of sleeping in!
If I were a: SEASON I'd be winter. See If 'I were a: MONTH'.
If I were a: PLANET I'd be Jupiter because I'd be able to walk on water.
If I were a: DIRECTION I'd be lost.
If I were a: TREE I'd be the Cherry Blossom because in Japan they're a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life.
If I were an: ANIMAL I'd be my dog because she gets so much love.
If I were a: MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I'd be an opera voice.
If I were a: FRUIT I'd be a mango - just because.
If I were a: FOOD I'd be vegemite because not many people would eat me.
If I were a: COLOR I'd be green, because it's not easy being green.
If I were a: BOOK: See top of post.
If I were a: SONG I'd seep through every crack I found an infect the masses with my tune.
If I were a: MOVIE I'd sack the man who invented the digital video camera because now instead of most movies focussing on character development they focus on special effects.
If I were a: FLOWER I'd wilt.
If I were a: FACIAL EXPRESSION I'd be the raised eyebrow because life is confusing sometimes.

And I'm not tagging back because there are plenty of other people tagging!

PS: The first prize winner, layla418, of my contest has not contacted me, so if he still hasn't done so by tomorrow morning, I will draw another winner. Stay tuned!


  1. That is wonderful. Love how it still makes your heart stop. Now here's another book I must read. Thanks. LOL.

    For me, they differ from when I was a kid to now. I remember Peter Pan stirred me and major classics like that. But the one and only for me is Pride and Prejudice. I have no idea how many times I've read it. Moved me to imagine.

    Love your tags. I think you'd be a nice-looking wilt. And green? Why is it difficult??

  2. Your tags are so cool, loved them! And wow, that´s a great passage, it really grabs the readers heart.

    I don´t think I have any passage tat made me wanna write...not that I remember of =D

  3. The book that convinced me of my capacity to write is Poppy by Drusilla Modjeska.

    Many people in the blogosphere may not have heard of her, but she is born in England now living in Sydney Australia.

    She has written primarily non-fiction, though her fiction is highly fictionalised if that makes sense. I recommend her writing.

    It's special.

    I also love Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, that is one wow of a book.

  4. No lie, the FIRST book would probably be Dr. Suess. I loved the zany rhymes and pictures. I remember telling my friend in 1st grade I was going to be a writer. Of course I was also going to be a teacher and The President.

    As an adult though? Probably Pride & Prejudice (followed by the rest of Austen). I was mesmerized by how the essential story lines were still valid today.

  5. Nah, no flash of insight for me, not like that. I had a book that started me writing, and as I wrote, I knew that it was what I was supposed to do. No brilliant flash, no sudden knowledge, it just kind of... happened. :)

  6. This tag is awesome!!!

    I wouldn't say there was one particular book that lead me to writing but I will say my Junior English Teacher taught me the love of books and love of writing!!! I loved my english class and it's not only what lead me to write a book but to also become a high school english teacher.

  7. Loved your answers,

    enjoy your day.


  8. Ha! I'd be January too! I love the cold. It's awesome when a book makes you love it that much, and you're connected to it.

    For me, it was Patricia McCormick's Cut. Whe I was a lot younger, I hated reading. It was that book that spun me around.

  9. Heh, I actually just posted partially about the book that made me realize I wanted to write: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I don't necessarily want to write that young, but I love that book, and I would love people to love things I write like that.

    And I think I'd be a raised eyebrow too, I think my face is stuck that way.

  10. This was good tag! It was great learning more about you. And, I too, would choose to be one of my dogs because they are so spoiled and loved.


  11. Okay, I must be a total dunce, because I didn't understand that excerpt at all. What death in the breast pocket? Huh? Help! How can one forget one's Methodism? I'm a Methodist. I don't accidentally wander into the Presbyterian church on Sunday by mistake. Does he?

    I'm so confused. I think I need to go back to school and take English again or something. Yikes!

    It's certainly beautifully written and haunting, but like a poem I don't understand.

  12. I knew I wanted to be a writer while reading the Famous Five series by Edith Blyton (British author). I was 8 or 9 at the time.

    I love mangoes. I'm not sure what that means for our friendship. Does that mean I have to eat you? ;)

  13. My daughter, also a writer, LOVES the book Housekeeping. Have you seen the movie? The book that made me want to be a writer was On the Banks of Plum Creek, that I read when I was about 7 or 8. Also all the Beverley Cleary books!

  14. I can remember books that moved me like that. I have loved reading for so long and remember choosing books that most of my peers would not be reading.

  15. never heard of this book! LJ Smith's secret circle and vd trilogies both pushed me to take up the act of writing. They made me love YA paranormal so much that when I ran out of stuff to read, I wrote my own. I'm still really upset by her demise with the 5th VD:(

  16. I love that excerpt! Just awesome.

    I don't remember any particular books inspiring me to be a writer, though I'm sure they did.

  17. *scribbles Marilynne Robinson at the top of to-read list*

    And that is why literary fiction is my favorite genre to read. How beautiful is this excerpt!

    I loved your tagged answers. It's amazing how a simple questionnaire can reveal about a person. Your answer to the movie question was spot on!

  18. Oooh . . . I'd be a mango, too! Yummmm.

    I can't think of a specific book. But I would guess L.M. Montgomery with all her writer characters put the thought in my head.

  19. For me, probably Clive Barker's IMAJICA. Loved it so much I got that title tattooed on my right bicep :D And its opening sentence, read when I was a teenager, is forever burned into my gray matter: "It was the pivotal teaching of Pluthero Quexos, the most celebrated dramatist of the Second Dominion, that in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players." It was my first inkling that a writer could sweep together scale, moodiness, atmosphere, magic, aliens, religion and darkness into something big, something awesome. GREAT post!!

  20. Great exerpty. Now I want to read that book. :)
    There wasn't any one book that made me want to write. I think it's just books in general for me. :)

  21. What a cool idea. Thanks so much for sharing these little pieces of you, Jessica.

  22. That excerpt is humbling. So good.

    I've always wanted to write, but ignored the urge. I can't remember specific books that made me want to when I was a child.

    As an adult, I read the first Harry Potter and thought, this is the group I'd like to write to as well. And I want to write books that have both whimsy and deeper meaning.

  23. What a brilliant passage - I can see how that would inspire you to write! I can't think of anything specific now that inspired me but I think it's great you can point to that moment.

    Love the tag, by the way!

  24. Strangely enough, I was ALSO 14 in 1980--are we exactly the same age? Have I found a fellow Firehorse?

    Sounds like a beautiful book, and I love your answers!

  25. Gosh, I don't know if there's a particular book that inspired me to want to be a writer, but I was terribly in love with Dean Koontz's thrillers when I was a wee pup. I still remember the rush I would get when I started to read another of his books.

  26. That sounds wonderful. I will definitely have to check it out. :)

    I don't think I have a single book that sparked my love for writing. However, my first huge writing project (at 60k+, still my longest novel to date) was inspired by the Harry Potter series. :)

  27. That sounds like a wonderful book. Can't believe I've never heard of it. Persuasion is the book that made me want to write. How JA managed to make us understand humanity through a story intrigued me. I hope to do that in my writing.


  28. I don't think it was a certain book but the many years of loving great books.

  29. If I were a: DIRECTION I'd be lost.

    Love it!!!

    For me, I think the book that made me realize I wanted to be a writer was "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I read all 1000 pages, and was so hooked for the sequel that I went to the mall in the middle of a bout of bronchitis, because I had to keep reading.

  30. Well, I'm putting Marilynne's book at the top of my list! Thanks for the recommendation! (I'm not a morning person, either!)

  31. Housekeeping sounds like a book I've been missing all my life. I'm writing it down to check out. Beautiful language!

    The book that led me to write is really cliche: Harry Potter. In 1999 I read it and had an epiphany reminding me how much I loved that genre and how I'd sorely missed it all the years in college.

    So glad I found your blog! And really, you live in Athens??? You lucky girl... my husband's mind might blow from envy. :o)

  32. I think the first book that really got me - that made me think about writing was Anne of Green Gables. Whole worlds opened up for me when I read that.

  33. Loved that passage from Housekeeping!!! One of those pieces that I first read as a reader then read again as a writer...Also one of those passages that makes me feel like my writing sucks ass...but whatever it's good stuff!!

    A mango huh? And why on earth would you be a wilted flower??? You would def be perky, pretty and dewy!!

    My fave book that made me want to write is Sold by Patricia McCormick about human trafficking. She is soo good!!

  34. A very, very good passage. I'll have to add the novel to my must read book. I keep going back to The Outsiders as my inspiration. Hinton was 14 when she wrote it! And it is now studied in some schools. And I'm with Jemi. I loved all of Lucy Maude Montgomery Books. Oh, and Charles Schultz, too. Snoopy balancing on to of his dog house typing--who couldn't be inspired by that scene?

    Fun tags, too!

  35. And even more insight. :) Love it.

    I'm not sure if there was one book that did it for me. My family has been telling me for as long as I can remember that I am supposed to be a writer.

    I didn't start listening until a year ago. ;)

  36. I don't think it was an actual book that made me want to write..I think it was all of them! And all my new friends in blogland. I started something a long time ago, and it's never been worked on. I decided to start something I am good at :)(well..think I'm good at)


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris