"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Where I'm Writing From

It was bound to happen.  I saw it coming.  After all, one can't just go to Starbucks everyday and pay full price for espresso and a water when both can be had for free at home.  At least, I can't.  Application fees are fast approaching; I could easily pay for one with a week's worth of studying at Starbucks.

So here I am, at home, at my kitchen table, not really minding it as much as I thought I might.  Deril has been very supportive of my time spent writing, and besides, he's all caught up in watching "Dark Knight Rises" so I may as well not even be here.  Even the kitties are leaving me alone.

I am procrastinating, though.  I don't really have a topic for this post beyond the first paragraph, and I thought of that on my way home.

I'm currently reading "A Permanent Member of the Family" by Russell Banks.  It's a collection of short stories, an Advanced Reader's Copy I got through work.  I've never read Russell Banks before, but I thought it might be a good idea to get myself back in the groove of short story writing by reading some.  You see, part of my reason for starting this blog in the first place was to get my writer's brain flowing.  While I would ultimately like to be a novelist, I am fascinated by the short story ever since I took my last class as an undergraduate in college.  It was called "Creative Writing for Non-Majors" and book-ended my college career very nicely since the first class I took in college was "Introduction to Creative Writing" or something like that because that was why I went to UC Santa Cruz - to be a Creative Writing major.

Bless my 18-year old heart, I thought I knew everything about writing.  I had, after all, already written a manuscript, just waiting for some editor or publishing house to look at it and call it the best thing ever written by a 16 year old.  The most exciting point in my life at that time had been when I'd submitted it to Avon/Flare's young adult novel competition.  What, you say?  No, I didn't win.

I couldn't hack the Intro class.  Truthfully, I was intimidated, but I told myself I just didn't like other writers.  They were too boastful, always wanting to talk about their writing and give out advice.  I was a quiet writer, kept it to myself, and I overestimated myself.  I barely remember that class, finishing it out, but once done, I began to pour through the UCSC catalog to find another major.

Four years later, I had lost my false confidence and gained some humility, so while looking for a final class to take to complete my undergraduate career, I stumbled upon this "Creative Writing for Non-Majors."  Cool.  No intimidation factor at all (I still wasn't sure I liked other writers).

I wrote a good short story for that class, and then I wrote another.  I read even more, all written by the other students.  I had already fallen in love with Raymond Carver and his short story collection, "Where I'm Calling From."  What I love about the short story is how much you have to pack into a short amount of space, how far you decide to go with it, when to end it.  Every short story I read leaves me asking the question "what did the author mean by this?"  I love that.  A long time ago, at the beginning of this blog, I wrote a piece about interpretation.  Interpretation is the number one thing I loved about studying literature.  Reading is a personal experience; no matter what the author might have meant while writing it, the reader is allowed to take whatever she wants from it.  It screams, "what do YOU think?"  Independent thought is gospel at UC Santa Cruz and probably one of the things I value most about my time there.

Anyway, "Splitting Poles" is supposed to be a short story collection interspersed with poetry, which I used to think I was good at.  I haven't written any in a long time so I'm not sure anymore.  About poetry, that is.  I think I might be still okay at the short story, but I need to write one. . .any suggestions?

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