Converting Non-Readers, by an Ex-Non-Reader

So, I was a guest writer for ReadLearnWrite. Thanks to Mr. Brandon Monk for having me. My post just went up today. It’s about my childhood as a very dedicated non-reader (which may seem surprising?) and growing up in a household without books and how things have changed since then. It also goes into how I try to foist books on people now on a regular basis (including little anecdotes about these attempts with my family).

I’ve also sent out some writing to journals, as well as a national poetry contest. I’m getting a bit crazy I think. I have to start somewhere though, I suppose – may as well be that! If I don’t win, I’ll just quit writing forever. No big deal.

I think I handle rejection pretty well, if you ask me. If you really want to know my secret: I’ve been prepping myself with this special rejection generator.

Internship, First Ever Publications, Guest Blogging Adventures

I’ve been keeping quiet lately about some of my projects because I haven’t been sure of what’s going to happen and what isn’t. I didn’t want to build myself up only to have myself torn down before anything was even clarified. My god, I’m still so incredibly insecure. But I guess I’m still nervous because this is the first time I’m having anything of mine published. Fortunately, things have been going fairly well and I feel confident enough now to divulge some of these things:

  1. I’m now an intern over at Hobart. My job is to help read and review some of the submissions. This is my first time helping out with any kind of literary journal. Currently I’ve been reading through novellas. I recently heard about how some of the stories that have appeared in Hobart are going to be anthologized this year in The Best American Short Stories series, which is pretty exciting.
  2. I’ve been working on an essay/book review of the novel Zazen by Vanessa Veselka. Specifically, it focuses on characters raised in dystopian societies who refuse to rebel. It’s supposed to run in Paste, although I’m not sure when exactly yet.
  3. I finished writing a guest post for Read.Learn.Write. It’s about my attempts at converting non-readers (specifically, my family) into readers, as well as my own awkward stumbling into the habit of reading. There is a backlog of guest bloggers, but I’ll let you know when it goes up.
  4. I submitted a short story to Little Fiction, but I’m not sure when it will be going up. It might not be for a while. What drew my attention to them originally was the idea of “listerature,” which is a short story form – popularized by Jennifer Egan – written in the form of a list. I decided to try it out myself and liked what came out of it. There’s already been a compilation of listerature already, so maybe they’ll include mine in the next collection.

Here We Are (Again)

Hello, welcome to my little corner of the internet. I guess it’s official now, even though there have been countless other iterations. You know how it is being a twenty-something in the year 2011.

You’ll probably notice that this place is quite bare right now, but hopefully that will change in time. Hopefully, if things go right, there will be plenty of stories for you to read (some published elsewhere, some that I dig up) and little anecdotes from life to gawk at. Probably things mostly literary: writers, writing, books. Maybe some movies, songs, and video games too.

A funny thing about me to start you off: I never really envisioned myself as a writer when I was young. I saw myself as plenty of other strange things (botanist, puppet master, teacher of imaginary students and never real ones), but the thought of writing being an actual thing you work towards or any kind of discernible identity that people attached themselves to wasn’t something I considered. Probably because it was something I always did—it was a part of life like breathing and bathing, and it was never a chore. I never had those romantic notions like those little feral library children had, and I still don’t really. I just take it more seriously now.

I first started writing on the internet when I was a teenager. At the time, my high school teachers were encouraging me to write more because they clearly saw something I didn’t. My family always told me I had a vivid imagination, like any good, abnormally non-dysfunctional family would do, but it was my teachers that really gave me direction. So I kept at it and ended up winning some awards for my stories at a literary fair. I won some prize money. I starting reading a lot of books on my own, wrote in my journal, and took creative writing classes. Hopefully this blog will be much more refined and thoughtful than what I was writing online back then (just thinking of some of my entries in my old journal makes me literally nauseous from embarrassment).

Don’t ever be afraid to send me a story of your own or tell me about a book that you like. I’m a voracious listener and I’ll eat your words up. If you want to write to me, you can email me at lettersforburning@yahoo.com, or drop me a comment on here. See you all soon!

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