I Think I Have One Christmas Present Picked Out

I think I’m going to get my brother the “Let’s everybody writer Hank Williams songs” album. I’ve only heard a couple of songs off it, myself, but I think it’s an interesting idea and I think he’d get a kick out of it. To go back to my desire to have everyone cover everything so that it remains lively and vital, I think there’s something to be said for going into the drawers of old, good, songwriters and bringing out what might not have quite worked with their audience, but might work with ours.

I guess my philosophy is that if you love a song, you should sing it.

I don’t know that I quite apply that to my writing–that if I like a story, I should write it. I mean, I think I tend to be more about liking the characters. I like witches and weirdos and gods and ghosts, so that’s what I populate my stories with.

But I guess “Bone” was a retelling of a story.

It’s funny. I didn’t quite like The Sisters Brothers but this story I’m working on now, about the witch that ground up Big Harpe’s head, something about the narrative voice of that is borrowed from The Sisters Brothers, though I don’t know that I could point out exactly how. I named the witch Sarah Clark, which is amazingly and not so coincidentally close to saraclark who comments here on rare occasion and who I know in real life by her real name. I wanted a name that seemed plausible and there’s a something Clark road near where they stuck Harpe’s head and then, when I thought of his ghosts bellowing out “Something Clark, Something Clark,” I just knew he’d have to bellow “Sarah Clark, Sarah Clark.” One thing I really, really love about those words is how you get to hear a variety of short a sounds in a very close space–the way I say it, it sounds like “Sair-aaah Clahrk.” Like the “ah” in Sarah and the “ar” should almost be the same, but I drop my jaw more when I say “Clark,” almost like I’m making an “a” sound while making my mouth shaped for an “oh” sound. One letter, three different sounds. Plus, that “k” sound is so nice. If “ssaaaaarrrrrrrrraaaaahhhhhh” is the killer calling for you, “k”lar”k” is his footsteps on hardwood.

Not that I give that much thought to my characters’ names normally, but when one strikes me as being exactly right, I like to mull over what it is about it that works for me.

No ideas what to get any of the rest of the family yet, though.