So, I know I promised a deep and meaningful post about race & diversity in literature, but let’s just say that I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy for that today. I did, however, write 1498 words of a totally new opening to the old novel I’m working on with my OG writing partner!
Well, while The Baby is napping, and C’s off feeding a friend’s cats and picking up his brother’s dog, I thought I’d try to pop up a quick entry. I’m working on finishing up my grant report for the Teacher Creativity Grant that led to the creation of this blog (fellow educators, GO APPLY!) and will post that shortly. I’ve also been doing some literary archaeology and re-reading the big, sprawling, terrifying novel draft that I was working on with a friend for several years (but no updates since… yikes, January 2015!). Continue reading Blast from the Past→
Last week in American Literature we did one of my favorite projects–unearthed from the vault, so to speak–based on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. It’s a collection of poems, each written from the point of view of a former resident (now deceased) of Spoon River. The poems are intertwined, revealing the connections between the lives of the Spoon River-ers, showing town life from various angles.
Today is a wonderful day, and a terrible one: I’m headed to Hawaii for the first time ever! I’m going for my cousin’s wedding, with my husband and without our son (which is both awesome and terrible, of course). And, being a well-organized person, I obviously was up packing until almost 2am, up with the baby at 3:30, up for the flight at 6, patted down and bag-searched thanks to my breastfeeding supplies… and about to spend the next 14 hours on planes/in airports (if I’m lucky… if anything gets delayed, it’ll be longer!).
But, as I sat in the waiting area with Cameron, we were joking about trying to find a way to write off this trip on our taxes as a writing expense. Sadly, I’m not working on anything set in Hawaii… and none of my cousins are getting married in post-apocalyptic Siberia this year.
So, dear readers, where in the world would you go to research a novel if you could go anywhere in the world? Continue reading Aloha!→
Today at Janet Reid’s blog, they’re talking about pseudonyms. The discussion was brought on by a particular case in which a man published poetry under a pseudonym that was deliberately chosen to sound Asian (the man is white). Sherman Alexie, one of my faves, writes about the situation here, in case you’re interested in more info.
So, the commentariat at Janet’s place are now discussing the issue, but from the perspective of writers seeking representation: should you use a pseudonym? If so, should you tell your agent?
We’re reading The Picture of Dorian Gray in Novels this semester, and since we’ve been reading about how well Basil captures Dorian’s essence in his portrait, our first creative project is to annotate selfies (or photos of ourselves, for the student who says he refuses to ever take a selfie on moral grounds) to show what our appearances reveal about our true natures*.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young (Wo)man – click to see larger!
One of the things that was mentioned in multiple MWW workshops this year was the idea that–to the dismay of Victorians–phrenology has been disproven; that is, there are much more important things about your character than details of appearance. At her MWW one-day intensive session, The Writer’s Survival Kit, Martha Brockenbrough begged us, “Please don’t start with your protagonist waking up in bed and catching sight of herself in the mirror. Isn’t there a whole lot of stuff that’s more important to know about your character than that she has green eyes?” Continue reading She Hath a Lovely Face: Characterization & Beauty→
So, I am the sort of person who works best when others are around, even if I’m not talking to them. When left unsupervised, I have a tendency to procrastinate horribly unless I’m going to have to perform shortly with a hard deadline (this is why teaching works well for me–with literal bells ringing to tell me what to do next–and writing novels is a struggle, even though I really enjoy writing!).