We're happy to be back in. A year ago, a lot of people probably didn't know if we could be here. Look at what these players have done. We went from 19 wins to 33, and I think we regained a lot of respect that we lost last year, too. These 18 guys that are here right now have done a hell of a job.
We all think we understand each other,' Kin heard Silver say. 'We eat together, we trade, many of us pride ourselves on having alien friends - but all this is only possible, only possible, Kin, because we do not fully comprehend the other. You've studied Earth history. Do you think you could understand the workings of of the mind of a Japanese warrior a thousand years ago? But he is as a twin to you compared with Marco, or with myself. When we use the word "cosmopolitan" we use it too lightly - it's flippant, it means we're galactic tourists who communicate in superficialities. We don't comprehend. Different worlds, Kin. Different anvils of gravity and radiation and evolution.
I read a lot. I always have, but in those two years I gorged myself on books with a voluptuous, almost erotic gluttony. I would go to the local library and take out as many as I could, and then lock myself in the bedsit and read solidly for a week. I went for old books, the older the better--Tolstoy, Poe, Jacobean tragedies, a dusty translation of Laclos--so that when I finally resurfaced, blinking and dazzled, it took me days to stop thinking in their cool, polished, crystalline rhythms.
We're not going to fail, ... But we're not going to simply succeed because we're 16. Sixteen presents a number of problems, and we're going to be aggressive in dealing with them. But this whole notion that we're too big is nonsense, because three years ago we were 14 and I didn't hear anyone saying we were too big.
I love so many books and authors that it's hard to name just a few, but I'm always particularly excited when new books by Alice Hoffman, John Crowley, Joanne Harris, Elizabeth Knox, and Patricia McKillip come out. (And, of course, books by Ellen [Kushner], and Holly [Black], and the rest of the Bordertown crew!) I'm impatiently looking forward to Susanna Clarke's next book too.Aside from writing and reading, my favorite things to do are paint, walk in the countryside with my dog, and listen to music -- especially when it's live and it's played by friends. Fortunately there's a lot of live music where I live.
There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book.The reason for that is that in adult literary fiction, stories are there on sufferance. Other things are felt to be more important: technique, style, literary knowingness. Adult writers who deal in straightforward stories find themselves sidelined into a genre such as crime or science fiction, where no one expects literary craftsmanship.But stories are vital. Stories never fail us because, as Isaac Bashevis Singer says, "events never grow stale." There's more wisdom in a story than in volumes of philosophy. And by a story I mean not only Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk but also the great novels of the nineteenth century, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Bleak House and many others: novels where the story is at the center of the writer's attention, where the plot actually matters. The present-day would-be George Eliots take up their stories as if with a pair of tongs. They're embarrassed by them. If they could write novels without stories in them, they would. Sometimes they do.But what characterizes the best of children's authors is that they're not embarrassed to tell stories. They know how important stories are, and they know, too, that if you start telling a story you've got to carry on till you get to the end. And you can't provide two ends, either, and invite the reader to choose between them. Or as in a highly praised recent adult novel I'm about to stop reading, three different beginnings. In a book for children you can't put the plot on hold while you cut artistic capers for the amusement of your sophisticated readers, because, thank God, your readers are not sophisticated. They've got more important things in mind than your dazzling skill with wordplay. They want to know what happens next.
An editor doesn't just read, he reads well, and reading well is a creative, powerful act. The ancients knew this and it frightened them. Mesopotamian society, for instance, did not want great reading from its scribes, only great writing. Scribes had to submit to a curious ruse: they had to downplay their reading skills lest they antagonize their employer. The Attic poet Menander wrote: "those who can read see twice as well." Ancient autocrats did not want their subjects to see that well. Order relied on obedience, not knowledge and reflection. So even though he was paid to read as much as write messages, the scribe's title cautiously referred to writing alone (scribere = "to write"); and the symbol for Nisaba, the Mesopotamian goddess of scribes, was not a tablet but a stylus. In his excellent book A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel writes, "It was safer for a scribe to be seen not as one who interpreted information, but who merely recorded it for the public good."In their fear of readers, ancients understood something we have forgotten about the magnitude of readership. Reading breeds the power of an independent mind. When we read well, we are thinking hard for ourselves—this is the essence of freedom. It is also the essence of editing. Editors are scribes liberated to not simply record and disseminate information, but think hard about it, interpret, and ultimately, influence it.
I think we're going to be all right. It's hard to tell. We have five returning starters on offense and nine on defense. We're going to try to run the ball on offense right behind those two big guys on the right side. The kids have done a great job learning the new offense. We're putting more emphasis on offense this year. We need to score more points.