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.

Fifty Shades of Orange

There are probably just a few weeks out of the entire year when the weather in Florida is perfect. When the humidity is no longer oppressive, when the heat has cooled, when the storm clouds have gone. This is one of those weeks. You can be sure that we have all the windows open.

They already have Christmas ads everywhere, but we’ve been celebrating Halloween to the fullest anyway. I have been consuming everything pumpkin: cookies, pancakes, juice, cider, cake. Pie is only for Thanksgiving, of course.

My sister decorated our pumpkins:

We’ve already had a neighborhood party. I made cups of dirt, a Halloween treat I loved when I was little. I’d almost forgotten about them, but I was reminded when thumbing through one of our neighbors’ holiday cookbooks. There are decorations everywhere around the house, both inside and out. Cobwebs and severed hands hanging, orange lights, skulls, masks. Everyone dressed up except me because I couldn’t really come up with anything this year. I probably should think of something. The real Halloween is tomorrow.

I’ve been writing lots of things in lots of places: in my physical journal, in my online journal, in letters and emails to friends I miss a lot. I haven’t written as much fiction in the meantime, but I am still sending things out. I am trying to make it my duty to always be sending  things out. Why should I wait anyway?

I wrote about finding community through writing over at ReadLearnWrite. Writing is mostly lonely, but there are places where it doesn’t have to be. Not always.

Word Dealing

It’s been a while, but fortunately, I’ve done a few things during this blog hiatus.

Recently, my short piece, “Word Dealer,” was published in the second issue of Paper and the Sea. My amazing friend Angela provided the cover art and some writing as well. It all came out gorgeous. You can read it in its entirety online, or you can purchase a print copy of the issue to have it on your shelf.

I also wrote a guest post about gender and publishing for ReadLearnWrite. Nothing new for some, but it may come as a surprise to others. I’ve written about it before elsewhere, and I think it deserves a mention every now and again.

About two months ago, I’d fallen really ill, and in the meantime, I watched a lot of DVDs in bed. One of these was Kiki’s Delivery Service, one of my all-time favorite children’s movies. Becoming fairly restless after being stuck under the covers for so long, I wrote a feverish essay about it and sent it over to Bright Wall, Dark Room. They ended up publishing it recently, and you can read it if you’d like.

I’ve been getting more into 8tracks as well (writing with some background noise), and made another mix tape. It features female vocalists (what else?) and electronic music.

Go listen:

Estrogen-Infused Android from josephdante on 8tracks.

Carousel #10

  1. I read this really great essay by Benjamin Hale that addresses the real value of literary prizes and what literature lives on years and years later. Basically, there is mediocre literature winning tons of awards that everyone forgets quickly and there is literature that is typically very polarizing and is usually recognized long after the writer has passed. Would you prefer to win awards while you’re alive or to be remembered long after you’re dead?
  2. A sixteen-year-old girl by the name of Tavi Gevinson has started an online magazine for other teenage girls. It’s not the vapid stuff you see in other typical teenage magazines – it’s real stories about what it’s like growing up. It’s well-written, relevant, and often funny. She’s been on TED, she’s been invited to fashion shows in New York. I was talking to Melissa about this, and we were wondering when teenagers were this cool. Rock on, Tavi. You will go far.
  3. Here are poems being recited in voicemails. Among them, Zadie Smith contributes “Animals” by Frank O’Hara.
  4. Fiona Apple is one of my favorite singers of all-time, and her newest album is finally going to be released this month. Here’s an excellent recent profile of her.
  5. I was a guest writer for ReadLearnWrite again. This time, I wrote a piece about relating to characters outside of your own realm of experience and why that’s important to being a good reader.

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.