From Christopher Moore, author of Fluke, comes a quirky, irreverent novel of love, myth, metaphysics, outlaw biking, angst, and outrageous redemption.
As a boy growing up in Montana, he was Samson Hunts Alone — until a deadly misunderstanding with the law forced him to flee the Crow reservation at age fifteen. Today he is Samuel Hunter, a successful Santa Barbara insurance salesman with a Mercedes, a condo, and a hollow, invented life. Then one day, shortly after his thirty-fifth birthday, destiny offers him the dangerous gift of love — in the exquisite form of Calliope Kincaid — and a curse in the unheralded appearance of an ancient Indian god by the name of Coyote. Coyote, the trickster, has arrived to transform tranquillity into chaos, to reawaken the mystical storyteller within Sam … and to seriously screw up his existence in the process.
I love Christopher Moore’s sense of humour and Coyote Blue doesn’t disappoint. The other thing I love about Moore is that he does his research, which he certainly does in this novel. The story is about a man from the Crow nation and the details of the culture and stories feel authentic and respectful.
Coyote Blue follows the life of Sam, going back and forth from his time as an adolescent on the Crow reserve to his life in Santa Barbara as a successful insurance salesman, until the trickster god, Coyote, decides to wreck havoc through his life.
Moore takes us on a journey to imagine how the ancient gods exist in the modern world. Sam is a character we can sympathize with, just trying to live his life the best way he knows how under strange and, at times, terrible circumstances. Coyote is fabulous, an absolutely outrageous character with no moral qualms about anything.
And, like any good story, it is strewn with “truths.” Probably my favourite line in the book is when Sam is contemplating all of the upheaval in his life: “His life was back to normal, and normal wasn’t good enough anymore. He wanted real.”
Coyote Blue made me laugh, made me think, and kept me up late reading so I could see how it all ended.
Yesterday, as I was scanning my Facebook feed, I found this article called How to Write Your Best Story Ever With One Epic Exercise by Jennifer Manuel. My curiosity was piqued, and I have to say the article really resonated with me. Basically, she advocates finding a book you enjoy or admire the writing of and copy it out by hand every day before your other writing.
The idea fascinates me. I’ve always thought about how painters learn to paint by copying the masters, but I had never thought to apply this to writing beyond reading good writers. It makes so much sense to me to physically copy out other author’s writing in order to learn from it. It slows us down and makes us pay attention.
And, Manuel sites a tradition of authors copying out other writers to learn their craft, from Robert Louis Stephenson to Benjamin Franklin.
Manuel said that she has been copywriting for a year and has seen stunning results — and has written the best story of her life during this time. I highly suggest visitng Manuel’s page (click on the link in the first paragraph) as she lays out three different ways of practicing copywriting.
So, I’m going to give it a go. I also have had trouble lately getting into the creative flow, so I am hoping that copywriting will help by getting my brain gently into writing mode. Even if I have writer’s block, I can still do something towards my writing, which I love.
I’m going to start with one of Thoreau’s essays from Walden because I think he has interesting sentence structure. I started today and found the exercise soothing and meditative. I’ll keep you updated.
On Canada Day, my writing group (Books in the Belfry) had a booth at our local Art in the Park, art show/sale and music, celebration here in Kamloops, BC. Here we mostly are:
It was a fantastic, beautiful day, full of people coming by to talk about books and writing and I appreciate everyone who stopped by.
I am so fortunate to have this amazing, supportive group in my life. A common thread among the writers who visited our booth is that they often feel disconnected and would love to connect with other writers. It’s a funny thing, how so many writers are introverted and we work on our own so much, but that we need times to connect and get support as well. After our Art in the Park experience, my group, Books in the Belfry, is looking at trying to find ways to connect with other writers, perhaps even world wide, while still maintaining the integrity of our group. One of the things we really value is our feeling of safety to share our work or speak our mind — because we know how rare it is to find.
Thanks again to everyone who made Art in the Park a fantastic day, and feel free to sign up for our newsletter here to keep up with our plans. And here’s a link to a post about our group, but basically, we are all batshit crazy about writing and keep each other going through (mostly) weekly meetings at a local coffee shop. And how did we start? Through creativity courses and by going up to people who have Nanowrimo stickers on their laptops in coffee shops.