Tag Archives: Blogroll

I Said It First

So last night we had AC360 on and he did a segment on the current annoying trend for everyone and their dog to go into “rehab” to mend their public image after they’ve committed one transgression or another. The thing is, I commented on this a while ago—it’s now almost a rite of passage for celebs and (especially) pseudo-celebs to party a little too much, do a few dumb things, and then go, “Hee hee! I’m off to rehab!”, which seems to trivialize genuine alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Of course, no one was listening to me because I’m not on TV.

Then just now I’m catching up on my many Bloglines feeds and I run across this Maud Newton post about John Steinbeck, East of Eden and Journal of a Novel, which a number of people seem to have referenced. But wait! Sound familiar? As a matter of fact, I wrote about this first! Yep, I scooped Maud Newton. Oh yes, I did. 😀 Muahahaha.

(Note to self: this writing stuff down business can be very gratifying!)


Another Silly Quiz

Ottava rima? Hrm, can’t say I’m familiar. But I guess any result that includes the phrase “gleeful spite” is all right by me 😉

Ottava rima? Me? That can’t be right!
Too frivolous? But tut, there’s no such thing!
Let others ponder thoughts of wrong and right,
Or sit and think how much they love the spring;
I’d rather spend my time in gleeful spite,
Or maybe laugh, or maybe sit and sing.
Besides, it might be fun to be inspiring –
But surely it would get so very tiring.

What Poetry Form Are You?

Apparently, if I wasn’t an ottava rima, I’d be a sonnet:

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I’m balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I’m right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I’m still around, and doing, still, all right.
In short, I’m calm and rational and stable –
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.

What Poetry Form Are You?

Seen at: scribblingwoman.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm


You’re probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people’s grammatical mistakes make you insane.
Book Snob


Dedicated Reader


Literate Good Citizen


Fad Reader




What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Shocking, I know.

Seen at Queen of West Procrastination.


Excellent post on truth in writing, be it fiction or non:

A more useful criteria would begin with the understanding that all good writing seeks the truth, whether that’s a metaphorical or an objective truth, and it should be judged accordingly. Deciding if a book is “true” or not should never stop at the title page; a good reader should never suspend his or her critical faculties. This is precisely why reading is such a mentally interactive experience, why writing is — in my opinion — an essentially higher art than other, more passive media. While reading a book, one must constantly be engaged in trying to hear dialogue, visualize surroundings, judge character and background. A good book, in turn, challenges a reader; makes him or her rethink what they are sure they know and believe.

In which I find out that I'm not a real person

Literary fiction is like haute couture; real people may not buy it but it’s what’s featured in the pages of the New York Times and defines your line.

It makes my head hurt, both that there are people who write who don’t know what literary fiction (otherwise known as plain old literature) is and also that literary fiction is continually disparaged as being something that “real” people don’t read.


Should a writer be invisible?

As an actor, [Philip Seymour] Hoffman says that his job is to be invisible. The idea is that when you are watching in Capote, you are to believe that you are watching Truman Capote himself. He believes that he has “done his job” as an actor when you forget that he is actor.

Well, I think that, as a writer of fiction, I want the reader to forget about me all together. As you are reading The Untelling, I want you to think that Aria is a real person. I have to wonder that knowing too much about the author can detract from that possibility.

Hmm. I don’t need to know anything about a writer; I enjoy reading plenty of writers whom I know little to nothing about. For example, I adore Pat Barker but know zip about her beyond the bio blurb that appears on her books. And that’s fine. At the same time, if a writer I like chooses to share more of his/herself, I’m interested. In particular, I’m interested in process (the same goes for artists, actors, etc.). If you’ve read a lot of a particular writer’s fiction, it can be really fun / interesting / instructive to read a memoir/autobiography and see where the ideas came from. Conversely, what’s happening now is that I’m finding writers I might otherwise never have heard of via their blogs—and subsequently adding their books to my “to read” list. I figure if I enjoy their blog-writing, then I’ll probably enjoy their novels.

I may be unique (though I somehow doubt it) but reading a writer’s personal writing doesn’t make his/her characters less real for me. I always view fiction as an alternate reality. It’s kind of like keeping up with friends/relatives that live away. They’re there and you’re here and sometimes you visit. Maybe it’s because I do write that I can separate writer and character and allow for them both to be real. I know my characters aren’t me. They have their own lives. They do and say things I’ve never done. Yet, it’s not like I’m telling them what to do and say. It’s more like I know. Not all at once, but as I write, the story unfolds, as if I were watching it. Which makes them feel real to me. So if my own characters—who I know are creations of my imagination—can on some level be real, then there’s no reason why someone else’s characters can’t also.

I think the concern here stems from the same root as the memoir craze: the general public’s apparent need for stories to be factual. Writers start to worry that if readers realize their stories are (gasp) made up, then they (the readers) won’t find them believable. What is that about? I do not know. Mayhap we need to start a movement to make fiction cool again. Fiction: not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Another thing I’ve said in the past: if a book is well written, you’ll forget that you’re reading. You’ll forget about the words on the page. You’ll forget that someone typed those words. You’ll forget who that person is. Not forever, but for the duration. If you are hyper-aware that you. are. reading. a. book… then the writing is crap. In other words: write well and nothing else (including what you do or don’t know about the writer) should matter. If it does, then it’s the reader who has a problem, not the writer.

Name Dropping

Back in November, I wrote a post about the annoying overuse of brand names in popular fiction. Well, apparently I’m in good company. Maud Newton posts:

Jessa Crispin hates what she calls “the Emo Boy writers.” (I particularly like her observation that “emo boys namedrop because it’s the only way they know how to explain someone.” Too many contemporary authors replace the individual experience with its pop-cultural echo. Why should anyone read a story if its characters can be evoked solely by reference to punk’s heyday or bad 80’s television?)


One of the better “suggestions for writers” lists that I’ve seen: Being Able to Write: Lessons from Other Writers, New and Well-Seasoned.

As always, I need to work on numbers 3, 9, and 14:

3. Schedule your writing.
9. Always carry a writing notebook.
14. Send out your best work, and send it out religiously.


This post on lit mags made me wonder how many writers read literary journals/magazines.

I wonder how it is that such amazing work is left to collect dust in the few bookstores that carry them, or kept insulated in the academic world. If books are the showy muscles of the literary world, then journals are the blood: hidden, self-renewing, and essential.

Since we started TC, I don’t spend near as much time reading other literary journals as I used to. We keep talking about reviving Conundrums to Guess and journal reviews was one of the ideas. It would be a good exercise to read one journal a month and review it. Would be great if a bunch of TCers did this. Perhaps a use for the wiki Bellman was testing?


Check out Debbie Ohi’s new comic: Will Write for Chocolate 🙂