I have a lovely friend Lori who keeps a blog. I subscribe to her blog via bloglovin, so her enchanting essays regularly land in my inbox. Her posts are richly textured and full of color, they’re sad and despairing and happy and reflective and sweet and charming and inspiring and courageous and heartfelt. I stop work to read them when they come in. I get a little buzz of expansive feeling-thought, rather like eating a sugary square of lush dark chocolate with hazelnuts when I know I shouldn’t.
Lori’s blogs keep me connected to her and her life and they bubble up emotions within me. People use Facebook for that, too, I guess, though I’m not a fan of that particular forum. I forget to go on Facebook for weeks at a time, and then when I do, I try to “like” everything and everyone on my timeline. That ought to tame the beast, right?
I read the blogs of strangers, too, when I come upon them after googling something. I’m looking for information and sometimes I get that. Other times it’s a voyeuristic peek into an unknown life, as if I were riding in a hot air balloon and was floating past, staring down at the scenery. Sometimes it’s both. During the writing of my novel COLD LIGHT, I needed details about a certain Canadian park, and I stumbled upon a family’s blog about their vacation to that park, complete with an extensive photo album. I will never meet that family, but I am grateful to them for recording their trip with such meticulous care. I like to get the details right when I’m building a world inside a story, and I need to get as exhaustively detailed a mental picture as possible to that end. Their chronicles helped me.
I suspect that a lot of authors keep blogs for the same reasons I do: one, to promote their books; two, to keep fresh content trickling into the vast, libidinous ocean of the Internet, where content is king; and three, to rant about life and thus exorcise demons. The urge to autobiography is hard to extinguish.
And check out this gorgeous oil painting: LIBERACI DAL MALE, by the outrageously talented Italian painter Roberto Ferri. Ferri’s work is insanely beautiful; he knows his way around a figure like no other painter alive right now. Sabin and I are both fans, and Sabin, who is perfectly fluent in Italian, has Skyped with Roberto. Roberto has graciously given permission for me to use LIBERACI DAL MALE as the cover for my novel BROKEN, the WW2 story on which I am currently working. The novel is wrestling me to the ground every day–if I see one more image of a Nazi atrocity, I will not be able to contain the tears–but this image helps. Other people’s work, in image and word, strengthens my own.