Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Slough of Despond

image When I was young, I had a little purplish book, smaller than a normal paperback--but thicker--called The Pilgrim's Progress. I'm fairly certain this was not the real Pilgrim's Progress, because the protagonist, Christian, was a child in my memory, and I remember every chapter had an accompanying sketch.

I loved this book. It was up there with Narnia. This book completely captured my imagination. I ached to make the journey to the Celestial City. 

I was reminded of all this because I was going to do my typical, neurotic freak-out at the 3/4 midpoint of my WIP, and the title that came to me was "Giant Despair." And I had to google it, and remember that he lived in "Castle Doubt," which led me to remember the "Slough of Despond."

imageIsn't it delightful? Did you read it? Remember Hopeful? Faithful? The River of Death? Remember Greatheart? Christiana?

I miss it so much, that if I can't find it, I feel like I would write one all over again, just so I can relive it.

Do you have such fond memories of any novels, that if they were to disappear, you would feel compelled to write them all over again? Or try to, as best as you were able?

One of my goals this year was to come up with a novel idea a day and a pitch paragraph a week, just to get the juices flowing. Wouldn't it be fun to write a pagan allegory? Or a Buddhist allegory (is that possible)? Or a Wiccan one?

I suppose there are quite a few already. Do you know of any?

Tee-hee. My goals looked a little overwhelming on New Year's morning, but I feel like I'm playing in a great big sandbox this year.

Did you set yourself any goals for the year, and then realize, with some surprise, that you were thrilled to do them?

24 bonus scribbles:

Janna Qualman 1/08/2009 08:37:00 AM  

How fun for you, reliving the feelings that story evoked!

From my childhood, the one that stands out most is Summer of My German Soldier. I had to read a "historically based" book to report on in sixth grade, and couldn't find anything. My teacher plopped that one in my hands, and I LOVED it. It was even made into a movie with Kristi McNichol(s). I have my copy somewhere...

Melanie Avila 1/08/2009 09:20:00 AM  

Why don't I have memories of books like you do? I read a ton and I remember a lot of them, but I didn't reread many of them. Hmm.

I still can't believe you're coming up with a novel idea each DAY. That's insane. I've come up with two novel ideas in the past year and that took a lot out of me.

Edie 1/08/2009 09:27:00 AM  

Spy, I feel so shallow. I was a Nancy Drew fanatic as a child. I wanted to be Nancy. I wanted to investigate crimes and drive around in a convertible.

Actually, I'd still like to drive around in a convertible. Not today, though, because the high is 20 degrees. I should pick up a Nancy Drew book again and read one, but I'm afraid I hate it.

LurkerMonkey 1/08/2009 10:16:00 AM  

If I lost Moby Dick, I would strongly want to recreate it from memory, even though I know I couldn't. I'm one of the weird people who is truly enthralled by that book ...

Heather Harper 1/08/2009 11:22:00 AM  

I loved poetry and was a lonely child, so Emily Dickinson was my homegirl.

Realmcovet 1/08/2009 12:03:00 PM  

Yes!! You are so awesome in your thinking Spy. Reliving the wonders of the pages of what we've come to love over the years via writing yourself is beautiful. Talk about being fruitful!!

And I got your twitter messages. That sucks that that keeps happening. I wonder if your browser keeps crashing because of all the crap I have on my blog. I suck!! If that's the case, I'll remove whatever I can so that you can continue to come visit. It just wouldn't be the same without your presence love. :)

And that book you speak of? "The Pilgrim's Progress"? Never heard of it, but it sounds LOVELY. I may just have to go on a mad hunt for such a treasure. I mean c'mon now...Giant Despair? Castle Doubt? Slough of Despond? Most DEFINATELY sounds delightful.

Eric Mayer,  1/08/2009 02:32:00 PM  

My grandmother had Pilgrims Progress on the bookshelf in her living room but it was a massive old volume with an illustration embossed on its cover. When I was old enough to read and looked into it the style drove me away almost instantly. My grandmother never tried to read it to me. Instead she read me The Wind in the Willows probably my favorite book of all time.

Merry Monteleone 1/08/2009 03:44:00 PM  

The first favorite that came to mind was Johnny Tremaine I read it in sixth grade, because I had to for class, but I looooooved it. I found it in a bookstore in my twenties and re-read it two or three times since... I was astounded, reading it as an adult, because it was just as good as I remembered.

I'd have thought it'd be SE Hinton, as I adored her in grade school, but maybe because Johnny was before those...

As for pagan or wiccan allegories... it reminded me, one of my backburner plots is about a middle schooler whose mom is a witch, as in Wiccan - not fantasy... I love the idea and the whole story but I shelved it for later because the current WIP captured my full attention but also, I was a little afraid it might not be saleable... it would be literary rather than a fantastical kind of thing...

colbymarshall 1/08/2009 04:30:00 PM  

I've never read this one! Maybe I need to!

My favorite book as a kid was Number the Stars about two friends during the Holocaust.

Lauren 1/08/2009 07:03:00 PM  

I'm with Edie on Nancy Drew. I also *loved* Little House on the Prairie because I was an early reader and in the first book she was about my age.

But it was really Judy Blume, Madeline L'Engle, Narnia, the Alanna Series and The Giver that captured my imagination.

Wow, novel idea a day!!! That's amazing! So impressive. Good luck with the goals. It's good to set lofty ones to push yourself rahter than ones that are easy, I think.

Robin 1/08/2009 07:46:00 PM  

Wasn't that the book the girls would act out in Little Women? I've never read it, but it sounded very cool!

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:48:00 PM  

That's a great title, Janna. I loved those type of books when I was young. I keep thinking of my childhood reads, I have no idea why!

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:49:00 PM  

Melanie, given your exceptional memory, that astonishes me! I read a lot, too, and forgot most of them. I don't really remember that I remember them until something reminds me. If that makes sense, LOL!

The idea a day thing: these don't have to be developed or good. They're just to get the juices flowing and to find me another niche.

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:51:00 PM  

Edie, I LOVE NANCY DREW! She ROCKS! She's the BEST! I think they were all the way up to #125 or so, by the time I read them, and I read most of them twice! (The first forty or so were the best, though.)

And what's funny is I'm exactly like you: I keep telling myself I should check one out, but I don't dare! I mean, they can't possibly be as good as I remember them, can they? I'd sure hate to spoil that!

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:52:00 PM  

LurkerMonkey, that sure would be a long undertaking! I never read Moby Dick. I loved the Patrick Stewart movie, so maybe...

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:53:00 PM  

Heather, I love Emily Dickinson! Did you know that will send you one poem of hers a day to your email? I went through all her poetry, two times over, in the past couple years.

She is amazing.

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:54:00 PM  

Realmcovet, I could never read the adult version, but I loved the Children's version I had. More delightful, more magic.

I can't comment on Magical Musings, so it may be my fault!

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:58:00 PM  

Colby, the holocaust sure figured into a lot of our favorite children's books, around here. I wonder why that is.

I loved The Hiding Place.

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 07:59:00 PM  

Oh how pretty, Eric! I couldn't get into the grown-up version. Even now, last night, I tried to read the real version, and couldn't.

The Wind in the Willows has been on my list for YEARS. (Swear to God, for FIFTEEN years.) I think it's time to read it.

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 08:02:00 PM  

Merry, that Wiccan book sounds like fun! So many ideas, so little time. I've never heard of Johnny Tremaine, I'll have to check that out.

PS: I remember loving That Was Then, This Is Now, but I don't remember it. Isn't that weird?

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 08:03:00 PM  

Lauren, I must have read the Little House on the Prairie series a million times! And I watched it every afternoon at 4pm. LOL!

PS: Novel idea a day are BAD ones, did I mention that? Just brain grease!

spyscribbler 1/08/2009 08:04:00 PM  

Really, Robin? Okay, now that you mention it, you may be right. That is the COOLEST!

Merry Monteleone 1/08/2009 11:06:00 PM  


Sorry, I put an 'e' in it... It's Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes... It's middle grade historical fiction set in Boston during the Revolutionary War... really, really excellent.

And That Was Then, This is Now, and Rumblefish were my two favorites... most people loved The Outsiders, but I really liked the others a little better... and like you, I barely remember them now.

Sarah Specht 1/17/2009 09:30:00 AM  

An idea every day?
Hope you don't get that problem, that gets on my nervs!;)
sometimes I have two ideas a day and sometimes one.*grin*