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.
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.
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~
There are few things more grating to me than the insta-love trope seen so often in fiction. This device essentially involves shoving two characters in the same room, then poking them with a stick until they have nowhere else to go but each other’s arms.
The development of their relationship usually looks like this:
It’s been a year since Slink Chunk Press published this short story, so to honor the occasion I am reprinting it here. Enjoy!
They say that everything is made from everything. Matter never disappears, it just becomes new matter. A cell from your skin catches a southeast breeze and eventually gets inhaled by a penguin; an atom expelled in some dinosaur dung finds its way over the eons to your pomegranate tea; a molecule from the sweat that glistened on Caesar’s temple evaporated and is now raining into your car through the window you left open.
We’re all just cosmos junk, recycled. Never ending, only changing. Ever since the universe’s first big sneeze, all that energy has been riding its waves wherever it can go, moving from one place to another. Perpetual tourists, all of us.
So then what happens if a bit of energy changes its mind? Has a change of heart on the metaphysical interstate and decides to detour over the center divider, head the opposite way?
Decides to come back?
It’s as ubiquitous as “Show, don’t tell.” You probably can’t even remember the first time you heard it, it’s touted so widely – in advice books, in classrooms, in movies about writers. Even the most non-writiest nonwriter who hasn’t held a pen since high school knows to write what we know.
But what does that actually mean?
Welcome back and happy 2017! A couple news items:
Firstly, I’ve started going by my middle name, Noel. (As in, the Christmasy pronunciation of Noel. NOT the one that rhymes with *roll* which is what my eyes do whenever someone says it like that, hehe.) My full name will still be listed on my blog and Twitter, as that is what I’ll be published as, but amongst friends and such I’d like to be called Noel. 🙂
Secondly, I’m adopting a new system for how I’ll be blogging each week of the month:
A full year ago today, I was honored to have this flash fiction published by Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. This is my personal favorite of my work, so to celebrate its anniversary I am reprinting it here. I hope you enjoy! 🙂
Rain fell the day he went to the shore, to see the place where his wife left him. Grey weighted the clouds like sacks full of stones, sagging closer and closer to the sea. Grey upon grey, water upon water, the sea and sky took hands. The way he once took hers.
She never held his hand long. Always wrenching from his grasp, her flesh still as slippery as a seal. Sometimes she would oblige him, sit shaking like a penned animal as he made hushing noises and rubbed her knuckles with his thumbs.
Please let me love you, he would say. I’ve earned it. I found your skin.
In only 1 more day, thousands of writers across the globe will be mopping their brows, nursing their keyboard-burnt fingers, and collapsing into piles of first draft pages. That’s right – NaNoWriMo is almost complete. Three cheers to all those who faced the challenge!
For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write as close to 50,000 words as you can between November 1st and 30th.
I personally don’t participate, but I get asked a lot if I do, so I thought I’d write a post explaining why. This isn’t to knock the NaNo’ers, just to provide my own perspective.
Two years ago I read an amazing book called “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron, full of warm-hearted wisdom about the creative process, self-doubt, self-criticism, and motivation. I’ve recommended this book to a number of writers since then, and decided today I would share the notes I took while reading, in hopes that you find them as encouraging as I did.
(These are part quotes, part summaries, typed here exactly as I penned them in my notebook. I’ve made bold the ones that most resonated with me.)