Carousel #14

  1. A book-loving teen discusses how he has to deal with “dumbing himself down” and pretending to be someone else while among his peers and growing up in an environment that doesn’t particularly encourage reading.
  2. My sister showed me this art blog and I fell in love. I especially love the art of Dima Rebus.
  3. Here is a great quote by the always quotable Anaïs Nin. My sister has been misquoting it for quite some time and I managed to decode what she was talking about, finally.
  4. Here is the fiction editor of the consistently fantastic Indiana Review talking about what types of stories they don’t like because they’ve read variations of them a thousand times in their slush pile. You can also see their take on poetry. In fact, you should just read their blog in its entirety. A lot of insight into how a literary journal works, writing and submission tips, etc.
  5. This year’s MacArthur literary genius grants have been announced. Writer Junot Díaz is among them. Look here.
  6. Speaking of Junot Díaz, here is some of his advice to young writers.
  7. Here is the list of confirmed authors for this year’s Miami Book Fair, which I’ll hopefully be attending. Some great writers to see, along with some of my past creative writing professors.

Writing and Loneliness

I’ve been extremely ill this past week or so. I could barely even talk. All I’ve been doing is watching DVDs in bed and trying my hardest to sleep the sickness away.

Fortunately, I’ve been doing a lot better lately. I’ve finished reading the newest issue of the Indiana Review, which I highly recommend. After entering their annual poetry contest this year, I’m going to be getting a few of their next issues. They publish some really fantastic writing.

In addition to working on some of my own writing and trying to find good homes for it, I’ve also been busy with my newest project: a blog that will focus on writers and the spaces they write in. It will be called (surprise!) Writing Spaces. I plan on asking for submissions soon. I’d really like to turn it into a cozy hub where writers can find each other and share some kind of community. This writing thing can get so lonely sometimes, and it’s nice to find new kindred spirits every once in a while. When I have it all set up, I’ll be sure to make a post about it here. And of course, you’ll be sure to contribute, right?

What else? Oh, I recently won a painting.

It was from a great video blogger named Stephanie. I’ve been following her adventures on Youtube for a while now. She graduated from my alma mater a year or two before I did and decided to leave Florida to teach in Japan (something a few fellow English majors I know have considered doing too). The painting itself doesn’t have a title, but I came up with the theme for it originally: loneliness. I guess I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

May Is for Birthing, Reading Rich

May is always a crazy month for me, even though it seems like such a mild one according to what most writers would tell you. Summer is almost here, but there are so many birthdays going on, including mine (I read somewhere that my birthday, May 22nd, is the rarest birthday to have?). A few of my friends are coming down to South Florida for the occasion (and their own birthdays), and I haven’t seen them in the longest time. I really don’t know what to think about 25. I thought I was still 18?

I’m reading Adrienne Rich’s poetry collection, The Dream of a Common Language. Despite the fact that she passed away just this year, it was fairly difficult to find a copy of this book online. Rich was a poet I greatly admired while I was an undergrad, and I still do. I feel some kind of kinship with her and I’m not sure why that is. I’m still trying to figure that out. She’s also one of the few poets who actually writes tolerable love poems. That’s really difficult to achieve at this point, I think. I love how her poems read like stories and aren’t these entirely inscrutable, abstract puzzles within meta-enigmas, and how they’re concrete, visceral, and so immediately emotionally charged. They’re like sudden jolts of electricity.

In other news, I’ve sent quite a few stories and poems out to various publications. I’m still waiting to hear back from most of them. Unfortunately, I did not win the Indiana Review’s annual poetry prize. Haha. Maybe I’m better at writing short fiction. I still can’t really tell.