Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dispirited


I’ve been feeling more than a little bit dispirited lately. And most of it boils down to a yearning for words. I’m lacking words with sufficient power and strength to combat inane corporate decisions that cause my husband sleepless nights. And how do I find the words to console my friend whose daughter just delivered a stillborn baby? What words express the feelings of isolation, disregard, and invisibility that creep up in new situations...or worse, familiar ones? And, on a happier note, where are the words to describe the radiance and purity of our teenage daughter, dressed in layers of silky cream for her Junior Prom? This applies to my fiction as well as my life. When it comes down to the crucial moments, what I most often lack is the essential words
I have a very close friend who has a rare gift for words, wields their power with both discretion and ferocity, and is pitch-perfect in her ability to select just the right descriptors, evoking stunning imagery. Her name is Luisa Perkins.
A few years ago I received her cookbook, Comfortably Yum, as a thank-you prize for coming up with the winning title. When the book arrived (as I described in this post, and again in this post) I sat down and read it from cover to cover. This was a cookbook, mind you. Not fiction. Yet I could. not. put. it. down. I devoured it. And that was before I’d even tried a single recipe. :) Now it's so well-loved and food-worn I'll soon have to replace it.
Not long afterward—almost exactly two years ago—Luisa sent me the first three chapters of a manuscript she was working on. I gobbled her words down insatiably, then printed them out and carried them around for weeks, hoping my hardcopy would spontaneously generate the rest of the story. (It didn’t.) 
This book has perhaps the most unique and original premise I have ever encountered. Here is the breathtaking idea which first captured my interest: 
A young boy figures out how to take “out-of-body experience” to a whole new level, and drifts away from his home and his body to go in search of his departed mother. 
Once I finally got my hands on a copy of the entire novel, I was completely blown away. It was so riveting, I couldn’t inhale it fast enough. And yet there are so many rich layers, I wanted to savor it s l o w l y, pondering the mysteries of the universe as they unfolded before my eyes.
The book asks a universal, yet never-addressed-like-this question: What could happen if I chose to leave my body unattended? Even for a brief moment? And it offers in exchange for your time the most harrowing of answers...and a spellbinding journey of thought-provoking insights and first-rate entertainment.
It’s all at once a cautionary tale, a mysterious romp through time and place, a ghost story, a romance, a spiritual thriller, a paean to family history, a dark look into the way evil operates, and bar none the most terrifying book I have ever read. I didn’t think I was a fan of the horror genre, but this is mind-bending, electrifying, and life-altering. Dare I say uplifting? Definitely a must-read.

I've since heard her read the first chapter aloud, and the effect was spellbinding. She literally left the audience craving more. (Just like I imagine the effects of her cooking!)
Luisa writes “dark, speculative fiction,” (which is Luisaspeak for scary, mind-bending and life-changing otherworldly novels). This book is technically slated as a YA novel. But it’s every bit as much for grown-ups as teens.
On my Goodreads review I urged young children and the "faint of heart" to proceed with caution. Here’s why: One chapter takes you inside the mind of a truly evil character. This is, to say the least, disturbing. But Luisa’s words take you there with great restraint. She spares you what could be gory, graphic, or sensationalized, but shows you the intent. The result is creepy with a capital C. But it doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to take a shower. 


Oh, and the title? Dispirited. I’m very proud of that word. It’s one of many title ideas I gave her. One of my attempts to capture the essence of her 88,000 words. In a single word. Dispirited.

Now, I have great news! News that is already lifting my spirits. Although Luisa resides in New York, she will be in Utah the first week of May and will be signing copies of Dispirited at The King’s English bookstore at 7pm on May 4. I will be there. I will be purchasing her book and begging her to autograph it for me. I’ll also be buying some as gifts and asking her to sign those as well. And I’ll be looking for YOU! I hope to see you there. If you leave me a comment here saying you’ll be at the booksigning, I’ll personally purchase a copy of Dispirited there for one lucky reader. Just leave me your name to be entered in the drawing. Must be present to win.
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And now, the results of our last drawing: 

Pretty Darn Funny pins go to Becca, Dedee and Luisa

And the winner of the original painting from Tell Me Who I Am is...a brand-new reader, Donna! I'll be sending you a signed original watercolor, Painting #3, as soon as you claim your prize and send me your mailing address. Congratulations! (And thank you, everyone, for you kind raves about the artwork! I assure you the words are just as good! DeNae has an unbeatable Mother's Day promotion package going on right now for Tell Me Who I Am. She's another friend with an inimitable way with words...witty and hilarious. Do stop by!)


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And finally, many thanks to Heather of the EO for hosting another Just Write and for the writing prompt: Words. Love!

6 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

You described perfectly that feeling of being at a loss for words. Words...how tricky they are.

Dispirited is an incredible book and Luisa is a phenomenal writer. I'll be so happy to see her in May!

Luisa Perkins said...

Well, now I have no words adequate to describe my gratitude. Thank you, my angel friend. Thank you.

(And, yay! I won a pin!)

Jennifer Grow said...

OOh! A new book, a new writer to get to know, and a new blog to come back to. Thanks for linking up!

Kazzy said...

I am anxious to read the book. Can I already get it somewhere. or is it coming out next weekend?

Stephanie Black said...

What a wonderful review! I'm looking forward to reading Dispirited.

Annette Lyon said...

Kazzy, It's already out. You can get it on Amazon, and I think it's on sale right now. I already have my copy!

Still going to The King's English for the big night, though!