Sunday, October 25, 2009

In which I try (in second person)to describe what reading is to me (yet again).

You know that thing that happens when you feel like there is a engine behind your prose and it runs runs runs for days. The engine seems to run when you do anything. You pick up a book to read and you are driven all the way to the end(or sometimes you only want to read beginnings but you read the beginning of all 20 books you have home from the library). Your eyes eat up the words and they seem to inform something necessary and deeply connected to your prose. It's thrilling. And then one day the engine dies, I mean, it is just completely gone but the only reason you know is because you picked up a book. You held it there in front of your face and you realize you are totally stalled. The words are bumpy. They are in the way instead of pulling you forward. It seems so cruel that that you have to find out like this. You were excited to pick up the book. The writing had gotten hard today and a book sounded like such a treat, a break from the difficulty, a panacea or an opiate(which is better?). It was such a let down to find the words like that. Like a breech in contract. As if they had been cheating on you. And you have to realize once again how integral the reading is to the writing and vice-versa. And that there is no way over under or around this mood, you must go through it.

On a more up-beat note, I wish I had written this book(via Upstart Crow Literary). I have a thing for bears, especially ones that show their true violent and cuddly nature.

As Always(like beating a dead horse),

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I like this.

Probably everybody has seen this by now, but I saw this for the first time today. What am I doing? I know, I know, I totally am goofing off. But this guy would clearly appreciate pioneer punk.

Louis CK He has more good videos. Look him up on YouTube.

As Always(going back to work),

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

thank you, credit, sand art

Okay, time to thank followers because I have a new one--big thanks to Ray Veen for clicking that little button. Over at his blog you can become envious of his productivity and beautiful family. Looking forward to his work in progress update.

The reason I started doing this thank you thing here is because I admired Paul Michael Murphy's way with his reader, he is a blogger to be emulated, nothing but fun over there. Although that is not to say there is not also substance. Most recently writers and sensitivity, look now I'm quoting Nathan Bransford's blog titles too. And also attempting to give credit where credit is due.

Finally, this was on and you don't have to watch the whole thing, but you could watch some. Jason Kottke said to watch until at least 1:06. I think it is amazing.

When I'm always going on about gesture drawings and their place in revision, this is what I want. Can you appreciate how impermanent that is? If only I treated my words more like sand. I love how her story is told and changed through these great strokes of sand. Or small little smudges. I need to get myself a back light sand table, clearly.

As Always(thinking of you, xo),

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Annie Dillard and Where The Wild Things Are (in that order)

When I wrote non-fiction, I wanted to be like Annie Dillard. I liked how hard she came down on me as I read. She wrote words with teeth. I felt like I learned a lot from reading her, taking the words apart to see how they worked. I learned to want the surprise and the sharpness, but it is clear I would have learned more from studying with her. Alexander Chee has an essay full of Annie Dillard's teacherly wisdom up at The Morning News(via Editorial Ass). Dillard's verb exercise(she got it from Samuel Johnson) is a bit of brilliance. I like that quote near the end about hard work beating talent alone. Also what she said about not having to be original all the time was pretty reassuring. And I also like the idea of accidents leading the way. I love taking, teaching and thinking about creative writing classes. I went to Chee's blog to to nose around. I found an article by Junot Diaz about the writing of his book(I heard an interview with J.D. on Meet the Writers once that I loved) and the words of Cory Doctorow about the author and Chee's own techniques of applying tarot cards to characters. I could learn much from Alexander Chee too and I never heard about him until today.

I went to see Where the Wild Things Are this weekend. I was struck Max's fear and his sweetness, the things that he doesn’t know but manages to learn, tiny little things that are soo small and almost uneventful and yet so essential. That families are hard and anger is hard and we flit so close to danger all the time, on the verge of something huge. It is a tiny miracle everyday that here we are doing what we do in the intact state that we are in. There is one moment in the film, almost unnoticeable when Max is with the wild things. He has just become king. He and the wild things run through the forest to the edge of a cliff and the view is beautiful and everybody is so happy and excited and they know it will be perfect now that Max is king, everything will be okay. Max stands with Carol at the edge and then from behind comes another wild thing, just as excited and happy. He knocks Max. Max stumbles and just catches himself before falling from the edge. He glances up in fear at this wild thing. The face of Max full of consternation. And there is that moment of disequilibrium, of everything not being okay. But it passes, Max lets it go, everyone is still happy. I personally thought it was a super successful expansion of the book, Eggars and Jonze have my approval, for whatever that is worth. My kids didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did.

As always (feeling a little like Max today),

Friday, October 16, 2009

Home from School.

My kids are upstairs having a fight, slamming doors and screaming things like, don't ever do that to me again and I didn't mean to. Followed by earsplitting screeches and more doors slamming. Those were the days. My sister, Becka, and I would have some doozies, pulling out fingernail weapons, making crescent imprints in the others' arm. Then the clawed would retaliate by peeling broken skin away and placing it on clothes, bare skin, hair, bed anywhere that seemed to garner the greatest disgust. I feel my blood pressure rising with the noise from up there, its a similar feeling to those childhood fights. I want to introduce the movie, War Games, and its lesson, good things can be learned from the futility of tic-tac-toe. But I suppose if I follow that logic, there are a lot of good things to be learned from a good sibling fight. If there is anything I learned from the rage full, spit raising, blood curdling angst of fights with my sis was the futility of the pay back.

How does this relate to writing?
As always(there is a fair amount of futility in writing and that juicy violence and strong feeling is good fodder),

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's business time!

So I went on vacation without letting you know. I guess I am that sort of girl sometimes. I don't write. I don't call. Avoidant, some people may say. Writerly is what I like to call it. Well, here I am. But not promising anything. I really like you a lot, I just can't commit right now...

Here's the update on the book.
Done through Chapter 16. That is the end. The very end. Wrapped up and satisfactory. It has been commented on by the illustrious Andy. (I would link to his site but there is all sorts of nudity over there.) And I have a plan. Now on to the new beginning and back all they way through again. Argh! (Just kidding--I am actually so looking forward to this I can't wait to start.)

Do you want to see the pictures of my cabbage on my sister's blog-- go here. Scroll down and you'll see it. Isn't it pretty? I know they are too crammed together. I do that. When they are little seedlings I can't imagine that they will grow up and take space. So I pack them in. You should see my tomatoes. It's just another metaphor for the rest of my life. See this is why I can't commit. (If you saw the pictures that follow, the aftermath of the bath, that was at my house too, another good metaphor for my life.)

And, welcomes!!! Welcome to follower 10, Christy Raedeke of Juveneacence. You can see her new book cover over there. Doesn't it look spectacular?
And follower 11, Ron Smith. I have to read The Magicians because of him.

I'll be back (just not saying when).

As always(if only my husband read the blog, he'd be all over the Flight of the Conchords reference),