Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Three Peppers, originally uploaded by R80o.

Every now and then I get a big idea--or three. For some mysterious reason, big ideas usually arrive here in colorful trios. Three hot peppers sizzling in my brain.

Once the peppers take over, I go around ranting and raving to random strangers about how I just had the most amazing idea ever. Sometimes they even believe me. If they know me well, however, they just smile and tell me to have a nice day. I try to comply.

My agent already knows that if she gets an e-mail with "my most brilliant idea ever" in the subject line, the best thing to do is delete it immediately.

Within a few days, one of three things usually happens:

1. I realize that my most brilliant idea ever has already been thought, tried and done a million times before.

2. I realize that it's never been done in the history of the world--and for a very good reason: it's totally impracticable.

3. I still think it's a great idea, but alas, I don't do anything about it. See, I'm really good at idea generation (aka dreaming), but I'm an absolute failure at follow through--or what some people quaintly call action.

Anyway, yesterday was a big idea day. The first one I unveiled on an on-line forum. At first, it was met with vigorous debate--and not a little disdain. Then when people realized that it doesn't pay to argue with someone who has hot peppers frying in her brain, the thread grew silent.

I talked myself out of the second big idea before it had time to start much trouble.

But the third, which involves this blog, is still cooking. What spurred it was a book. (Doesn't that spur everything in my life?) In this case, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, which I blogged about the other day. Well, I started it last night and I loved it. From the very first paragraph, I loved it.

And I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful if a group of us read the same book, and then committed to blogging about it on the same day?

It would be the first ever blog book club! (Okay, not the first; in fact, it's probably been done countless times. But I don't care! I still love the idea of a group of us--okay, even two--reading the same book and sharing our thoughts.

It wouldn't be a forum, because I know there are a ton of those.
In fact, one of the rules would be that you wrote your post before reading anyone else's. That way all the views would be totally fresh. Of course, after you posted, you could bust out in the comment sections all over blogland. It would be like those old Parisian salons. Maybe we could even call it...No, forget it, I think that name's already taken.

So here it is, my most brilliant idea ever: THE THIRD DAY BOOK CLUB!

On the third day of every month, we choose a book; then exactly a month later, we blog it. It's that simple.

If anyone wants to join me in reading HALF OF A YELLOW SUN and writing about it on November 3rd, jump in and I'll post your link.

Now if only I could figure out how to get the THIRD DAY BOOK CLUB onto the sidebar before the idea fizzles...


In other LIT NEWS, Marcus Sakey, another member of the Killer Year team, had himself a great day. His novel, The Blade Itself, won't be in the stores until January, but Marcus is already being compared to classic crime writers like Dennis Lehane and Elmore Leonard. Today Publishers Weekly upped the excitement around this book with a starred review, calling it "brilliant" and a "must read".

And over at Lit Park, Susan Henderson (who always comes up with the best questions) asks her readers to name their obsessions, and generates a lively discussion.

And a writer's first day in an MFA program requires meditating to a bell. Will it work to get the creative juices flowing? Is it something you and I need to know about?


Anonymous said...

I'll do it if you tell us what the first idea was. Just kidding!

I think this is a GREAT idea. I don't know if I can do this first one because of time constraints and such. Let me get back to you in a few days and see if it finds it way into my hands.

Patry Francis said...

Oh, Colleen, I hope you can fit it in. I can just see everyone down at the cafe in Floyd talking about Yellow Sun over a scrabble game.

rdl said...

No fair, you have a head start. And not another blog!! How bout you just post here on the 3rd day and we comment or link. Not sure you can count me in, one month? what do i do with all those other books on my nitestand?

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Oh Patry I want to join the Third Day Book Club Blog, or Book Blog Club or however you said it!! I'm in.

And I so related to your big idea thing though mine come in singles, individually wrapped. My novel has completed its first rounds unsucessfully among publishers (well, they said lovely things, but no offers). To stave off thinking about the massive revision I'm about to do, backed by my agent's firm enthusiasm, I started writing up a synopsis for a new idea. A BIG idea. She quickly brought me down to reality. This week, writing is just hard.


Crockhead said...

It's a great idea. I'll do it. Maybe that will bring my muse back from whereever she went.

Anonymous said...

great idea...i can't make a firm commitment b/c of my school schedule right now, but i'd love to see what everyone comes up with...

Shannon Hopkins said...

I was going to go back and say I loved the idea when you proposed it in the comments section a couple of days ago, but then things got hectic. I'm going to do it (try to do it)! With student papers pouring in in all directions, it might be a challenge, but I'll try!

Anonymous said...

Hi Patry,

I'd love to join in the discussion, mostly because you've sold me on the book.


Sustenance Scout said...

I'm in, Patry! K.

Laini Taylor said...

Patry, that's a great idea! I am going to make an effort to get that book and read it in time -- I hadn't heard of it until you posted about it and I am definitely intrigued.

Anonymous said...


As good as this book sounds, and as much fun as it would be to participate in the endeavor you propose, I shall not in fact be participating. Please allow me to explain.

One of my very favorite bloggers of all time is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the famous Yarn Harlot. I do not knit, but I am knitter spawn, and a crocheter and embroiderer, and so I often know exactly what she is talking about.

One thing she says frequently that I understand well is that a knitter must never let the "muggles" (non-knitters) see the real size of The Stash (each knitter's collection of fiber -- string, yarn, unspun roving -- which the knitter absolutely plans to do something with someday, even though I have never known any knitter's Stash, except through dreadful misadventure, ever to diminish in size, no matter how many projects s/he churns out each month). The muggles will not understand, Stephanie says. And she is right.

Readers have something different. I call them "The Stacks." Note that these are indeed plural in nature.

Patry, I can tell you this, because you're a reader and you will understand. There is no room in my house which does not contain books. They are on shelves, sometimes, but we have far, far more books than shelves. There are five bookshelves in my studio, yet if I turn my head just a little to the right, right now, I can see three stacks, one of them on the floor. Visible through the doorway behind me, hanging off a chair in my kitchen, there is a bag of books a friend lent me months and months ago (from which I most recently withdrew the excellent, and extremely timely, Mistress Masham's Repose by T. H. White, which my friend picked up somewhere for 25 cents). From there, to the left, the number of cookbooks in my pantry threatens to overtake the space devoted to the storage of food. And you know how I feel about food.


I have no illusions. It is entirely possible that I will die before I have read every book in The Stacks, especially as The Stacks keep growing, and multiplying. I do expect to read every book I bought last year, though. You know, someday. I wouldn't be so bold as to put down a definite date.

One thing is certain: and that is, if I join a book club, I will never even get to The Stacks. So many pretty, shiny things -- oh, the world is so full. But I have all these prior commitments to fulfill, and I already know there will be other butterflies to chase along the way -- the one you're going to publish soon yourself, for example. So here must I draw the line.

Thank you for the open invitation, though, and I hope you understand that it is only with deep regret and a most draining exertion of self-control that I decline.

robin andrea said...

I'm going to give it a try, if I can get the book out of the library. This may get me back into reading fiction. I hope. I really miss falling deeply into a good story.

Patry Francis said...

r: No, not another blog. That would be too complicated for me. I'll just post links right here.

jordan: You are the best! And good luck with the revisions as you prepare to go out with the second round. I know EXACTLY how you're feeling. Thank god for firmly enthusiastic agents!

amishlaw: I've been wondering where you've been! So happy you're going to participate. And while we're on the subject of books, thanks for recommending A Woman in White. It was truly marvelous.

ruby: One of the most difficult thing about being in school is that you have so little time for personal reading. Still, I hope you can...

tarakuanyin: Glad you're on board-- especially since you're the one who ignited this particular idea!

tish: Great! (And p.s. did you see the fabulous Website Etherweave designed for the book?)

karen: Yes!!!

laini: I think you would love this book (And ALexandra, too!)

sara: I think you've just described my house. The stacks. The bookshelves that will never be adequate no matter how many we build or buy. I completely understand your
need to keep your commitment to the books that you've already bought. And who knows; maybe next month we'll be reading one from your stacks?

robin andrea: I've only read 30 pages, but Yellow Sun is THAT kind of story.

Anonymous said...

Patry, I shall be paying close attention. However, if you begin to discuss in detail a book I can't quite get to just yet for whatever reason, I shall have to stick my fingers in my eyes and sing, "LA LA LA LA LA."

Or maybe I'll just avert my gaze. Yeah, that sounds better.

Bill Cameron said...

I'm gonna try, but oh lord the sack of books I brought back from B'Con...

Patry Francis said...

sara: the LA LA LA strategy has proved very effective in my life.

bill: I can only imagine how weighty that sack is. Still, I'm putting you down as a definite maybe.

susan: Choosing photos is one of my favorite parts of doing the blog. It also gives me the chance to showcase the work of some great photographers who have the kind of talent I will never possess.

Kay Cooke said...

This sounds like fun - I may need a reminder - will be looking out for the book with all my eyes and ears.

Patry Francis said...

chiefbiscuit: Reminders cheerfully provided! (And happy to see you back.)

gerry rosser said...

I'll do it if I can find the book at the store.

Patry Francis said...

Gerry: Great! The book should be available just about everywhere.

Anonymous said...

A great idea Patry. I'm in!

Patry Francis said...

Debra: This is going to be fun!

Anonymous said...

I may be a little late for this particular book.. but I love the idea. None the less, I will keep my eyes open for this book. I am in need of a good read right now.

Patry Francis said...

coll: If you want to join in and don't finish the book, not to worry. You can just blog about the part you've read...We'd love to have you.