Monday, August 31, 2009

Year Two Begins

What a difference a year makes. I feel more confident (speaking in class or volunteering to read), but have the same lack of confidence in regard to having my writing critiqued. Anxiety pumps through my veins in stead of blood. I think it has a lot to do with the subject of my story and the characters and what I'm trying to do (and I'm not even certain what I'm trying to do). Oh well, I volunteered to go first in workshop and I will go forward and submit the story. If I get anything out of this program it's going to be the ability to submit my work and be proud of it. So far, I'm pretty proud with the first two scenes of my story. The ending is a bit trickier, but it'll all come together as it usually does.

So, I had workshop tonight with four new fiction writers. Our group has a nice mixture of old and new faces, which is a good thing I think. It's going to be nice having new faces around, not that I'm sick of the old or anything, it's just nice. Tomorrow I have one more class and then I'm done for the week. I need to set up a writing schedule.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I'm purging the old today.

Old clothes.
Old papers from last year.
Old attitudes (I hope).
Old habits (I really hope).

School starts in a few more days and I'm trying to start off on the right foot. Part of me wants a do-over of last year (academically speaking, not that I bombed anything, but it would be nice to start off with a more confident head and a better use of my time). Oh well. I'm taking three classes: memoir workshop, fiction workshop, and a special studies in the novel, which I'm on the fence about. I'm not sure that we'll be reading full novels, so how am I going to learn anything? The prof always amazes me, so I'm sure something will leak in through osmosis.

New items of little to no importance:
  • Movie updates: The Proposal (rating - B), District 9 (A-), Inglorious Basterds (A), Boy in the Striped Pajamas (not a new release, A), Bandslam (B), I Love You Man (A), Fly Me To the Moon (D-), Disfigured (B-), Julie and Julia (A), and a few others.
  • Writing update: I'm working on a new short story. My goal is to volunteer to be workshopped first in fiction this semester. I'm extremely anxious about my story being taken seriously. Who knows. I'm coming to accept that I'm not a traditional literary writer and I never have been. I think a lot of the trouble I had this last year was trying to be something that I'm really not. I do feel like I write in a literary way, I'm just not about the crafting of overly floral sentences that make your mind spin. Not my style. I'd rather go for a dark humor or bizarre characters and plot lines. If this story doesn't go as well as I'd like, my backup plan is to do a revision of something that I've never workshopped. Part of me feels like this is cheating, but then, maybe I should go a little easier on myself this semester.
  • Reading update: I've put "Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician" on hold for the time being to read George Saunders, TC Boyle and Kurt Vonnegut. I'm working on Vonnegut's short story collection "Welcome to the Monkey House" at present. I like some of the stories and others, not so much. I love Saunders though. He's probably the first short story writer that I've connected with, for whatever reason. I actually feel semi productive reading these things--like I'm getting back into the school vibe.
  • Submissions: I'll have three stories ready to send out next month. My goal was to do a little bit more editing of old things, but I'm happy to be where I am. Hopefully I'll have some success. Can't stop trying though.
  • I feel like taking a road trip. Maybe it's the fact that the heat is gone and it's like 72 degrees out right now. SO beautiful. I actually used my comforter last night and not just a sheet. It was cold in my room when I woke up. I should really be outside and not blogging, but I promised myself to work on my story today (I'm procrastinating obviously).
  • I want to buy a new desk chair--the one I have is not conducive to hours and hours of writing. Alas, I won't be able to get one for a few months, if that.
  • Is it weird that I'm already looking forward to Christmas?
  • My birthday is in 23 days--I'm feeling the effect of the years. I will likely be a spinster forever. No use in fighting it 'eh? Embrace the inevitable.
  • I have an odd fascination with apes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preparing for the New Semester

School starts in like 12 days and I'm both excited and apprehensive about it. September is not supposed to be a great month for me, according to my horoscope, and yes, I do take the stars seriously. So... we'll see how it goes. It's odd that I likely only have a year of classes left. I could stretch it out through December 2010, if I want, to work on my thesis, but I could be completely done with an MFA by May, if I push it. I doubt that will happen. I've been thinking lately that this has been probably one of the most emotionally draining years of my life. My writing has slowed down to a trickle, compared to what I was producing before I applied for MFA programs. So I guess that's what caused this uncomfortable writing block--MFA application deadlines of December 2007 and January 2008. That's a really long time to not have fun.

Anyway... I'm reading an awesome book right now. I've never seen the movie "Big Fish" adapted from the novel by Daniel Wallace and I only picked up his book "Mr. Sebastian and The Negro Magician" because it had a pretty sweet cover (see right) and the back synopsis sounded cool. Taking such a chance, and literally buying a book for it's cover, I'm happy to say that I'm in love with Wallace's writing style. He has completely captivated me and I'm only about 70 pages in. I even picked up his other novel "Ray in Reverse" today at a used book store. There's something really magical about this book and his writing--puts me in the mood to write, which is a good thing, considering all I've said above.

It's like 90 degrees outside--or 10,000 degrees in my bedroom. I can't stand not having (or using, cause the house I live in has A/C they just don't turn it on until AFTER the house is like 1,000,000 degrees hot) air conditioner. Perhaps I'm spoiled by my Texas ways, where A/C is as important as heating oil. Honestly though... it gets HOT up here. I'm just glad the whole summer isn't like this. I think I can manage a few uncomfortable days, not a whole summer.

To do list before school:
  • Prepare "Jesus in a Confederate Flag" for round to submissions
  • Prepare "Simple Requests" and possible "Safe Haven" for round one submissions
  • Get my eyes checked.
  • Buy some good winter boots.
  • Write skeletons for two stories (for workshop)
  • Plan out 5-6 essays for memoir
  • Read, read, read
  • Watch as many summer movies as possible

Monday, August 3, 2009

Round Two?

So, I heard back from The Paris Review today--no go on my story. I'm preparing for round two though. So I'll probably start researching journals to send to and edit a few of my other stories as well.


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