Friday, October 29, 2010

October Closing

It has been several weeks now and I have been in a serious long-term relationship with The Instructions, by Adam Levin. I had an ambitious goal of reading about 100 pages a day to be mostly finished with the 1030 page novel in time for Adam's reading at Quimby's Book Store. I didn't make it past day two. It was very sad. I did continue reading though. I even tried to stay committed to my goal by carrying the book with me everywhere I went. Ben Fountain laughed at me when I told him I wanted to read the book as I traversed around Chicago. (He really did) And I thought, oh Ben Fountain, it will be better than you think. Alas, Ben was right, it was a very trying and annoying thing to whip the book out on buses and trains. It became a constant dilemma of what to take each day given the limited space in my purse and the soreness of my shoulders. (The actual book is lighter than it looks - just 3lbs)

This of course does not reflect the quality of the book. I have been enjoying it. I will say it is very thick in material. This becomes frustrating when I want to stay in scene and am taken out for a stint of background information that will become important a few scenes over. But the stints typically have golden nuggets of information in them that make me smile and carry me along in the book.

I have regathered my momentum and drove back into the book recently. I am just past the 200 page mark. But because I know this relationship is going to be long I want to cheat. Meaning I want to read other books too. This is not an uncommon thing, reading multiple books at at time. However, my type A tendencies make it so I prefer to read one book at a time. Mostly because I do not want to get so far away from one of the many books I might juggle that I have to start over in any one book. (School book not included, yet they are apart of the juggle) I will stay strong. I will make it through all 1030 pages with pleasure and only then will I pick up another "for pleasure" book.

Beyond Book Drama -

I am deep into my new story. I had some trouble getting past a writer's block and fear I would bore my readers with the plot. However, a nice writerly chat with a friend help me see a way out. Her advice, try writing the story in a different medium ie if its fiction your writing try it as a poem etc. Now I'll admit I didnt do that quite, however, I did write some poetry which opened my mind up to where my story could go. I had been thinking about doing different perspectives with this story, but thought it would be too difficult. And she suggested changing perspectives too. And when I finally got some poetry on the page I figured out how the perspective changing could work for me without being too difficult. Now I've been a slave to it and couch sitting. Sometimes I wish the writing process was a little more sexier.

Lastly, AIC volunteer training starts this Saturday. On the list of things to do at training - a museum wide tour. I am excited for this because although I have toured most of the museum myself, having someone go with you that knows everything there might be to know about what your looking at makes it way better.

Now I must part, goodbye October 2010. Never will we meet again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Notes

For Starters -
October has been brimming with appointments and deadlines. My first poetry publication came out this month at Please navigate accordingly to enjoy my short list poem "If She Had Lived I Would."

Also, I turned in my first workshop piece this month. I received what I thought to be my best feedback on any workshop story. The consensus was I had a definite beginning that had promise and an end that was poignant, however, the in between did not connect the two well. Endings are half the battle in my opinion and a beginning is never really what you think it is, so I felt comfortable knowing the middle (a seemingly safe spot) is where the work needs to be done. Time will tell if I change my mind on this, as a little voice says writing towards a determined end always has it's pitfalls.

Moving on -

I have become very interested in winning The New Yorker caption contest at least once. I leave the picture open on a web page for most the day just banging my head against my desk for wit. I haven't made the short list yet, but a new opportunity comes every week so I have hope.

A confession -
After I turned in my workshop story I feel off the writing wagon for about a week and half. It felt so good to finish the piece I basked in the satisfaction perhaps too long. I could protest with a of number excuses as to why I dragged my feet for that week and half, but I won't.

Redemption -
I have began working on the second story for workshop this semester again. Also, I completed my second draft revision for one of my thesis stories. It did not expand to the length I wanted, but the story is complete. I will take a complete story over page count any day. So with some tweaks to my first workshop story I think I will finally be ready to submit to my thesis adviser for the first time this semester. The goal is to frantically (with care) revise my other two stories to give to him by the time he hands my first set back.

In Other News -
I am now a proud volunteer of the Art Institute of Chicago. I will be working at the information desk in the Ryan Education Center Tuesday afternoons 1pm - 5pm. Please come visit.