Rule-breaking Female Characters

4 Mothers

Admittedly, I was a little unsure of what I would write about when Nathalie suggested this for our theme this week.  I sat at the desk in our basement office, hoping for inspiration but instead re-arranged the pens in their various glass holders and stared at the blank wall in front of me trying to decide which would be a better fit: a mirror or an oversized framed print.

When I am stressed or anxious I like to lose myself among my shelves of books.  In comparison to most serious book lovers, say for instance Nathalie, my collection is modest but I find something soothing about running my fingers along the spines of books, some of which have been with me for nearly two decades.

In an effort to procrastinate, I pulled my favourite chapter books from my girlhood and arranged them on the floor at the foot of my…

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Can National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘Let the Right One In’ Pave the Way for Horror on the Stage?

This is for all you horror, scifi, and weird fiction authors/playwrights out there!

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Throughout the National Theatre of Scotland’s Let the Right One In, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and Tomas Alfredson‘s film, audiences are subjected to a parade of lyrically gruesome images: a man tied upside-down to a tree, his throat perfunctorily slit and drained into a bucket; another man literally self-effacing with acid; a diminutive teenage girl in a candy-pink sweater whose mouth brims with vomit when she actually tries to eat candy, and whose face cascades with blood every time she enters a home uninvited. All of this stirs a reverent, rapt silence in the audience. This is not the type of play where spectators listlessly turn to their programs mid-show, pretending that looking up the catering credits will somehow enhance their experience.

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Grammar Goofs

Columbia Writers

grammar goofs

by Jennifer Michael/DeviantFeather

Most of us start writing because we have ideas, thoughts or insights that we’d want to share, we hope to effect our world in some way, to change other’s opinions to match our own.

For most readers, I’ve already lost them. Why on earth would you listen to anything I have to say if I can’t keep my grammar straight? Affect vs. effect. Other’s vs. others’. Oxford commas. It’s vs. its. Run-on sentences. Good vs. well. They’re, their, or there? The list is endless, and these simple goofs are a quick way to lose your reader.

Don’t get me wrong, we all make mistakes. Even the most educated writer will miss a comma or switch up their tenses. Misspellings are like cockroaches—there are always more hiding under the surface, populating despite our best efforts. There are also plenty of old-school rules that are now acceptably broken, such…

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On Writing: Fiction, Journalism, Punk, Clichés, & the Big-A Art

Beyond the lines of printed words in my books are the settings in which the books were imagined and without which the books could not exist.

–Joyce Carol Oates, “To Invigorate Literary Mind, Start Moving Literary Feet

 

I’ve lately been enjoying a pretty terrific variety of articles on writing and writers, and rather than spotlight only one or simply recap already well-written works, I’ll give them to you here as a list. Keep things short n’ sweet. These are in no particular order and all of them I’d recommend as good reading for artists and consumers of art alike.


 

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30 Art-Writing Clichés to Ditch in the New Year

Ben Davis, Monday, January 5, 2015

Davis does a tremendous job here of outlining thirty cliches rampant within the art-writing community–a list that’s not only useful for art-writers and critics, but that’s also illuminating for artists and consumers of art looking to learn more about the art and art critic’s worlds (not to mention about the power and artistry of the work of art-writing specifically and of nonfiction writing generally).


If you’re at all interested in feminist punk, feminist writing, punk music memoirs, or punk music/music history, then you’re going to definitely enjoy Viv Albertine’s (guitarist for The Slits) latest memoir, Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys, all about her journey to becoming a Slit, and Caroline Sullivan’s interview of both Albertine and producer Dennis Bovell regarding the origins of The Slits’ legendary Cut album.

We were all virgins when it came to composing and writing, but we liked the ideology of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood: always questioning things. That fed into our music. We knew we were a first, which could be uncomfortable, and we were much more revolutionary than the Pistols and the Clash. They were rock bands, whereas we were using world music and reggae, filtered through our own musicality.

—Albertine, interview with Sullivan


1banbookreview

To Invigorate Literary Mind, Start Moving Literary Feet

By JOYCE CAROL OATES

This is just like it sounds–hot writing advice from the giant herself, Joyce Carol Oates, circa 1999.

To write is to invade another’s space, if only to memorialize it. To write is to invite angry censure from those who don’t write, or who don’t write in quite the way you do, for whom you may seem a threat. Art by its nature is a transgressive act, and artists must accept being punished for it. The more original and unsettling their art, the more devastating the punishment.


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A paper by Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel was accepted by two scientific journals

One journal congratulates the authors on their paper being accepted. (Alex Smolyanitsky) (Vox)
One journal congratulates the authors on their paper being accepted. (Alex Smolyanitsky) (Vox)

A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals.

Of course, none of these fictional characters actually wrote the paper, titled “Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations.” Rather, it’s a nonsensical text, submitted by engineer Alex Smolyanitsky in an effort to expose a pair of scientific journals — the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the comic sans-loving Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology.


 

1banbookreview

Despite Tough Guys, Life Is Not the Only School for Real Novelists

By KURT VONNEGUT Jr.

Again, just what it sounds like. Uncle Kurt, circa 1999.

I paraphrase Aristotle: If you want to be comical, write about people to whom the audience can feel superior; if you want to be tragical, write about at least one person to whom the audience is bound to feel inferior, and no fair having human problems solved by dumb luck or heavenly intervention.


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“Keep typing until it turns into writing”: David Carr’s invaluable advice for journalists


You think writing’s a dream job? It’s more like a horror film


 

And just for fun…

Writing for Love

applesIt’s that time again, that weird Valentine time when people buy chocolates in bulk and plant themselves helplessly in front of a wall of pre-written cards and heart-laden stuffed animals in search for that perfect—well, in search for a gift, at least. For many people (and often even for the most talented and veteran of writers, poets, and epistolarians), Valentine’s Day is largely a time of great stress and frustration, a time when they are uniquely made to face down that great foe: the Love Letter.

But never ye fear! There are many sources out there dedicated to inspiring and helping you to write a better, more creative (and more effective?) love letter.

Just check out these sources, and give the gift of heartfelt writing to yourself and your beloved. It’s never too late to pen something truly from the heart.

A Modern Guide to the Love Letter,” John Biguenet, The Atlantic

When it comes to the greatest love letters ever written, many like to credit those extraordinary intellects of the 12th century, Peter Abelard and his gifted pupil and lover, Heloise. The besotted pair, whose passionate trysts included making love in a corner of the refectory of the convent in which Heloise had been cloistered, were reduced to expressing their affection via written words after Abelard was castrated by Heloise’s enraged uncle…


 

Top 5 Rules for Writing Love Letters,” Hilary Mantel, Alain de Botton, and Jeanette Winterson, The Telegraph

Alain de Botton – writer and philosopher.

1 Don’t let desire turn into neediness. By all means suggest that life would be immeasurably enhanced by the possibility of capturing the attention of the beloved, but don’t suggest that this means one couldn’t survive without them. It’s a very fine line between…


 

How to Write a Love Letter,” Tom Chiarella, Esquire

A long time ago, when I was living in my favorite apartment behind a bamboo patch in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I wrote my first love letter. I can’t remember what I was feeling, but it was big and it felt real. It was a liquid hot afternoon, and I was sitting on my screened porch, enjoying my boredom, thinking that…


 

Johnny Cash’s Love Letter to Wife June Carter Named Most Romantic of All Time,” Stephen L. Betts, Rolling Stone

The idea of penning a love letter to one’s beloved may be outdated, thanks to e-cards, phone messages and texts, but a note from Johnny Cash to wife June Carter Cash may make the case for reviving the tradition. Proving he was not only a talented performer and songwriter, in 1994 Cash composed…


 

Straight from the Heart: The Beast Love Letters,” Alison Flood, The Guardian

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, life insurance company Beagle Street has polled 1,000 people to find the “greatest love letters ever written”. Their list – entirely composed, incidentally, of…


 

Poems for Valentines,” The Poetry Foundation

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P.S. This might also be a good time to write a love letter (of sorts) to your Congressperson about keeping up the fight for marriage equality in the U.S. We’ve had some great successes, but there is still much work to be done.

Let’s Get Bored!—Wait, no… Creative!

What do you think? Do you need to be bored in order to come up with creative ideas…


 


…or is it just a matter of doing away with distractions for a while and simply being/meditating/doodling/brainstorming/daydreaming/wandering/exploring?


One Page Salon – hosted by Owen Egerton

“It’s entertainment and networking on a school night for a brainy crowd that likes to drink, but likes creativity even more. Cheers to the One Page Salon!”

–Why don’t we have one of these in Baltimore already? This event sounds fantastic for artists of all kinds! Check it out, folks: One Page Salon ! (Love it!)

BookPeople's Blog

It’s Tuesday night, it’s cold, it’s raining, and while I know it’s ill advised I have no choice but to take my scooter (decked in my stylish rain jacket and not-so-stylish motorcycle helmet) to the Whip In so I can finally experience what all my writer friends keep telling me about. Owen Egerton’s One Page Salon, they say, why haven’t you been yet?

I arrive what I think is fifteen minutes early but turns out to be forty-five minutes late. The second speaker’s voice (Robert Cipriano) greets me over the loud speaker before I’m even in the building and he’s done by the time I order my drink.

OwenEgertonWhipIn Owen Egerton, host of One Page Salon

Dang it. The One Page Salon starts at 7pm, not 8pm. A mistake I won’t be making again, because now it’s standing room only. So I stand, with my glass of Nortico Alarinho (a…

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