I don’t remember when exactly I started reading Pamela Dean. I think I picked up one of her books – ‘The Secret Country’, judging by how well-worn my copy is – from the fantasy aisle in an East Lansing bookstore when I was a teenager. (It was maybe Schuler’s, or B. Dalton in the Meridian Mall; I remember my youthful bookstores like old friends.) Anyway, however I came to her, from her first book I was hooked and had to backtrack to read everything of hers that I could get my paws on. She has a lyrical, whimsical, dense writing style that is crammed with literary references. Reading her books makes me feel smarter and dumber all at once – what a world of literature I have yet to be exposed to. Her characters are vivid and enigmatic, her plots thorny and difficult to untangle, and packed with symbolism and significance. They’re the type of plots that keep you guessing and thinking for days, weeks, and hold up particularly well to rereading as I always pick up something that I missed previously.
I particularly loved ‘Tam Lin’ (easily makes it into my top 5 all-time favorite books) and ‘Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary’ and I’ve been waiting for more additions to her Liavek stories. Yet the years have stretched with no more publications from Ms Dean and I’ve had to content myself with annual re-readings of my old favorites.
Recently, though, via Twitter (link to my profile in sidebar –>) I discovered that Ms Dean has run into a stretch of ill luck, both from the standpoint of her relationship with traditional publishing houses as well as her health. To that end, at the urging of fans and friends, she has launched a Patreon account. Patreon is crowdfunding for artists, musicians, writers, etc. If you’re a Creator, you can have Patrons pledge financial support for your work. I was so excited to be updated on what Ms Dean is doing professionally and honestly thrilled to pledge a small amount to support her goals, in the hopes of being able to enjoy more of her writing.
I always wanted to be a writer. I always wanted to be a shiftless creative type, yet thanks to vigilant parents who advised me towards useful education and gainful employment full-time, and creativity part-time, as well as a temperament that is not well suited to chaos and uncertainty, I am a full-time Widget Central employee who blogs sometimes and finds other outlets for my dream-weaving. This is probably better for me all around. And if I can’t actually be a writer, then I think it’s pretty cool that I can be a patron of the arts and be able to support a writer I love and enjoy in a somewhat more personal and meaningful way.