Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Tag: reading

For developing writers and interested readers: Demystifying the Path to Publication

For you writers who may be struggling to get a book-length work published, I invite you to join me as I share my thoughts on “Demystifying the Path to Publication”: https://www.discoveredwordsmiths.com/2021/05/06/episode-47b-lily-mackenzie-demystifying-the-publication/.

Writers and Readers may enjoy listening to Discovered Wordsmiths’ interview with me that explores my origins as a writer: https://www.discoveredwordsmiths.com/2021/05/06/episode-47a-lily-mackenzie-freefall/.

Evolution of a reader, from fairytales to Ellison’s Invisible Man

As a pre-TV child (television arrived in Calgary in the early 50s, about ten years after it appeared in the U.S.), radio dramas fed my imagination:  Boston Blackie; Suspense Theatre; and The Green Hornet come immediately to mind.  Though they provided the plot and dialogue, I was able to supply the images myself, far more dramatic than what any TV director could create.  In my young mind, Boston Blackie was the white knight in spite of a name that implied otherwise.  Evenings spent shivering in front of a radio, shivering from glorious fear and not cold.  The room crackling with drama—suspense.  And I was an important participant:  the program needed my imagination to give it life.

To read or not to read: Is that the question?

In one of her New York Times Book Review columns, Anna Holmes has stated that readers should skip parts of a narrative, “particularly if an author is writing without clarity of purpose or showing off.” In general, I agree with this approach, especially if a writer is wasting my time as a reader by not fulfilling his/her responsibilities in crafting the novel. However, as I’ve told myself many times when I’ve become bogged down in a passage and wanted to escape, I may be missing something important that will illuminate the whole work. The problem may be more with me than with the writing. In certain cases, this has proven true, and I was grateful I had stayed involved.

Viva libraries and the writers that stock their shelves with books!

I may be a little late to celebrate National Library Week, but I have been thinking about my own evolution as a reader. At some point in my early years, my parents purchased a set of the Books of Knowledge. My grandfather, a Scots’ school-master, must have urged my mother and stepfather to buy the encyclopedia since neither of them were determined to develop my intellect. Mother had only finished high school; my stepfather had dropped out of school after the eighth grade. They didn’t have money for extras and never touched the books themselves that I recall, so there was no reason for them to buy the set.

A Reader’ Evolution: How Annie Oakley & Wonder Woman taught me to read!

girl-flying-on-book-2970038_1920As a pre-TV child (television arrived in Calgary in the early 50s, about ten years after it appeared in the U.S.), radio dramas fed my imagination: Boston Blackie; Suspense Theatre; and The Green Hornet come immediately to mind. Though they provided the plot and dialogue, I was able to supply the images myself, far more dramatic than what any TV director could create. In my young mind, Boston Blackie was the white knight in spite of a name that implied otherwise. Evenings spent shivering in front of a radio, shivering from glorious fear and not cold. The room crackling with drama—suspense. And I was an important participant: the program needed my imagination to give it life.

Promoting Literacy in Dangerous Times

Writing is such a major part of my life that I rarely ask myself why I do it. I write because it’s as necessary to me as eating or sleeping. But I also write for other reasons. The very act of writing forces me to examine what I’m thinking about people and events, and it causes me to read with greater attention to language’s many nuances, from the way metaphor expands our vision and creates relationships between unlike things to the connotations certain words and phrases have. In other words, it causes me to more closely pay attention to the written word.

letters-67046_1920With a new president who can’t seem to create a coherent sentence or thought, promoting literacy seems more important than ever. The ability to read and write is essential to a healthy democratic society. If we can’t research the various problems we face today, looking at them from multiple angles with the help of dedicated investigative journalists, then we are living in a vacuum, a non-life. We also are easily fooled by slogans and superficial thinking—fake news.

When I taught freshmen composition, during the first class, I said that Rhetoric would be the most important class they took that semester. Most didn’t believe me. I always asked how many would have signed up for the class if it weren’t a requirement. Sometimes one or two held up their hand. Sometimes no one did. But by the end of the semester, nearly all agreed that their critical thinking skills had deepened. They also were more adept at reading for nuance—for subtext. For discerning what was being conveyed between the lines. Equally important was their perception that they could express themselves more clearly, thereby actually communicating. We can’t convey our thoughts and feelings if we’re unable to write coherent sentences!

Every day I’m grateful for those writers who devote their lives to this craft. Reading allows me to enter others’ reality and simultaneously enlarge my own. I recently wrote a blog post about Per Pettersen’s novel I Refuse. While reading the book, I felt what it was like to be a working class Norwegian man. I inhabited his psyche and experienced the bareness of his words. He didn’t say much, but what he did say resonated, having an impact on others and on me.

I feel privileged to be part of this endeavor to create other worlds from my experiences and my imagination, and I appreciate those who join me on this journey. Reading, deeply and widely—not just twitter posts or Facebook messages—expands our knowledge of the universe and of ourselves.

 

 

 

 

How Readers Give Birth to Novels

These past weeks have reminded me of when I was eight months pregnant and bursting at the seams. I anticipated the child I was carrying whose gender I didn’t know yet. I also didn’t know the impact he (yes, a son) would have on my life. But friends and family were overloading me with anecdotes from their own lives, either from giving birth themselves and the various dimensions of that process, or with recommendations on planning for the child’s wellbeing and future. So young, I didn’t have a clue about what goes into raising a child to adulthood.

What has taken me back so many years to that amazing time? My novel Curva Peligrosa will be released this summer, and I’ve been working intensely with the publisher on revisions, back-cover copy, and front-cover images. As with any collaboration, there are highs and lows. I’m the one who has spent years (at least ten) giving life to this work, from its initial inception triggered by a news story I had read to the final chapter. I know the characters as well as anyone can since they are products of my imagination. I’ve given birth to them!

mexican womanYet the novel’s future once it is released remains beyond my knowledge. I can send out advance review copies to major publications. I can schedule radio and TV interviews. I can book readings at bookstores, libraries, and other venues. I can offer the novel to book clubs and arrange to visit them in person or via Skype. I can do Goodreads and Amazon giveaways and participate in numerous blog tours. But once the book launches, I have no control over how it’s received.

I can only hope that Curva, the novel’s main character, finds her way into readers’ hearts, and they will help her progress on whatever path lies ahead. Writers carry part of the burden, but readers are just as important in helping a work to flourish.

 

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