Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
False belief in weapons of mass-destruction led the United States to a trillion-dollar war. And trust in rising home value as a truism as reliable as a sunrise was a major contributor to the catastrophic collapse of the economy. At its worst extreme, a culture of misinformation can produce something like Iran, which is led by a Holocaust denier.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I have always loved books about writing. One of my favorites, William Zinsser's "On Writing Well,"helped shape my nonfiction writing style. I also adore Annie Dillard's "The Writing Life": she discusses not the craft of writing but the process; the writer's journey and struggles. She writes,
This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. The reader's ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word.
From Natalie Goldberg ("Long Quiet Highway" and "Writing Down the Bones") to Anne Lamott ("Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life"), I can't get enough of writers on writing.
And so it is that I have a strong desire to go out and buy books about writing. There's the "Portable MFA in Creative Writing" -- why pay upwards of $20,000 for more schooling when I could get a book? There's the "Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel"--I don't think I'm an idiot, so the book should make it easy to write a novel! Oh, and there's"How to Write a (Damn) Good Novel"--it has "Damn" in the title, so I know it must be excellent.
But sometimes I think that reading these books is just another way for me to procrastinate. So I'll go for some time on my own. I spent four hours at a bookstore today sketching out the plot and characters of a novel. Just like the Ronald & Cynthia story, I've had the idea for this one in my head the past year or so. And while staring at my notes, I realized I had to eliminate one of the characters altogether. She had been a major character; in fact, she was possibly going to narrate! But once I got rid of her, things made so much more sense and the story began to come together.
I'm excited. After I had decided not to jump in immediately to an MFA program, I felt a little lost: But this gives me direction and an achievable goal.
And as for "Ronald and Cynthia," I've finished the draft; I think a lot of it works, but I need some distance from it before revision.
(Cross-posted at wordpress)
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
For some reason, I thought this shift from non-fiction back to fiction would be natural. I have been writing so much the past few years, from entries to my own blog about politics, my life, my family, my teaching, to contributions to the library blog, to lessons and examples for my students. I feel comfortable writing what I know and doing research to write about what I don't know. It's as natural as breathing. I inhale -- think -- and exhale -- write. In, out, think, write.
But fiction is its own beast, isn't it? To make stuff up! Invent! Create people, settings, situations! This isn't quite breathing to me yet.
And so I practice.
Ronald and Cynthia, they're still figuring things out. A couple thousand words in, I felt like Ronald's point-of-view (even third person, slightly detached) was too creepy; I inserted scenes that were more removed from him to give the reader (and me) a break. I'm not sure how successful those breaks are and what, ultimately, it means for the story. But I'll try to finish the draft today and move onto something else tomorrow.
(Cross-posted at wordpress)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
- My dad came to five after five! The food and wine samples were ok--they've definitely been better--but it was awesome having him there with my friends, seeing how I spend my Friday nights.
- The Reds, after getting mauled by the Cardinals last week in three straight games, swept the Marlins this weekend to regain first place. Take that, St. Louis!
- Finally, I'm having a quiet night at home. Tomorrow, write write write.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
- Mild Wild Ale - this was a pretty dark beer to start out with, but it's described as "an English session ale with a nice malty flavor which is meant to be drank in large quantities" (of course, we only had 2 oz).
- Ratatouille - eggplant, local zucchini, etc; I skipped it.
- No. 42 Cream Ale - this was yummy; made with corn!
- Sloppy Joes - these weren't so sloppy, but they were still delicious.
- Smoked Bock Beer - this supposedly had "a great smoky bacon flavor and who doesn't love bacon!!!" (I love bacon, but not in my beer)
- Italian Beef Sandwiches - small but thick slice of beef was served in a pita.
- 186,000 MPS Craft Malt Liquor - the server made sure to point out this was 10% alcohol, twice the amount of other samples. Good thing are portions are so small.
- Baked Zucchini Fries - skipped
- Enter the Beagle IPA - this was my favorite of the night, just a classic IPA, not too heavy but still flavorful.
- Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese - small cubes of local cheese paired with roasted almonds; these were awesome together.