Posts tagged with "prose" - Faerye Net 2011-03-07T23:14:07+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Words for writers 2011-03-07T23:14:07+00:00 2011-03-07T23:15:21+00:00 <p>Once upon a time, I was uploading any number of photos from my writing school days to <a href="" target="links">Flickr</a>. Now, I have a tendency toward folksonomy, and a general philosophy that it&#8217;s best to capture data at the point of entry, whether or not you are sure you&#8217;ll use it later. Thus, I had the urge to not only tag the photos with the names of the people in them, but with their affiliation: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction.</p> <p>I didn&#8217;t exactly want to type open-quote fiction student close-quote a thousand times: what I wanted was a one word solution, preferably as elegant as &#8220;poet&#8221;. What I got was two words (because of course I wanted to capture the Lying or Truth-Attempting valence of the prose students as well): <strong>proser</strong> and <strong>fictionist</strong>.</p> <p>These are ungainly words. They lack the suavity of &#8220;poet&#8221;, but I have a real affection for them. &#8220;Proser&#8221; is so, well, <em>prosy</em>. It puts one syllable in front of the other: pro-zurr. Plod plod plod, building complete sentences out of verbs and subjects. Writing until you hit the margin and then doggedly keeping going. <span class="caps">PROSERS</span>, baby. Grunts of the literary world. Boots in the mud. <span class="caps">PROSERS</span>.</p> <p>As for &#8220;fictionist&#8221;, it has more pretensions, but that&#8217;s only fitting. It has narrow little i&#8217;s, peering at the world, seeing it all as fodder. It&#8217;s more ornate, more full of artifice, and that&#8217;s what fictionists are. Peddlers of artifice.</p> <p>I do so love words. I love other tools too &#8212; pencils, shading sticks, even erasers, and the odd and occasionally dangerous tools with which oboe reeds are made. I love their form that follows function, the capabilities they hold. Words are the same, but even better: you don&#8217;t have to carry them or store them or buy them, just remember them, and if you lose one all you need is a few clues to find it again. As I&#8217;ve <a href="" target="links">purported before</a>, language is our birthright. The toolbox is vast and joyously expandable. And every once in a while, it&#8217;s so nice just to lay out the tools and ponder their forms, admire in each its individual gleaming.</p> My thesis as a cloud 2009-01-03T00:46:15+00:00 2009-01-03T10:11:36+00:00 <p>My friend <a href="" target="links">Robert Peake</a>, a thoughtful poet gifted in procrastination, recently turned in his <span class="caps">MFA</span> thesis and made <a href="" target="links">word clouds</a> of his critical essay and creative thesis (collection of poems, in his case), which you can see on his blog. (Clouds show each word at a size proportional to its number of uses in the text. Wordle defaults to removing dead-common words like &#8216;and&#8217;, and uses the 150 most used words unless you specify differently.) Of course I jumped at the chance to be the next to perform this act of procrastinatory genius, and plugged my opus into <a href="">Wordle</a>.</p> <p>Here is my nearly-complete story collection/complete creative thesis, <em>Sea Selves</em>, in cloud form:<br /> <a href="" title="Thesis Wordle by Eilonwy Anne, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="325" alt="Thesis Wordle" border="0"/></a></p> <p>I really liked the random font and other options Wordle chose, and the layout that came out first try, so this is exactly what Wordle pumped out, transformed only in color. I took all these shades from photos I&#8217;ve taken of the Pacific Ocean. (Pretentious? <em>Moi?</em>)</p> <p>Here is my critical essay, <em>Sea Change: Visions of the Ocean</em>, which I tweaked a little more:<br /> <a href="" title="Essay Wordle by Eilonwy Anne, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="303" alt="Essay Wordle" border="0"/></a></p> <p>If for some reason you want to look closer at either, you can click through to the Flickr page and press the &#8216;all sizes&#8217; button right above the image. My word clouds look very different from Robert&#8217;s, which is to be expected. Not only is my thesis prose, but mine is themed. I hope someone with a non-themed short story thesis tries it next to compare! There are a few words I&#8217;m slightly surprised by on my thesis word cloud, others I&#8217;m glad came through so strongly, and some which were a matter of course. And it&#8217;s interesting to see the names of characters from very different stories and worlds nestle so promiscuously together.</p> <p>For fun, here is a wordle of <em>Sea Selves</em> with 1500 words rather than 150. I think it makes clear why 150 is the default:<br /> <a href="" title="Thesis Wordle with 1500 words. by Eilonwy Anne, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="282" alt="Thesis Wordle with 1500 words." border="0" /></a></p> <p>In short, I hope Robert has started a fashion. This was fun, and I hope to see other MFAers follow suit.</p>