Carousel #7

  1. Mark Z. Danielewski, author of House of Leaveswrites a letter to a girl from OKCupid and it’s pretty hilarious.
  2. I came across a really fantastic blog called The Book Cover Club, where people read books and then design new covers for them. Check it out!
  3. I’ve always been a fan of surreal art. Here’s A Cadeira Alta, by Brazilian artist Marcel Caram.
  4. The details about J.K. Rowling’s newest novel were recently revealed. She has written an adult murder mystery, which is what people were speculating. It’s called The Casual Vacancy and it will be released on September 27th of this year.
  5. I found a generator that emails you rejections. It supposedly prepares you for the impending pain of failure. I’m sure I’ll be making proper use of it soon.
  6. Lately, there have been a lot of creative projects popping up all over the place via Kickstarter, plenty of them book-related. I really wish I could support them all! One of them that drew my attention in particular was Wollstonecraft, a charming series of children books about Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley, dedicated to teaching young girls about history and writers and giving them positive real-life role models.
  7. This week, a post of mine went up over on ReadLearnWrite. It’s about growing up as a boy who really didn’t read on his own until much later than you would think. It’s also about getting other less enthusiastic people into books (including my own family).

The Small Things and the Big Things

This week, I spent some time with Melissa, dear friend and fellow writer, and we went to the same Barnes and Noble I was talking about a few weeks ago. Apparently, I’m not going crazy because there have been articles now where the stores are actually stocking less and less books. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I managed to pick up Other People We Married, a short story collection by Emma Straub that I was somewhat surprised to see (maybe I’ll tweet Emma and tell her how it was right in the front of the store, in the “new fiction” section), and Melissa got me The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz is one of her favorites). We  also had a very nice breakfast together and talked about our current writing projects. She has been mostly working on fairly large projects, while I’ve been working on small things. It got me thinking about my own bigger, more involved long-term projects I’ve had in my head for a while.

Here are some of those long-term projects:

  1. A coming of age novel. Probably the one I have thought about the most over the years, and the one most likely to happen eventually. I have names for the characters I want to write about and short backgrounds on who they are, as well as the title for the novel itself. I have scraps of conversations I want them to have and recurring symbols and images to flesh their world out. What I don’t have: what kind of point of view I want to use (first-person or third? alternating between characters?) and the central conflict or main plot thread that will tie everything and everyone together.
  2. A children’s book. My family thinks I have the capacity to write one of these (or a series of these) over everything else. I definitely have the gist of a story written down somewhere, but it’s nothing fleshed out yet. Hypothetically, it would read something like a cross between The Phantom Tollbooth and The Little Prince in that it will have an imaginative world with curious characters, and hopefully can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike due to it being a story with both simple language and underlying symbolism. The main issue with this one is the fact that I think it may be too morbid or mature for children. But I know there are plenty of strange books out there like that anyway (see: anything by Roald Dahl, mostly).
  3. A short story collection. It’s the form I’m used to. I’ve written an online collection before called Letters for Burning. Short fiction is something I’ve always been naturally drawn to and I love writing it.
  4. An epic, sprawling novel with a light touch of magical realism or mythology. I’m not sure I can handle the “epic” and “sprawling” parts, but I’d like to experiment with this. I’ve written short stories that read like this, so who knows. I don’t have any ideas for it yet though.
  5. A novel that is more like interconnected stories about a community of characters. I guess this one would be in the vein of something like Winesburg, Ohio or A Visit From the Goon Squad. I like this idea quite a lot because it’s like writing short stories, but with recurring characters, themes, and timelines. No idea for anything yet, but I think maybe it would involve a gated community based on the one in which I live and how the families and their surrounding eccentric neighbors come to relate to each other.

Carousel #1

So I’ve decided to introduce a new feature to this blog: carousels.

Essentially, this is where I send you on a trip around the internet. Special places that helped define my week, highlights that include fascinating things to read, look at, listen to, watch. Things to inspire and thoughts to turn over. Enjoy!

  1. I watched my first Jean-Luc Godard film, Masculin, Féminin. I’m still uncertain how I feel about it, but I liked just being able to sit down and listen to all the conversations taking place. You can watch the whole thing on Youtube, and it has English subtitles.
  2. A strange short story: The Fisherwoman’s Daughter.
  3. A short poem by Allison Titus: Inclement.
  4. I really wish Maurice Sendak were my grandfather so we could be bitter curmudgeons together. Here’s a video on his work, childhood, and inspirations.
  5. More poems to look at that left an impression: Flowers in Stone, Gender Studies, Advice for the Manic / Instructions for Grieving. You can also listen to some of the authors read their works.
  6. Watching this music video by Gotye should be used to gauge humanity. If you cry, congratulations! You’re not a robot. Not that there’s anything wrong with robots, of course.
  7. I started reading Zazen by Vanessa Veselka, which I’ve been seeing everywhere around the internet. From the reviews, it seems to be pretty difficult to define. You can read it in its entirety on Red Lemonade.
  8. I read The Depressed Person, a genius essay by David Foster Wallace, which is so powerful and convincing that it literally caused me to have a physical feeling of revulsion.

(If you ever wish to include anything in these lists – anything of yours, or otherwise – feel free to write to me and let me know.)