Archived Posts

Displaying posts 281 - 290 of 878

Thesis matters

Wednesday May 28, 2008 @ 12:36 PM (UTC)

It occurs to me that I haven’t talked too much about the nuts and bolts of my MFA program here, which is generally by design; however, now that this site is more officially part of my semi-professional authorialness, I thought I would mention my thesis.

I quickly resolved, on joining the MFA program, to work on short stories. I didn’t feel that I wanted to commit to just one story (a novel) for the whole time, and wanted to work with different voices, settings and styles as I learned. This dictated a collection of short stories as my final creative manuscript (dubbed ‘thesis’ in the program.) Then, my first semester in the program, I wrote two thematically similar pieces of fabulism which my advisor thought particularly strong, and he suggested I pursue the theme further.

So it is that I ended up writing fourteen short stories and two microfictions in the program, but only putting seven stories in my thesis. “Burgerdroid” and four other viable stories (two are dead-end drafts) are not in the manuscript.

So I have a somewhat odd accomplishment sitting in front of me: seven carefully arranged stories under the title of “Sea Selves”. Though it fills 120 pages in the program-approved format, the collection might only be 70 book pages, too short for a legitimate short story collection. I feel like I have no more ideas for this theme – and yet, I felt that way before the last story or two, some of the strongest, were written. Is this a full book? Have I written a book? And yet, even if I have, short story collections are rarely saleable. Whatever my pride and enthusiasm may dictate, I will probably just send the stories off individually to markets and work on my first novel.

But whatever the pragmatic verdict on my ‘first book’ may be, I am proud and relieved. This was a strange, ambitious project and it came together. Came together well, I dare say. I managed to discipline my creative impulses and turn them, more and more each semester, towards one goal. I even wrote my longest story yet, 29 pages, a much different mental task from the 10 page tales I often write. All these are important steps towards being able to finish a long manuscript. A few days ago, I took the important symbolic step of putting pen to paper, writing down a working title and the first few lines of dialogue. My first novel is underway. Graduation is one month from today. A world of change beckons.

New word: the flurry!

Tuesday May 27, 2008 @ 11:59 AM (UTC)

Usually I wouldn’t post another vocab discovery so soon – I like a little more variety in my blog stew – but weather-obsessed grizelda taught me the word graupel. This is obviously a word whose time has come, and that time is SCRABBLE TIME.

Graupel is a form of precipitation formed when water freezes onto existing snowflakes to form balls of ice.

Obscure, yet tasty!

New word: the frenzy!

Sunday May 25, 2008 @ 01:44 PM (UTC)

From the comments at Pam’s House Blend comes a fabulously evocative new piece of vocabulary:

corybantic: frenzied, ecstatic, unrestrained; a reference to Phrygian devotees of Cybele, the Korybantes.

That is high-quality sesquipedalianism.

Recent uses of Book Darts, part IV

Friday May 23, 2008 @ 11:14 AM (UTC)

“There is such a thing as the poetry of a mistake, and when you say, ‘Mistakes were made,’ you deprive an action of its poetry, and you sound like a weasel.” – Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House

“The twentieth century has built up a powerful set of intellectual shortcuts and devices that help us defend ourselves against moments when clouds suddenly appear to think.” – Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House

“All moralizing implies some knowledge of the future.” – Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House

“They’ll never know it’s actually possible for a boy to be so boring you’d agree to kiss him just to get him to shut up.” – Alice Hoffman, Local Girls

“Sam laughed. ‘I’m very gullible when it comes to my own words. I believe everything I say, though I know I’m a liar.’” – Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light

“It would be nice if there were some one thing constant and unchanging in the universe. If there is such a thing, then it is a thing which would have to be stronger than love, and it is a thing which I do not know.” – Sam, Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light

Brave new faeryes

Tuesday May 20, 2008 @ 12:36 AM (UTC)

As promised and as you can see, Faerye Net has some new duds. This is more than a makeover, however. Instead of a terribly old mutant offshoot of Ryan’s blog software Poseidon, the site now runs on his latest and greatest, Thoth. Benefits to you, the reader, include the joy that is tagging (is it folksonomic if only one autocrat gets to tag?), the modern convenience that is full RSS feeds for articles and/or comments, and far less onerous commenting protocol.

Also, it’s perty.

There may be occasional hiccups for a while—the old blog posts and comments have been carried over, but they were not written with fancy text-formatting systems like Textile in mind, nor were they tagged, since in 2003 I thought tagging was something people did with spray paint. Please bear with me as I make Faerye Net ever more fabulous! And if I edited out a feature you liked, do comment. I can’t promise I’ll heed you, but I’ll listen politely.

If anyone still wants to discuss my story, “Burgerdroid,” which appears in the June 2008 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, I am opening up a thread for discussion as requested here.

Please observe the following provisos: spoilers are fine within the text of your comment, but please refrain from spoilage in the title of the comment so as to spare any unspoiled produce reading the ‘Today’s Comments’ page. And, umm, I can’t think of any more provisos, so…”Burgerdroid” does not have a space in it, so there! Spell accordingly!

Family dialect study

Friday May 16, 2008 @ 10:32 PM (UTC)

My grandma makes these fabulous fried potatoes with breakfast; diced, not grated, sautéed to crispy translucency. Because they are chunks, not slivers, we have always called these delights “slashbrowns” (I think the etymology is clear.) However, I just found a note in the margin of my thesis: “Is this a word?” across from the underlined “sl” in “slashbrowns.”

I was confident a few websearches would show that this is a longstanding term, possibly of regional origin — which would be totally appropriate to my Oregon Coast setting — but, I am appalled to say, the internet has let me down. No recipes. No tasty tater pics.

I guess my character will make hashbrowns, and my family will be duly noted as even more idiosyncratic than heretofore believed.

Suiting up

Thursday May 15, 2008 @ 06:21 PM (UTC)

So I have a confession: I love suits. I blame Scully, because it was with her in mind that I tried on a double-breasted Ralph Lauren pinstriped pantsuit at a friend’s Nordstrom birthday party in high school. It fitted me so well and flattered me so thoroughly that I stood in front of the mirrors trying to figure out a career that I would enjoy that would involve a wardrobe of suits. My imagination failed me in this matter.

However, the desire to be suited remains. Suits are comfortable, fairly practical, and exude an aura of competence. As I near graduation with a terminal degree, I imagine interview scenarios wherein a suit might be an advantage or necessity, and when I was at the mall yesterday I prolonged my stay in the air-conditioning by hitting the suit section of Macy’s.

This was, perhaps, a mistake. This time of year, the suits are apparently being liquidated to make room for more summer dresses, and masses of suits were on clearance. I sorted through a morasse of cutesy and faddish suits (the fashion industry really doesn’t want one suit to last a woman for twenty years or more, as it has tacitly accepted one suit doing for men) and found a classic charcoal grey number that fitted my hips and waist perfectly (fellow women will know how bizarre this is in a pair of pants) and looked both flattering and professional. For half off.

So I resigned myself to having this suit forever the One that Got Away, until I mentioned it on the phone to my mom. “What was the fabric?” quoth she (have I mentioned my mom is a textile artist?) and when I told her, she wailed, “Why didn’t you buy it? That’s a PERFECT SUIT!” So, in short, I had to edit this blogget to remove the forlornness, because I got an early graduation present and I am now fully ready to suit up at a moment’s notice.

My favorite thing about California

Monday May 12, 2008 @ 10:00 PM (UTC)

I admit I’ve been pretty negative about moving to the Golden State. I’ve been ungrateful about the way the drivers and roads are training my reflexes and skills, and suggested that the state’s most lauded private academic institution is a cruel maze from which escape is perilous. I have, as my coworkers could tell you, stared out at blue-sky day after blue-sky day and sighed after the variation and excitement of cloud and rain.

However, this state has its points. And chief among them, in my opinion, is the bird life. I’m not an ornithological authority, and apart from the occasional hummingbird or finch, I’ve little idea what birds are flitting around my yard and mocking my cat from behind glass. But they are many, diverse, and lovely. Qubit likes to watch them…or at least, feels compelled to do so. From the frustrated hacking growls she emits, I don’t think she enjoys it too much.

I like to listen to them. When I sit at my dining room table, their songs come from several directions. I feel surrounded by their music. In my study, I can hear the clear repeated trills of a bird that frequents the tree in the front yard. These songs are far different from those I’m used to in Oregon, the sounds that are so much a part of my childhood I barely heard them until I left the state and returned. These are more tropical, like the calls at the zoo, from the aviary or on a looped soundtrack at an exhibit. They are merry and beautiful, clearer and more warming than the sunshine. I won’t live in California forever, and I’ll miss the birds when I go.


Wednesday May 07, 2008 @ 09:50 PM (UTC)

So upon reflection and discussion, I’m really quite indecisive about what divides, if any, to forge between my professional life on the internet and my footloose bloggery on the faeryenet. Ryan, the man who manages to mix videogame reviews, rants, and paens to pie with his coding offerings and opinions on, thinks my entire mental framework is outmoded. The idea of ‘personal’ versus ‘professional’ web presences, he would have it, is more or less gone. And I’ll admit, since I didn’t pseudonym up this blog, he may have a point. Regardless of whether I think some coy non-linking and non-use of keywords and a separate domain is a conceptual bright line, the average intertronner probably does not see or care about that line.

So what is gained by pretending? I’m not sure. Perhaps the sense of consequence-free play that gave rise to Justice Man and the Lure of Milk-Bones and Master Taco. If I think ‘serious’ readers or, goddesses forfend, editors might be looking on, would I feel so free to drivel at the mouth and overflow at the brainpan? Does my dim little bright line actually fool even me enough to allow such tomfoolery these days?

And what’s at stake? Well, there are the unknowables. The people who might not want to be associated with me if they read, well, Justy. And there are the archives. By posting it, I said I was okay with it being known; but by making a part of my professional web presence, I’d be owning this as part of my writerly persona. I might have to go through the archives pruning things. That sounds daunting, and even possibly dishonest. But it also, to venture even further into alliteration, bears a resemblance to due diligence.

So, opinions? I know EMeta, at least, has been frustrated by my strange and arcane attempt at compartmentalization. Lemme hear it, folks. Is there a line between personal and professional on the web? At least, when you’re non-anonymous and under thirty? Why did you choose what you chose?

nota bene: whatever the outcome of this discussion, Faerye Net is due for a rehaul. Hopefully it should be shinier, more folksonomic, and more RSS-friendly quite soon.

Copyright © 2017 Felicity Shoulders. All rights reserved.
Powered by Thoth.