How is Writer’s Block like a Pop Star?

 So, I might have Writer’s Block. But, I don’t have any of the Wikipedia symptoms. I haven’t run out of ideas or inspiration — at least then I could do something else. So far as I can tell, the reason that Writer’s Block is so uncomfortable is because I know what I have to do but, I can’t seem to figure out how to do it. I could recite volumes of ideas and reasons to compose them but I cannot for the life of me write them down.

This conundrum has led me to a few sweeping generalizations about the affliction we call Writer’s Block. For one thing, how can you be sure you really have Writer’s Block? I have come up with a more comprehensive and realistic list of symptoms and tell-tale signs to look out for. They are as follows:

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Poetry Month: You Like Poetry.

April is Poetry Month and I can almost see your eyes rolling (like wayward marbles in a face of misunderstandingness). I know what you’re thinking because I did too, once: I don’t understand poetry – it doesn’t make sense, the rhymes are horrid and I’m not all that interested in getting in touch with my feelings. And, you know what? I hear you. But the problem is, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

For one thing: you do like poetry and you always have. Whenever a person puts something to you in such a way that you weren’t able to see it in before, that’s poetry.

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How to Write an Unimpressive Author Bio

Before I began to think seriously about writing, it hadn’t occurred to me that the ultra-flattering, commanding write-ups on the back of the books and in magazines were written by the author. Now that I know that, I’m uncomfortable. The idea of writing my own bio freaks me right out.

Sure, I think that I’m an interesting person with interesting interests, but I don’t want to be the one to tell you about them.

I’ve had to write an author bio exactly three times and each one was a disaster.

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5 Stages of Recovery from a Rejection Letter

Every writer gets rejection letters. You’re supposed to take them in stride. They say that “only the persistent writers make it anywhere”. They also say, “maybe the story wasn’t a good fit with that publication”, “it’s hard to get published these days”, “no one reads anymore”, and “try not to take it personally.” But, I want to know if there is a person alive who can manage not to take it personally.

Actually, I don’t. If you are such a person, keep it to yourself.

I am willing to bet that most people go through something like this:

First Stage: SWEATING

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COLLINS: The Hunger Games Trilogy

I got to The Hunger Games — the YA book phenomenon by Suzanne Collins, way late. In fact, I didn’t expect to read these books at all. If it hadn’t been for my YA writer friend Alison Mills, they may never have crossed my path.

Upon her suggestion, I downloaded a book (not this one) that came in a package with The Hunger Games for a few more dollars. I had heard of the trilogy and that it was going to be made into a movie.

Since I love a good pop-book event, I decided to read them before that happened. Because, as we all know, seeing the movie before reading the book, makes the possibility of creating your own imaginationscape pretty difficult.

So I queued it up on my KOBO and strapped it to the display of the elliptical machine at the gym. I’m all about atmosphere. Continue reading

Murakami: 1Q84

I made the hideous mistake of unabashedly disliking Haruki Muarakami’s novel 1Q84 in front of someone who had just started reading it and I may never forgive myself for it. So, allow me this moment to redeem myself and explain my position on subject.

You see, I LOVED The Wind Up Bird Chronicles so much. That book did so much for me. It reminded me that there was still a lot that a novel could do. It was the first unapologetic piece of surrealist literary fiction that I had read in a modern context. I needed that book to exist if I was ever going to hope to write the kind of fiction that I like to write.

I could hardly wait to read 1Q84 and as soon as it became available on KOBO, I was on it. I started reading right away, expecting to be otherwise unavailable for the entire 1031 page duration.

Very quickly, I felt obviously manipulated by the author. I could sense that this book was written to be a “great work”. I didn’t believe in the characters or their motivations and I could barely slog through the clunking, repetitive prose. There was nothing of the subtle, brave Murakami who wrote The Wind Up Bird Chronicles. This was in your face, heavy-handed, bludgeoning the reader to death with over sentimentalized symbolism.

I thought to myself that, surely, this is a translation issue. Or, 1Q84 had suffered the same fate that most serialized novels do with its redundancy, over explanation, and over exposure. And I might have been able to excuse him from it if it hadn’t been so consistently boring as a result. Continue reading

The Hardest Things to Write

A writer buddy of mine and I were chatting about topics that are traditionally difficult to write about and how writers are attracted to them — like flies to a dead bunny. Our original list was Sex, Death, and Boring. So, we held a competition among our fellow writers to see who could write the best sex scene. I sat down in the morning and didn’t get up from my desk until the early evening. It was one of the best spent days ever.

The results of the competition were unfortunate. Despite the wide range of ideas, styles and topics (and I mean a very wide range), what we learned was that sex scenes are all fairly similar give or take a hand here or a member there. In the end, all of our hopes for a stimulating afternoon were drowned out by the cider and the loud mouths at the table beside ours.

Nonetheless, the afternoon I spent with my first real attempt at erotica was a great one — one that I followed up with a glass of wine and a bubble bath. Because that’s what one does, clearly.

So, if you’ve got a half hour, a tub and some bubbles, here’s a little something to help you pass the time.  A Family Man. Continue reading

I think I lost my mother.

I told her that I would be at the coffee shop near the Starbucks. She asked if I wouldn’t mind going with her to the tax office because she didn’t know which coffee shop I was talking about. I didn’t want to go to the tax office. I wanted to come to the coffee shop to teach myself how to blog.

I insisted that the coffee shop was near the Starbucks and that she’d been there and that it really wasn’t far. I swore and the truth is that I wasn’t sure and I’m still not because I didn’t check. She was supposed to be here 45 minutes ago.

Oh, dear.

Here it goes. I am going to link this post to confession even though I don’t know how to reposition these things.