04-20-19 – In Praise of a “Bad Pick” by Linda Lovely and Robin Weaver

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I was lost...

...and now I'm really lost!

by M. L. Buchman

I love the world of the book. I slip into it and time disappears. I love the comfort, like an old pair of slippers.

I nearly flunked out of reading because of this habit. When I hit third grade, I was still reading Winnie the Pooh. Regrettably (or perhaps fortunately), the teacher was a friend of the family and knew how smart I was. The fact that I'd been reading about Pooh's adventures on my own since I was four was beside the point. I had entered the happy world of the Hundred Acre Wood and never wanted to leave.

By the end of that year I had left Pooh and entered into the world of Jack London and Herman Melville and never looked back. Yes, I read Moby Dick when I was ten and I'm here to say..."It's a story...about a whale." (If someone can remind me what musical I stole that from, I'd really appreciate it, btw.) I reread it years later, and it was still a story about a whale.

Maybe it as jumping over so many children's books that made me not see symbolism and allegory. I read a book and that's what it's about. Or maybe I'm just that kind of guy.

Anyway, Mrs. Kaye changed my entire world. And I did have the opportunity decades later to thank her for that gift of showing me my own potential.

It didn't mean that I was free of the book curse. Not one bit.

I had gotten an extension on my Music 101 final across Christmas vacation because the teacher was kind and my Geophysics bachelor's thesis had been kicking my behind hard all that fall of my senior year. The day before it was due, I was wandering through the library stacks to get a final bit of research for my music paper. (I wasn't the least bit musical, no matter how much I love it. And I still find a paper about music to be rather ironic.)

Anyway, there I was, innocently wandering the stacks, when I spotted an old friend: Hell on Ice by Captain Edward Ellsberg. One of the most chilling and best writing biographies of the Arctic explorers.
on Amazon
I sat down right there in the aisle and was lost for six or seven hours. Sometime after I'd missed two meals, my professor happened upon me sitting on the floor of the nautical stack and he managed to not quite snarl as he asked what I thought I was doing. Yipes! I rushed off, found my research, and made his deadline with less than an hour to spare.

Thankfully I'm over this now. Now when I reread a book it's because I'm studying structure, characterization, pacing...yeah, right!

Anne McCaffrey, Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Susan Brockmann, Arthur C. Clarke, and, yes, my old friend Captain Ellsberg can suck me right in. They make me want to lie back and kick my feet in the air like a happy puppy dog.

The biggest danger is that I love my own stories just that much. I'll dip back in to check some research for a series I'm working on...and I'll reemerge on the backside of never and realize that a whole chunk of a writing day just slipped away from me. ARGH! I guess it's better than hating my own writing, but it has its hazards.

Is to write for readers who are just like me and will plunge again and again into my world just so they can sit and revel in being lost...lost in a good book.

Booklist has selected his military and firefighter series(es) as 3-time “Top 10 Romance of the Year.” NPR and Barnes & Noble have named other titles “Top 5 Romance of the Year.” In 2016 he was a finalist for RWA's RITA award. He has flown and jumped out of airplanes, can single-hand a fifty-foot sailboat, and has designed and built two houses. In between writing, he also quilts. M.L. is constantly amazed at what can be done with a degree in geophysics. He also writes: contemporary romance, thrillers, and SF. More info at: www.mlbuchman.com.


Judith Ashley said...

So much better when we love our own books because when we talk about them, that love energy shines through.

Barbara Rae Robinson said...

If we don't love our own books, why are we writing them? It's the love of story that keeps us going. I remember standing in the small branch library close to where we lived in Los Angeles. I was staring up at the top shelf, a whole line of Sue Barton, Student Nurse books. My first encounter of series. I read them and Nancy Drew, and others when I was still quite young. I had graduated from the children's department and discovered a whole new world of story. I love getting lost in a book for hours.

Diana McCollum said...

I love your journey Matt. I can get lost in a good story, and the same thing happens, where did the day go?