Sunday, July 18, 2010

His Dark Materials - by Philip Pullman

A beautifully written, imaginative, thought provoking, and emotionally compelling series I'm sad to have finished.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Seashell Radio

Lovely, talented, independent band from Tucson. Plus the cellist writes deeply engaging stories--I'm lucky to have taken a course or two with Esmé Schwall at the U.

Seashell Radio... Take a listen to "Plans" or "Black Dress," or really any of them.

What I learned walking

After stressing over a query letter for hours last night to the point I couldn't sleep, couldn't write, couldn't eat  (and I promise, that's extremely unusual), I took a walk. Walking's good for stress, and once in a while, some nugget of truth or enlightenment descends.

Now, this isn't new or genius, but neither is a deep breath of warm, evening Tucson air--down, down into starved lungs.

What I learned? In my query letter... just be myself. Yes, be professional and witty and beautiful--if I can--but at bottom, my book came from inside me and so should my query. What a freeing realization! Yay for walking (and being able to eat).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Writers, we "need to get out of our heads and into the world..."

 "Sometimes I feel that writers intentionally make an effort to fail as business people." --ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors)

From an interesting article on marketing your writing: interview of Katharine Sands of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gluten, Kneading, and Writing

A few days ago I made sandwich bread from scratch under the careful, Nazi-like tutelage of my good friend and food buddy.

I learned a few things:

1. Bread takes a long time! Especially if you're no expert kneader, getting the gluten right so that it can pass the windowpane test (stretch the dough gently until it's translucent but unbreaking), is a monstrous task.
        --Well, I should add that it's most difficult for people who aren't "firm but gentle." Which brings me to my next point.
2. Bread takes a long time when you keep tearing the gluten. Rather than working the gluten, letting the mysterious world of chemistry have its way, I kneaded too hard and tore the stuff, which set me back more than a half hour.
3. This is because I'm rough with things!
       --When things don't work - or aren't working fast enough - I get rough... and I realized that this extends to my writing. I delete like crazy. Whole chunks, pages, chapters, stories, books. Write, delete, write, delete.

I wonder if I'm tearing the gluten....