Sunday, October 26, 2008
I just got back from vacation in Maine with my parents. I had intended to both unplug from regular life and actually do a lot of fiction writing, but the writing part just didn't pan out. Even though we did stop by and snap some photos of Stephen King's supercool house. I want a Victorian house with a wrought-iron fence like his one day!
Still, as inspiring as Maine's coastal landscape and an unplugging from the usual day-to-day drudgery should have been, I just couldn't produce anything while I was away, although I did manage to write 1600 words of what I think is pure bile last night after getting home. I'm pretty sure some stream-of-consciousness that will probably never amount to an actual piece of fiction is better than nothing. There's probably something to be said for just writing through those dry spells.
More later... dreading a return to work and etc.!
Write on... and I guess write through the block if possible!
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The Art of No
Ah, the rejection letters. We writers dread them while expecting them, sometimes wish they'd come sooner (why have I been waiting a year, but maybe it's a good sign? Or maybe it's just lost) or wish they'd come later (you rejected me in ONE lousy day, you thought it was that bad?).
Here's a very good essay that speaks very eloquently on the topic, No, by Brian Doyle, featured in the Spring 2008 issue of Kenyon Review. (A particular highlight is Stefan Merkel's rejection letter of a rejection letter, which is brilliant, although the whole article is a very nice rumination on the subject of editing, accepting, and rejecting.) Check it out and keep your chin up.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Scary Summer Reading
Halloween's right around the corner, so I thought I'd talk about a couple chillers I read over the summer. I should probably admit that both book choices were actually motivated by having seen the movies. That might be a little bit sad, but hey, it's just the truth.
The Ruins by Scott Smith. OK, saw I saw the movie in the theater and for only the second time ever in my long history of horror movie fandom, thought I was going to be physically ill at one point. I also worried that somebody behind me might get ill, which would be really unpleasant, too. I couldn't believe I had a serious wave of nausea! (The other time was Blair Witch Project, which was mostly from the nauseating camera work and a full stomach from sushi dinner, as opposed to anything I saw, obviously.) Anyway, the movie didn't quite make a whole lot of sense -- like, what's up with these vines, anyway? -- and the book did a much better job of explaining, and also added some extras that they didn't bother to include in the movie, and also had far better character development. The movie seemed to me much more of an excuse for gore (no shocker, I know). I don't know, maybe the movie was just an ad for the book, although making you nauseous might not be a real selling point for too many people.
The Mist by Stephen King. I went through a major Stephen King phase in high school but eventually got burned out by his stuff, which I think I'm safe to say isn't the exception to the rule. However, I saw the movie -- which I liked -- but also thought, "Hmm, I don't remember the novella ending this way." So I went ahead and reread it. Sure enough, the ending was different (although the use of Dead Can Dance in The Mist's soundtrack was a nice touch). Anyway, I enjoyed it, and it reminded me that King on a good day is pretty good, in fact better than I recalled.
Unfortunately, I guess neither of these are strong Halloween choices, unless you take the tact that as long as it's scary, it fits. And both are more pop than high literature, but hey, again, it's Halloween time.
Keep on reading...
Thursday, October 02, 2008
OK, there's been a whole lot of crazy news out there these days, but I have some great news, and that is that literary juggernaut JMWW has linked to LitBlitz. Little old me!
JMWW's Fall 2008 issue is live, so do check out all the good stuff there! JMWW also got a nice mention in the Baltimore Sun's blogs.
In other good news, the new Kelly Link collection of short stories I pre-ordered, Pretty Monsters, has arrived. I'm excited since I so adored Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen. Of course given my weird and sporadic reading habits (and the fact that I have three books going at the moment, one of which is the dreaded "heavy reading" and completely non-literary), I can't crack it right away, but hopefully it won't be too long.
Read on and rock on!