albionidaho: (Default)
I'm currently enrolled in an excellent technical writing certification program. I actually already have a technical writing certificate, and though serviceable, it's very basic. The program I'm enrolled in runs the students through the wringer, turning us into skilled, accomplished publishing professionals.

It's an intense, exhausting, often frustrating, awesome program.

Actually, the program itself isn't frustrating, per se -- it's some of the software products we use that are frustrating. But software is like that. These frustrations teach patience and diligence, and encourage tenacity and innovation.

One of the cool extras that comes with the technical writing program is that what I learn in class applies to fiction writing. We discuss topics like reader-centered writing, communing with the reader, the creative act and how to foster that, how to edit, how to be better writers, and how to be business-minded, organized individuals who can plan.

Writing is a creative act. It's an art. But if you want to be a published author with any semblance of a career, it's also a business. And funnily enough, it's going to be my return to academia that will help me traverse some of these waters.
albionidaho: (Default)
2011, and we're still taking steps back.

Because of school and work, I haven't spent a lot of time reading the Blogosphere, but every so often I still hear rumblings when something important happens. Recently, Bitch Media posted a list of 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader. Evidently, three of the books listed were ... unpopular. (Sisters Red, Living Dead Girl, and Tender Morsels. These three books were replaced with three less objectionable (all quite good, but definitely more safe) titles.

I haven't read all the books, but I have read Lanagan's Tender Morsels, a very brave book, and am amazed at the rationale for pulling this book: "... because of the way that the book validates (by failing to critique or discuss) characters who use rape as an act of vengeance." Really? Wow. I didn't get that when I read the book at all.

Other than providing this brief summary for those who missed the incident, I don't have anything useful to say here right now, at least not today. Too upset. However, here are links to Elizabeth Scott's blog entry and Margo Lanagan's blog entry.


As a side note, I am greatly impressed with Margo Lanagan. I know she has caught a lot of grief for Tender Morsels and she has always stood by her book. There's a lot to learn from her.

I also appreciate the writers who asked that their excellent books be removed from the list because Bitch Media chose to give in and pull the books.
albionidaho: (Default)
They (whoever they are) say that the biggest three stresses are divorce, moving and death. I've dealt with all three over the past two years. And believe me, whoever they are, they know what they're talking about.

But the stress they don't talk about is staying in a bad place. That's even worse than divorce, moving and death.


When I write now I see my evolution as a writer. I am changing, and growing. The stories I wrote pre-2008 would never be written now. I have found another place to write from, a deeper place. A more experienced place. At the same time, I am trying to remember those places from which I wrote before because these are good, useful, fine places to dive into when writing.


Because of life and other environmental factors, I spent most of my adult life trying to be logical and think critically of everything. Being able to think logically and critically are good skills to have; however, if you're not careful logic and critical thinking can overpower creativity and the Dreamer's ability to take the first stab at a draft.

One of my goals for this year is to re-embrace the Dreamer and creator within myself when writing, and to let go of the logical critical thinking part of me for a little while. I'll bring her back in when it's appropriate, but for now we need some time apart.

She's logical enough that I think she'll understand.

Writing is about balance. It's about being creative and dreaming for yourself, and then bringing logic and critical thinking in as you open the door for the Writer and the Editor.

Writer 101 stuff, yeah, but it's something that's been easy for me to forget. And maybe we all need reminding of this stuff every so often.


And now it's time to work on my proposal before class tonight.
albionidaho: (Default)
Amal El-Mohtar's gorgeous "To Follow the Waves" is live at Podcastle.
albionidaho: (Default)
From BoingBoing: Freelance business writers make $25-30K a year, 2 of every 5 were laid off.
albionidaho: (Default)
I don't write a lot of flash fiction... at least I didn't used to. Over the 1 1/2 years, I've written some flash fiction. I've also tried to write a lot of other stuff -- longer works that don't seem to be nearly as viable as the flash. On the one hand, this is frustrating, but on the other hand it shows me how much I've learned in the past 2 1/2 years.

I recently completed an intense period of contracting while going to school. During this time I wrote very little. Getting back into the writing was overwhelming; a wise friend and CW classmate suggest I start by writing flash.

So that is what I did, and I'm finding the flash writing to be useful. My crit group and an awesomely fantastic writer and critter friend looked over my piece. They made some insightful, wonderful suggestions I can implement. I think this piece is viable.

I can't tell you how good this feels.

I've also learned that I'm a horrible judge of my own writing -- my writing may be better than I think it is. I may be a better writer than I tend to think I am.


Sep. 26th, 2010 08:11 pm
albionidaho: (Sherlock)
"Rispin" has been sent to market.

Fly little story, fly.
albionidaho: (Default)
Rajan Khanna and An Owomoyela are two of the most awesome SFF writers to appear on the SFF scene during the past few years. Rajan Khanna's "Doors" and An Owomoyela's "Portage" are both currently available for your reading pleasure.

Enjoy :).
albionidaho: (Default)
There's this tiny spot in the basement of the local library where I like to work. I've never seen anyone else ever use it. This spot has a tiny laptop station with plenty of outlets. The short fiction and SFF books are to my left. There are offices behind an "emergency exit" to my right. The bathroom is to my right further back. The noise from the offices and the bathroom is pretty constant, but I don't find it distracting and it makes me feel less alone. Behind the laptop station is written, "You are always beautiful! :)" and "Smile! :) You are loved <3."

The only way this spot could be any more perfect is if there were windows, but the light is excellent and I never find myself distracted by what's going on outside.
albionidaho: (jellyfish)
who sends encouragement, important reminders and treats through the mail...

Thank you for being so lovely and making me feel so loved. :) You made my month.
albionidaho: (Default)
It was summer, and I was six. It was early evening, probably just after dinner, and I was sitting in my parent's room on their bed, Indian style, facing the window that looked out onto the backyard, pastures and fields. My father walked up behind me and handed me a large black book with the words "The Stories of Ray Bradbury" exploding from yellow, orange, red and thistle-colored thick streaks of light.

I'd seen the book amongst the hundreds of hard and paperback books on the massive shelves in the living room, but had never thought much of it, other than the colors. I had thought about the colors--I had liked the colors.

I opened the book and paged through it. I considered starting with the first short story in the collection, "The Night," but instead ending up paging to "I Sing the Body Electric!" instead.

I sat on my parent's bed as my father went about his business, and I read the short story, which was actually a pretty long short story for a six-year-old to read. I had trouble with some of the words (this was Bradbury, after all), but I was so enraptured with the story that I persisted and finally made it through.

And I have never been the same. I fell in love with fantastical stories that evening. My mother and I had been reading The Narnia Chronicles together since I was four, and I loved those, but Lewis didn't cause my heart to fill and ache at the same time, he didn't cause such an electrical feeling to pulse through me. It was the Bradbury collection that caused me to want to write at the very beginning, when I was so young, to actually put down stories on paper. It made me want to create magical stories overflowing with delicious words.

And it made me want to read more Bradbury. I read "The Rocket Man" the next night; it was short and seemed manageable. It was a dark piece of fiction, but still beautiful. And my Bradbury-reading exploded from there.

And so, that is why, since I was six, I have always had plenty of Bradbury lying around and have dreamt of being an SFF writer. It all began with that one book and Bradbury's magic.

Bradbury turned ninety on Sunday, and this week--all this week--is Bradbury week in LA. I've been thinking about him and how he's still writing everyday, according to a couple of his personal friends who I've had the pleasure of visiting with. I hope that I'm blessed to still be that passionate when I'm ninety.

But for now, bless Ray.
albionidaho: (Default)
I'm fighting an ear infection, so last night [ profile] chris_reynaga made me chowder, I took some Motrin, and he read me B.R. Myers' "A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness of American Literary Prose" from the July/August 2001 edition of The Atlantic.

It's fairly long, but it's an interesting read if you are a writer or are interested in good writing and modern literary fiction. Also, it has some pretty awesome laugh out loud moments, and we all need more of those.
albionidaho: (Default)
Twice this week I've allowed myself to eat crayons for about half an hour, and it's been fantastic. I've eaten then purposefully and joyfully.

I spent my time eating crayons on Monday at Goodreads and today on LiveJournal, which led to some chewing at YouTube. I, too, had to watch a Chris Valentine episode and the cute young woman singing about her desire for Ray Bradbury.

The occasional chewing of crayons, especially when contained and purposeful, is absolutely delicious.
albionidaho: (Default)
My step-mother, the retired clinical (and forensic, which makes for utterly fascinating stories) psychologist always said it took about two weeks to get used to a new place or a new routine. She originally told me this when I first went to college and found myself incredibly lonely. She said, "Give it two weeks, and see where you are."

She was right. After two weeks, I was making friends and was finding my groove.

I found this to continue to be true for me--it would take about two weeks doing something new for me to adjust.

When Avi started his second year of preschool, he would come home exhausted. It was obvious he had a lot of adjusting to do. After one of the first days, the school's director asked me how he was adjusting. I told her how he was doing. She said that it took the kids, especially the younger kids, about two weeks to adjust to the new routine and schedule and then they would be fine. Then she said, "You know, it actually seems to take the teachers two weeks, too."

We all have to adjust to new schedules, new routines, new goals. We all have to adapt and build.

Read More )
I have to balance being patient with myself with pushing myself. I suspect I'll be doing this in one way or another for the rest of my life.
albionidaho: (Default)
The thing about working from home is that home is one giant distraction, and while coffee houses and libraries are also full of distractions, the distractions can be a lot more manageable.

on writing

Jul. 29th, 2010 09:48 pm
albionidaho: (Default)
This evening I read through portions of the first notebook I began writing in after my first adult rebirth.

I began writing in the book on December 21, 2001 at 11:27 p.m. (I've always been fond of writing late at night, after the house is quiet and everyone is in bed.) However, it was a portion of the New Year's Day 2002 entry that really caught my eye.

Some context: I had left the world of academia and anthropology to be a mom. I was pregnant with my first child, who would be born approximately two weeks late on February 1st. Since vacating the ivory tower, I had been reading voraciously, reading what I wanted to read for the first time since 1994. And this reading got me to thinking, which probably wasn't that hard. In fact, I suspect these thoughts would have been disco dancing in my head whether I'd been reading as I was or not.

Anyway. I had been thinking about writing. Writing seriously. And then ...

It's 12:55 p.m., New Year's Day, and in the black and white marbled composition book I've been writing in, I begin to ponder through my pen...

I want to write, and I believe at some level I have something to say. My father once told me we all have something to say--we all come from some place no one else does. And I have plenty to write about if I'm strong enough to dredge it up, but the things I have to say aren't the kinds of things people ordinarily desire to read about. Though in many ways it's a happy ending, there's not much to draw happiness from... is there?

This passage is going to permeate through my life for the next eight years, and in some respects beyond that.

I still want to write. The only difference now is that I am writing regularly, and have had some success doing it.

And that is a happy ending, even though this is only the middle.


albionidaho: (Default)

January 2012

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