Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is how I feel some days...

There is a little hamburger place back home and its sign reads as follows: "We know youre hunger"

I have boycotted the place simply because they had an epic signage fail. For real. Not that hard people. I still don't know if they were trying to say "We know you're hungry" OR "We know your hunger." Either way, someone needs to be visited by Apostrophe Man...

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to be a Literary Fan "Person"

Okay, so yes, I have already posted one big long post today. However, I would like to point out that reading over 100 pages of critical work is all work and no play. As a creative person I really needed to play, so below are my Top Thirteen Ways to be a Literary FanGirl/Boy (because ten is just too few)

  1. You need to own shirts that say things like... "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" and "We're all a little bit mad here" and "I write therefore I am."
  2. You are addicted to books. Meaning they are your crack (this idea will be expanded upon in a later post). You own about as many unread books as you do read books... and you keep buying more. Really, you just can't help it.
  3. The accessory you are most proud of is your pen. And yes, you have a favorite. It's the one you don't lend to people. (Individuals who are not literary fanpeople will not understand this at all, they may even give you a weird look, but we know better.)
  4. You get overly excited when TV shows make obscure literary references.
  5. You have a twitter account just so you can follow your favorite authors.
  6. You buy new books based solely on the fact your favorite authors had nice things to say about it. These nice things are plastered on the cover and call out to you when you walk past - they are impossible to ignore.
  7. You get more excited about books being released than Twilight fans do about a new movie. (Really those kids are hardcore and scary...)
  8. You own a Shakespeare's Insult mug (or something like it) from Barnes and Nobel; and if not you REALLY want one but no one has given it to you for Christmas because you have too much literary stuff already.
  9. You firmly believe that the book is better than the movie. And really, it usually is.
  10. You broke down and now own an E-Reader of some kind. You love it and have already downloaded more books than you can read in the foreseeable future, but you still need to own a hard copy of the book. (You just trust it more. Technology scares us to an extent...)
  11. You go to the bookstore and look at your favorite books on the shelf. Of course you don't need to buy them, you just like to visit old friends and see how their doing. 
  12. Bookstores also become a home away from home. If you are gone from your home for an extended amount of time you not only have a sixth sense about where the closest Barnes and Nobel is but go there to feel less homesick. 
  13. You want to make fliers of this and give it to people so they'll learn a thing or two (not too...)
And there you have it.

It's okay to doggy-paddle

Okay, this is not one of those blogs that will have your sides-splitting and you laughing so hard you cry; I'll be thrilled if I can get a chuckle out of you. However, I hope what I have to say is interesting or maybe even relatable to someone.

The past few days my campus has hosted the Children's Literature Association Conference. This is a time where all of us Children's Lit people come together (from all over the world) and get to be nerds together. This was also my first conference. 

So, going to this conference has just made me realize how right brained I am. Conferences have the things called Paper Sessions (insert dramatic music here). They are about as fun as they sound. You go and listen to 3-4 people present their papers (usually they all have something in common) and then you get to ask them questions about it. Pretty straight forward. I was in one of these paper sessions at 9:30 one morning and I think I have to paint you a picture for you to really understand how I felt.

Picture this. You are swimming in the ocean, but you don't really know how to swim; you're doggy-paddling. In the shallow part you're pretty much okay. You ride the waves as they come and float along. Well, then you get brave. You doggy-paddle yourself out into the open ocean. Soon, the waves begin to crash over you and sweep you away. Not enough that you're going to drown or anything, I mean you can still keep your head above the water, but most times you're closer to sinking than swimming.

I am that swimmer. All of this critical stuff was way mostly over my head. Granted, my brain doesn't start working until 10 am... but yeah. I remember sitting in the discussion thinking, how do you all understand what they've said enough to ask questions? What am I doing wrong? What am I even doing here? I can now relate to a sore thumb.

BUT! There was hope!

Two events made it worth while. 1) The Harry Potter paper session (which sadly two of the presenters didn't show up for) and 2) The writer's panels.

Ahhh. The Writer's Panel. Where I no only know how to swim, but can possibly surf. That is a language I can speak. Not only speak, but get really SUPER fan girl over. And I think that is what I'll focus on in my next post - how to be a literary fan girl.

So what I'm saying in this long(ish) post is that, yes as a writer I would like to know about theory and symbolism and all of that stuff critical people look at and spend so much time talking about. I mean, it's obviously worth while for some people, and it's okay that I'm not one of them. But, you can't be totally ignorant to it. To be a good writer you have to be a good reader and to be a good reader you need to understand what you're reading. So, doggy-paddling is a totally acceptable method of swimming, just as long as you don't let it tire you out.

Let's Get One Thing Straight...

So off the bat I would like to mention that I am a creative writer. Yes, it's not a job description but who I am summed up in one phrase. I am currently working on my MFA and don't really expect to get a huge following with this blog. But no matter. As Melinda Haynes says, "...Write for yourself and celebrate writing." That is what I plan to do.

What is a creative writer? You may ask. How does that describe you as a person?
Here are listed a few things I have come to observe in myself and other creative writers in my program...

1) We are not wholly organized. We try very hard, but typically come up a bit short. Sure, there are many aspects where we may be incredibly structured, and at least for me, those are few and far between areas of my life.

2) The voices in our heads ARE real. They don't tell use to burn things - just to write things down.

3) As far as we're concerned we have an abusive relationship with our work. Sometimes it abuses us and other times we abuse it. But in the end we put all differences aside and come together.

4) We find inspiration EVERYWHERE. So yes, there is a good chance if you annoy use enough you will get into a book. However, you may die a very slow and very painful death there. Or we just might make you look like an idiot for forever. ON THE OTHER HAND, if we love you you will live forever.

5) Our characters are real people. Not like in #4 but as in they are real to us. We know our characters better than we know ourselves on most occasions.

6) We understand books better than people sometimes, and might understand people better because of books. We know that people develop, just like plots and characters, it just takes time.

7) For #7 I would like to say: I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC! However, for those writers (for example Hemingway) I can totally understand how a get drink helps get those chapters out before a deadline.

8) We are either always reading, writing, or thinking about what we are reading or writing.

9) More often than not we always have a book and a notebook on hand. Inspiration can strike like lightening.

10) You correct incorrect grammar everywhere. Even though you don't have perfect grammar yourself.

Here is someone else take. I think we share some of the same ideas...

This will be a blog about writing. The process. The pain. And well, my life. Because if there is anything I've learned, you can't separate the life of a writer from their work. It sneaks in there somehow...