Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Last Saturday, I went to a wonderful bbq with about a dozen writers and talk turned to books (I know, real shocker). Our post-grad "to read" pile is growing. Now I have even more to add. The Pulitzers were announced yesterday. Here's the list and the winner for fiction is Olive Kittridge, a collection of short stories. Plague of Doves was the runner-up.
Shoot, I just got around to last year's winner!
Have to admit, I've not been a big fan of short stories, but that is slowly changing. I still prefer the experience of getting lost in a novel. As I wrote in a recent annotation on Johnston's Corpus Christi, I find short stories demanding, requiring concentration. They are not a relaxing art form. I have found that once I started reading books to see what authors were doing, the process moved - logically - from unconscious influence to purposeful learning. I no longer had to worry about my writing sounding like someone else's because I could look at the nuts and bolts of what they were up to and choose to use elements or not.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I just returned from a much needed break (little did I know how much I'd need it!). Onward and upward. I do have an idea for a scene in the book I'm working on now, so that's where my focus must stay.
But oh it does sting.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Upcoming news: I'm starting another blog in partnership with a talented writer so stay tuned for details when we get that up and running. Should be fun if you love books as well as the nuts and bolts of narrative.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Received an email awhile ago that I was in the semi-finals of another contest, Summer Literary Seminars. First prize was a paid trip to one of their 2 week events in either Lithuania, Italy, or Kenya. Unfortunately, they dropped Italy. Anyway, even though I didn't win, as one of the top 20%, they just offered me a fellowship to attend Lithuania. Thinking about it. (feel free to hit the tip jar!)
That's it for now. Finishing an annotation then taking a break to go to Santa Barbara this afternoon. Enjoy your day.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I like it that there are whole blogs about bacon
Thanks to my mentor and friend, Gayle Brandeis, for mentioning my Amazon entry on her blog. She's so sweet and generous, plus she asks the best questions that lead me to improve my writing.
If you want to live vicariously in France, check out ceci n'est pas une blog
Also, Rhonda Mitchell,one of my fellow mentees at Antioch is getting much deserved recognition for writing about her experience in this recession. Check out Recession Daily
Need some musical inspiration? A friend of mine, see_thru, DJs at Blip.fm - check it out.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Brings up the question of when to say 'yes' to readings. Not all venues are suitable. You have to think about your target audience - who are your readers? Sometimes you have to turn things down.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Here's a letter that was published in Salon about the poor use of language around suicide:
Suicide and 'choice'
Discussing causality in suicide is a tricky business, both both in psychological and existential terms. Suggesting that David Foster Wallace "chose" to kill himself presumes that his choice-making faculties were intact, that he was David Foster Wallace as those who knew him had always known him. I didn't know DFW and am only glancingly familiar with his work, but for those of us who study suicide and treat people who are tormented (and sometimes, killed) by suicidal despair, it's clear that the emotional agony sufficient to lead to the suicidal impulse is also extreme enough to have, in the same process, undone that person's ordinary problem-solving and choice-making processes. The person who engages in the suicidal act is not the person we have known in other contexts. They person who dies by suicide is, in over 90% of cases studied by retrospective 'psychological autopsy', someone suffering from a particularly virulent form of mood disorder or other suicidality-engendering mental illness. It is not "Bob (or David, or Jane) choosing to kill himself", but rather, "Bob, unraveled by the agony of illness, blindly seeking relief from pain". The act, perceived from outside that agony, seems without reason, or even, as some of the other letters have suggested, intentionally malignant; from inside the seemingly endless and intolerable subjective pain and hopelessness of the suicidal individual, it is, in the moment of unendurable suffering, the only exit visible. Those left behind to mourn in the wake of a suicide often struggle greatly to come to terms with what seems to be a heartless or sadistic 'choice'. Their suffering, which can go on and on, is made just a bit lighter if our discourse can acknowledge that what looks like a 'choice' was, in fact, a person killed being by their illness. ---
Friday, February 27, 2009
Finished Carl Hiaasen's LUCKY YOU. I played the lotto numbers that open the book today for laughs. Now that would be a great story if they hit. Next up is THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery and LEFT TO TELL by Imaculee Ilibagiza about the Rwandan Holocaust.
Time to get back on track with the novel and 3 pages a day.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The chimp story did remind me of elements for the novel I'm working on now. Keeping exotic pets is very dangerous and we have developed a naive hubris about them. They are not just like us. There's some exotic pet-keeping in my book and I need to address the danger. The book's tone is darkly comic. If you're writing something lighter, then you have to pull back in some way from the danger or explicit violence - either not showing it or showing it in an absurd way. However, that doesn't mean that the danger is not present.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Haven't had the time to finish Carl Hiassen's novel, LUCKY YOU, but he's teaching me to push the envelope. He makes unlikely situations believable.
Rec'd chapters back from my mentor with comments. Never fails to amaze me that I can overuse a word in two paragraphs and not see it. For me, editing fiction is much like learning to listen to different instruments in a piece of music. I have to go over it and look at different elements each time.
Friday, February 13, 2009
It's been difficult to write lately. Even my walks have been less productive than usual. After Chado, it may be time to stop in at the Norton Simon. Paintings inspire my writing more than anything else.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I don't know whether to be optimistic or not. I have learned that what I feel at any given moment about my work has little to do with how it's received. Emotions give us information, but shouldn't be an exclusive guide. Anyway, quarterfinals will be announced in March. In the meantime, I'm working on my fourth novel, WRESTLING ALLIGATORS. About halfway through. Back to it.