On My Love of Books, Writing and Happy Birthday, Victor Hugo!

Just last week, the swell folks at Copyediting.com (special HT to Dawn McIlvain Stahl) interviewed me and asked about my start in writing and editing. Here's what I had to say:

I think it started with my love of books. I love stories and characters. I’d often sit in public places and create fictional dispositions, intentions and backstories for the people who walked by. I also love the solitary, independent nature of reading, which can also be said of writing. All of this is to say that I love words and I love finding solitary moments. But my first real, professional foray into the writing field came in the form of a ghostwriting gig. She was a local YA author who paid me very little and treated me very poorly. It was awesome.

Books are incredibly important to me. This is clear. But I've often been asked, "which book is my all-time favorite?" I never really know what to say. In fact, I am typically distressed by it, because any singular answer would ensure my disloyal abandonment of a friend (ahem, book). To that, I say, how dare you make me choose!

A reasonable comparison is to consider the air we breathe. Air is made up of various elements, all of which are important for us to keep on kicking (or, you know, reading). I wouldn't feel comfortable with choosing Nitrogen over Argon, for example. I simply can't weather the emotional burden and guilt of an element that has been scorned.

Nor can I deal with the pressure of having to choose my number one book. But I can muster the energy to name a handful of favorites. One of which is Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Yes, I love the play as well. Yes, I loved the recent film. Yes, I cry every time I hear any version of any song, except for maybe "Master of the House."

And those words. Those characters! So beautifully crafted. So beautifully tragic. I love them. They inspire me to write and to use words in new, abundantly challenging ways.

Idleness is the heaviest of all oppressions

Darn right, Mr. Hugo. Happy birthday to you, sir.

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"Smile," said the cameraman. "Miserables," said Hugo | Victor Hugo, 1876

"Smile," said the cameraman. "Miserables," said Hugo | Victor Hugo, 1876