Tag Archives: Stark Writing Mad

Thoughts on the Oscars

Mostly I write about writing books, or reading books, or reading books when I can’t seem to write anything because my Muse is being intransigent (which, curiously, is one of the same things she calls me). The only time I really talk about movies is when I talk about movies made from books, or vice-versa. But I had to share this:

I found that the best way to handle [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them. […] If I got them cups and awards they’d kill themselves to produce what I wanted. That’s why the Academy Award was created. — Louis B. (“Metro-Goldwyn-“) Mayer

Here’s the source. Enjoy the film.

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Desk of the American Writer

writerdeskLaptop, index cards, legal pad, Parker fountain pen, Japanese teapot, USAnian cup from I think Target, Faberware kettle.

Not pictured: Procrastination, Mild blockage, Trepedation about screwing up the entire book BECAUSE THIS CHAPTER IS FAILING…

Ah well… Plunging back in.

EDIT: For some reason, the thumbnail of the picture I uploaded from my tablet was inverted, while the full version wasn’t. I’ve fixed that. Though since I sometimes  feel tossed and turned upside-down whilst writing, I thought about leaving it that way.

Also, blocked is too strong a word. I don’t think the chapter is failing, and I’m slowly moving forward. I’m told that’s good. The cat says it’s not, but that’s because I use my petting arm to write.


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What I’m Reading: The Transcendental Wraiths

It’s Leap Day, but I’m all out of leaping for now.  A friend of mine in Atlanta is celebrating his official 10th birthday, which is odd because he’s been married since the mid-2000s. I had a long weekend at work, and my cat still hasn’t quite forgiven me for being gone Saturday and Sunday, though I’ve at least convinced her to keep her tail off the keyboard, and told her that swatting me in the elbow with it every few seconds is almost as good. I did get some writing and some technical blog work done this morning, though… 3 1/2 legal-size pages, two notebook pages of notes, and a scribbled index card… and I’m going to try to push out another couple pages after lunch.

I also have two books that I’m reading and since it’s Book Date Day, I get to talk about them a little. I’d talk about the book I read last week, but I’m busy writing one of my rare one-star reviews for Goodreads, and I don’t really want to think about it twice.



The second book will be easier to describe. I usually try to have some sort of non-fiction work on my reading desk at any given time, one I read in nibbles along with the other books I’m reading. A couple of weeks ago, it was The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca (mostly good, though his essay to Nero has a browner nose than a kid wearing a dog costume). Last week, I decided that since I liked his essay on “Self Reliance,” and because I went to see The Old Manse when I was in Concord last fall, I’d finally see what I thought of his philosophy. Verdict so far: Well… I know his essays are better, and he makes some great points in “Nature,” so I’ll give his first published work the benefit of the doubt. God only knows my first published work was ridiculously rotten.

The second book is one I’d wanted to read for a long time. I was a fan of the series Ms Wurts co-wrote with Raymond E Feist (I might… might have even liked her story set in his world a little better than the first trilogy he wrote there) and the Mayfair role-playing aids that we used for our AD&D games back before it was called “First Edition” were constantly being traded and passed around our group. Plus, I’ve heard nothing but good about this intense and involved series, and since I finished the Malazan series last year, I needed something else to move on to. So, last September (around the time I was dealing with a horrible paronychia infection on my right hand… got me to finally stop biting my nails, at least… and traveling up to Massachusetts on our way to Maine, and seeing friends in Rhode Island, and trying to decide if I was blocked on a project and not just stalling) I picked up a copy on my Kindle and plunged into it.

If you’ve read the book, you know that it probably didn’t go well for me. I made it nearly a quarter in before setting it down. This book is filled with wonderful prose and characters that behave accurately, even when you, the reader, can’t understand WHY in the hell they’re doing what they’re doing because any fool can see just what’s going to come of it. (In other words, they do just what we would probably do.) However, there’s a lot going on, sometimes in the foreground and sometimes well offstage, and there’s a lot to keep track of. Like Gardens of the Moon, she doesn’t believe in taking your hand and walking you through. This is one of the features of my favorite fantasy novels that I hope to replicate in my own writing, but at that moment, I couldn’t focus on it. As much as I liked the characters, I was completely lost, and I finally set it down so I could read some shorter, more intense fiction.

I am so glad I picked it up again. I always tell myself I’ll give any book two chances. Sometimes that doesn’t work (like last week) but other times, I’m very much rewarded for my perserverence. If you read this (and really, you should) make sure you have a few hours, or a day, to devote to getting into it. Don’t be afraid to take notes. Also, don’t be afraid to yell at the page… I do that a lot, too. I still only have a bare inkling of what the story holds, but this time through, I feel like a fantastic field is opening up before me, enticing me, and allowing me to enjoy its pleasures, now that I’ve committed to giving it all the time it needs.

What are you reading? I’m always looking for a good recommendation or ten.

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Workshopping Wednesday: New Themes

It’s not exactly the kind of editing I usually talk about on Wednesday, but one thing writers often forget to take care of is their online presence. And I know from bitter (and yet occasionally amusing) experience, the only thing worse than no blog is either a crappy blog or one that is never updated. Today, I’m going to link to some articles about blog editing, themes, and other fun things we can do to get our name out there without buying an hour-long infomercial on public access TV.

First up:  From the early theme adopters at WordPress, here is a new theme which seems promising. I think it may be too focused on pictures to serve this blog, but I really like the way it feels. Check it out.

Early Theme Adopters:  Sorbet

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