Recommended Reading #4

  1. “The Village with All of the Boyfriends” by Zachary Doss
  2. “The Murder Sounds” by Amy Silverberg
  3. “How to Spend Your Time Before the Renegade Planet Makes It All Go Dark” by Justin Lawrence Daugherty
  4. “Grief as Mythos” by Brandon Taylor
  5. “Let’s Not Begin” by Maggie Smith
  6. “How the End Begins” by Cynthia Cruz
  7. “Ten Step Tulpamancy” by Kia Groom
  8. “Beach City” by Jaquira Díaz
  9. The Best Small Fictions 2015, edited by Robert Olen Butler
  10. The Bad Cover Letter Generator, built by Kendra Fortmeyer, which generates extremely professional cover letters for the aspiring writer (give it a whirl!)

Let’s Play

It has been far too long. I promise that will be the last time I write that on here. Fortunately, I do have things to say.

Mostly, I’ve been writing for myself. When are you not, you might ask. Well, let’s be more specific: I have been writing in my notebook and none of it has been fiction or poetry. It has been purely for cathartic purposes. Not a shooting up, but a shooting out. If I don’t get a euphoric sparkle or some kind of cleansing, I don’t bother with my scribbling. I throw my pen like a dart at the window.

Book food has been taking up most of my time. Look here for a sample. There is music and movies too. My body wants to consume rather than create. The hunger will pass, and I’ll be back to throwing things up instead. Eat desperately, regurgitate. Repeat.

I got my contributor’s copy of the newest issue of Pear Noir!:

Pear Noir!, Issue 9

Pear Noir!, Issue 9 Contributors

I had a poem in it that I’m still fond of. I always wonder how long that feeling will last. It’s also a poem that my family appreciated. This is a momentous occasion. I’m no longer a teenager, but I always feel like an enigma to them. My mom reminded me of how I’ve taken to using more personal writing as fiction. It’s not real, but she knows where it comes from.

I also received these postcards from some of the writers:

Pear Noir!, Issue 9 Postcards

Over at ReadLearnWrite, I wrote about newer ways we are telling stories. It got me thinking again about how publishing is changing, how our storytelling media are changing, how we are all responding. It can be both exciting and confusing; perhaps the best time to get messy and experiment. Want to make a video game? Go for it! The tools are right there. Want to create a fictional diary through Youtube videos? What’s keeping you?

More experimentation: In just a week, I’ll be flying out of Florida to see my significant other. I’ll be vanishing off the map even more cleanly than usual. Perhaps you don’t know this already, perhaps you do, but I am somewhat of a recluse. I feel like a baby who doesn’t know anything outside the nest. This is new and exciting, but I’m not nervous. I don’t plan on turning my relationship into a character for you to read. This is not my notebook, and I don’t want it to be. My wings are still wet and lack the muscle.

Carousel #17

  1. There is a documentary about writers and what they define as “bad” writing, called Bad Writing. You can watch it here for free for the entire month of January. Give it a watch! Featuring a lot of different writers, including Margaret Atwood and David Sedaris.
  2. Want to know the specific name for practically every group of animals? Have a huge collection of collective nouns. The English language is indeed strange. A charm of hummingbirds, a parliament of rooks, an aurora of polar bears. Got to love it.
  3. Via Paper Darts, here are the most beautiful book covers of 2012. Really gorgeous. I can’t even decide which is my favorite.
  4. Via Flavorwire, the most anticipated books of 2013. Thirty of them, at least. Thirty is enough, as far as I’m concerned! I really wish I could keep up.
  5. The visual history of The Bell Jar‘s book covers: here.
  6. I don’t know how to feel about this quite just yet, but we are going to have our first ever bookless library. Based in Texas, the project is called BiblioTech and is being specifically designed for the digital age.
  7. Exciting book excavations! A man from London found a signed copy of Frankenstein in his grandfather’s library. Apparently it is only the second signed copy known in existence and it went on to sell for more than a half million dollars at auction.
  8. Writers’ Tears, an actual Irish whiskey. Should we be surprised?
  9. What if dead authors were forced to use social media? Here is an idea. I don’t know about you, but I’d be the first to follow Truman Capote on Twitter.
  10. Here are writers reading ten stories by Sherwood Anderson.
  11. Memorable writing I enjoyed reading this week: Girl/Box and Impact Sight and Our Bodies, Possessed by Light.

Relating to Unrelatable Characters

I have a new guest post up over at ReadLearnWrite. I’ve written about this issue before, but it was only recently after watching Fran Lebowitz talk about it in Public Speaking that it really started making perfect sense to me. I just can’t stand when people dismiss good pieces of literature just because the characters or experiences they describe are so far off from their own. Isn’t that one of the reasons to read fiction in the first place? To get a glimpse of what it’s like to be someone else? And hopefully, in the process, learn a thing or two? If you’re drawn to the unrelatable, it’s always a test of empathy: taking the extra leap and putting in the effort to understand a life that would seem so strange adjacent to your own.

Janie’s Scrapbook

I found something buried in one of my bottom shelves today and I thought I would dust it off a bit and share. Back in high school, I took advanced placement English classes that not only required a lot of reading and essay writing, but a lot of creative projects as well. One of these projects was putting together a scrapbook for the character Janie from the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. On the pages, I tried to capture several of the most significant scenes, themes, and images in the book. I’m glad I still kept it. It was probably one of my favorite projects.