If any of you are saying, “Who the helvetica is David Foster Whatsit?” please don’t go yet! Yes, this month’s nonfiction revolves around a particular person, BUT the meat of the book is about something more broad: writing. The craft, the business, the joys and pitfalls and neuroses thereof. I chose it for this month’s Let’s Dewey This because his insights are so incredibly relatable that I thought you guys – my fellow wordslingers – would like to read them.
I’m so excited to announce that my short story Log Jam has been published by a lovely journal called The Bohemyth. This piece, about the often inexplicable nature of depression, is very dear to me and was in submission for a long time, so I’m deeply thankful it found a home. It would mean the world to me if you read it.
We’ve probably all heard the adage, “Give yourself permission to write crap,” but I want to talk about it because it’s such an important one. We must face the inevitability that not every word we type will be fabulous, and that’s okay. We are allowed to be imperfect. Welcome it, embrace it. It’s your right as a human.
Happy May, everyone! I’m feeling particularly chipper today because I am FINALLY getting over a brutal cold. Ugh. This thing was a monster. The moment I realized I could swallow again without pain was a hallelujah occasion, and the first night I noticed I wasn’t coughing up a lung and half my spleen felt like a deer eating out of my hand. “KEEP VERY STILL… DON’T COUGH… DON’T… COUGH…”
While I was sick, I had plans to go to the famous Los Angeles Festival of Books on April 23rd, and after missing it every year thus far, I was determined to go even if I had to wear a face mask and be carted around in a wheelbarrow. Come on, guys. It’s a FESTIVAL… of BOOKS! I had to.
This month’s nonfiction read is a fascinating account of going undercover in the secretive and oppressive dictatorship of North Korea. Suki Kim is a Korean-American journalist who infiltrated a North Korean university as a teacher, during the reign of Kim Jong-il in 2011. Here is some info I found the most interesting in her book:
Today is my birthday!! Woooo! “Growing up” is lame and I refuse to do it, but birthdays are awesome. To celebrate turning the big three-oh, I decided to write 30 one-line stories. Because… challenge? Novelty? Masochism?? It was a lot harder than expected. But also fun. Some are silly and some are serious. Some have only a few words and some make abundant use of commas. I hereby present: Noel’s Thirty for Thirty~
I don’t like the term “Strong Female Character.”
That does not mean I prefer weak female characters. This is not a black and white world in which you either swing swords with swagger or cower in a corner. There’s a vast spectrum in between.
The reason I can’t stand the term “strong female characters” is because women described that way are usually one-dimensional, monotone cutouts of what the writer thinks a strong woman is. Often she’s a woman who can shoot a gun or throw a punch, and that’s enough. She never cries or feels uncertain or has any internal struggle whatsoever, unless of course it’s just for a minute to get the plot going and then she knows exactly how to deal with it. (Probably by shooting a gun.)
Pretty much the second my post about waiting for agent responses hit your screens last month, rejections hit my inbox. You know that saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs?” For me, it was raining No’s and Also No’s.
I took it hard – harder than I should have for someone who’s been through this before with another novel. The reason is something I’m going to confess to you even though it casts me in an unflattering light, because… I don’t know, there’s just something about you, random internet stranger, that makes me feel like I can open up to you.
1. The first and best choice is to hide. A potted plant is a good choice. Use the plant as coverage while you sneak to a secure area. If the person looks at you, freeze. This tactic has been proven successful by many cartoons.
2. If the person has already spotted you, make loud noises and wave your arms. This will make you appear threatening. This will also work if the person is a bobcat.
3. If the person does not run away and instead asks you annoying questions like, “Why are you yelling and waving your arms,” then play dead. Cover your head to protect against annoying questions about why you are on the floor. This will also work if the person is a bear.
4. Should the person continue speaking to you, grab your nearest emergency pole vault and leap over them. Make sure your emergency pole vault is always handy. That point cannot be stressed enough.
5. If you have irresponsibly left your pole vault at home, stay silent as they talk to you but do not break eye contact. DO NOT BREAK EYE CONTACT. This will unnerve them to the point of leaving.
When performed correctly, the above tactics will free you of everyone you have never wanted to talk to. Best of luck, fellow hermits!
This is a tough subject. A meaty subject. A big ol’ gristly steak of a subject that takes a lot of chewing and will not be thoroughly digested within a single blog post, but let’s dig our teeth in, shall we?
As writers, our characters probably look, act, and live like people we’re used to. If you’re white and straight, your characters are probably white and straight, because that’s what you know, and writing someone black or gay or Muslim or in a wheelchair takes some extra thought.
But here’s a really cool thing: the world is a far more interesting place than just white and straight (and male, and Christian, and able-bodied, etc etc), and there should be stories to reflect that. Because all stories deserve to be told. As citizens of the earth we have a duty to represent more than just our limited bubbles.