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March 2015 archive
JOAN MANSSON AND HER PUP TOOK A WALK THIS QUIET MORNING. I want to share this with someone, she writes. The morning is oddly silent. We walked at 6:30. The clouds were like smoke, huge, but not even as fully formed as the steam vapor over the Hatch Nuclear Plant. No stars were visible. And no moon. But more than that it was silent. The birds hadn’t wakened yet, and the frogs were asleep. I felt as if I were stepping into another reality. Even Renard was quiet. He didn’t even protest when I picked him up and carried him in to avoid [neighbor dog] Jake, who noticed us, but didn’t seem interested. Now, it’s a quarter of 7:00 and still so quiet. Eerie and pleasant. I need to fix my puppy’s breakfast and make some of my own.
Go ahead. Walk out your front door. Then report back. In writing.
JILL SAID, “I FINISHED IT, BUT I’M still not sure what it’s about. I mean, I know what happens. But I have this niggling feeling there’s a dimension that’s eluding me.”
I said, “Isn’t it just about memory? About the costs and convenience of forgetting?”
“Maybe,” said Jill. “But maybe not.”
Reading THE BURIED GIANT, the latest novel by Kazua Ishiguro (author of NEVER LET ME GO and Booker Prize-winning THE REMAINS OF THE DAY), I felt I was underwater, watching shadows waver back and forth on the surface above me. Bits of the story expand, dreamlike, as the light of remembering plays across the long lives of its main characters, aging husband and wife Axl and Beatrice—illuminating a corner of the legendary Matter of Britain, in the process.
Enter the dream yourself, or listen to Ishiguro discuss THE BURIED GIANT on this Guardian Books podcast.
HAVING EXHAUSTED ALL CONVENTIONAL ROUTES to achieve her goal, your character has decided to cook up a spell—literally! in her kitchen!—to weigh the odds in her favor. Prompt: Write a story (poem? personal essay?) in which you answer the following:
- What (or whom?) is she trying to summon?
- What ingredients does she stir into her cauldron (pot? skillet?)?
- What incantation does she murmur (shout? sing?) over her stove?
- Where does she pour (sprinkle? wipe? hide?) her potion?
- Does she get what she hopes for?
- If so, what is the result?
- If not, what does she get instead?
IT’S TIME FOR ANOTHER WRITE-IN AT WRITER’S ATELIER! Join other Central Florida writers at the Atelier’s Monthly Write-In this Saturday, March 28th, from 12-2 pm. There’s no charge, but do RSVP Racquel at email@example.com. Then drive your writer self to 336 Grove Ave., Suite B, Winter Park, FL 32789, ring the bell, pour yourself a cup of joe, put your butt in one of the Atelier’s comfy chairs, and hit the keys for thirty minutes. After a mini-break, you’ll go again. Because that’s how we get writing done.
WHEN I LIVED IN SEATTLE IN THE EARLY ’90s, I found Marsha Sinetar’s DEVELOPING A 21ST CENTURY MIND oh-so-helpful. A little lost, I hadn’t given up my dream of making music, but was also interested in creative writing. But I didn’t know how to make the leap.
Some of my clients find themselves in a similar position: Quite accomplished in their working life, they have an unanswered passion for writing. And they’re left with a chasm to leap. A wide chasm. There are people who pace along the edge of that chasm for years, trying to figure out how to clear it in a single bound, how to go from having no committed writing practice to having a novel on THE NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list.
And that’s just not going to happen. Not because the publishing industry is filled with a bunch of meanies, but because we make our way—we live our way—to our bigger goals through the accomplishment of smaller goals.
In 21ST CENTURY MIND, Sinetar outlines a process for getting from where we are to where we want to be. First, we explore what we want—let’s say, “mental flexibility.” Then, we create a small-scale model for that goal. For instance, if we connect mental flexibility with physical flexibility, we might take a yoga class. Having increased physical flexibility via yoga, we might choose a ropes course next, which requires both physical and mental flexibility.
Likewise, if we want to serve as mayor of our town, we might first make a bid for a seat on our home-owners’ association board. Or we could sign up to play Facebook’s Social City, an online game that allows us to create and run our own city!
If we want to publish a book, but haven’t been writing consistently, we start small. We blog! Tweet! (There are writers creating their novels 140-characters at a time!) We submit letters to the editor! We join a writing group and publish an anthology of members’ work as a first foray into making our work available in book form.
Our models—small, interim goals—help us foster a sense of success and increased capability. No need to invest in a jet-pack to power us across that gap. We take it step-by-step. The possibilities, the models that will get us there, like our 21st century minds, are limitless.
DARLYN FINCH KUHN’S LOVELY DEBUT NOVEL, SEWING HOLES, makes its first official public appearance on Saturday, March 28th, at 7 p.m., when Twisted Road Publications is throwing a bash to celebrate the book and its author.
Darlyn Finch Kuhn has written a modern Southern Gothic novel … that keeps the reader captivated from beginning to end…. —Jeff Kunerth, author of TROUT: A True Story of Murder, Teens, and the Death Penalty
And guess what? We’re invited! So get out your prettiest party dress—or polish up your party shoes—and come meet Darlyn (and a gazillion of her well-wishers!) at the Jack Kerouac House, 1408 Clouser St., College Park, Florida, 32804.
As Darlyn would say, “Don’t make me come get you”!
WHEN I STUMBLED UPON WRITER/HEALER/READER KELLY-ANN MADDOX, I was mesmerized! astonished! inspired! by the power! energy! brilliance! of her The Four Queens YouTube channel and The Four Queens blog. A qualified spiritual counselor (she’s studied! has a certificate! is not fooling around!), award-winning tarot reader, and self-love advocate, Kelly-Ann’s Etsy tag-line is, In service, with love.
In a recent blog post—so generous! so potentially life-changing!—Kelly-Ann presents: 100 Illuminating Journal Prompts: Heal, Reveal, and Get Real. Here’s #66: If you had to dedicate the next six months to only one project or goal, where would you choose to place your focus and why?
Go ahead, dig deep. Use these prompts to dive beneath the surface. Retrieve artifacts from your spirit. Dust them off. Examine them in the clear light of your own brilliant mind.
DON’T YOU LOVE IT WHEN WRITERS GET IT RIGHT? Young-adult author Melody Maysonet is garnering great press for her debut novel, A WORK OF ART (Merit Press). Her starred Kirkus Review says, Maysonet…. illuminates one girl’s traumatic experience with deeply felt compassion…. An important book about endings, beginnings and the choice to move on. And Booklist writes, Beautifully drawn, convincingly flawed characters…. [S]killfully explores the consequences of self-deception … and the lengths we go to please the people we love.
Now, Melody invites us to her national book release celebration, March 21, from 2-4 p.m., at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065, Meeting Room D. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more, visit MelodyMaysonet.com.
EVER WONDER HOW LITERARY AGENTS CHOOSE their authors? Or what common writing problems they see? Or if it really is more difficult to sell a book than it used to be?
If so, check out “The Art of Agenting,” an interview with super-agent Chris Parris-Lamb—whose sale of Chad Harbach’s amazing debut novel, THE ART OF FIELDING, was his first big agenting success. The article, written by novelist Jonathan Lee, appeared recently in GUERNICA MAGAZINE and offers fascinating insights into the Big Leagues of lit agenting.
It also includes some (deliberately!) controversial comments about National Novel Writing Month!
(It’s okay, Chris. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but a little controversy? No probs. That’ll just toughen us up for November.)
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