Random Thoughts

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Education of Ivy Blake– I walked to Kentucky last week, my first time on the new pedestrian path. I’m working on a story where someone has to cross the bridge and it was interesting to contrast what I imagined it would be like up there as opposed to what it was really like. Less windy than I thought. Not as cold. The dots on the surface of the water way below were leaves. I’m not exaggerating when I say it felt kind of revolutionary, to be able to walk from one state to another.

– I got an advanced review copy of my friend Ellen Airgood’s new middle grade novel, The Education of Ivy Blake. If you read Prairie Evers (and if you haven’t, you should go do so now), you’ll remember Ivy. This is her story. Not a sequel, but a companion book. I read a couple drafts of this book before it became a book and so got to watch it grow up something that seemed to happen so fast and so slow all at the same time. It’s a lovely book. No apocalypse or wizards. No ghosts or vampires. Just the real, complicated story of a girl trying to find her way in the face of being dealt a rough deck of cards. We need those kinds of stories, and this is a good one. You can pre-order it now at Village Lights.

– This adorable cat has decided to make writing nirvana her own. What this means is that as I sit in my chair trying to write, she walks back and forth across my lap. You might ask yourself, how many times can a cat walk back and forth across your lap before she’ll eventually stop? The answer is an infinite number of times. Forever. She can walk back and forth across my lap for forever. Or until I shove her off. Then she can come back and do it all again. This is not working out so well.

– I haven’t been writing a lot of blog posts because I’m teaching a new course this semester, and it’s a doozy. Sociological theory. I love theory. I’m not being sarcastic. I really do. I started a Tumblr all about theory if you’d like to check it out. This week we’re reading about Erving Goffman, who suggested that sociologists might be willing to trade  “what we’ve so far produced for a few really good conceptual distinctions and a cold beer.” You have to love a man who has his priorities straight.

2014-11-10 08.25.13– I’m doing National Novel Writing Month again this year, and it’s going along. I have 16,529 words so far and I’m on pace to finish a little ahead of time. I’ve done more planning and pre-writing on this novel than ever before, but it’s still a chore, sitting down and writing at least 1,600 words every day. At the end what you have, of course, is not really a novel. You have a rough and often incoherent draft of a novel. And you have another long haul ahead of you to form it into something else. Something better.

I’ve noticed a lot of NaNoWriMo scoffing out there in social media land. Some folks making fun of people participating and others espousing downright hostility. I guess I can understand that. Well, no, really I can’t. I believe that writing is generally a good thing for people to do. It can help you reflect on your life. See things from a different perspective. Make sense of the world. If one of the points of NaNoWriMo is to get more people writing, how can it be a bad thing? The writing may be bad, sure, but bad writing only really hurts you if you read it, and even then, only a little bit. Power writing a draft in a month is a way of writing that doesn’t work for some people, and that’s fine. No one said there was one way to do it. Maybe there’s something I’m missing. Some turf war between the “real writers” and the dilettantes, which, sure, is something you can become invested in. But, why?

– Speaking of which, I’ve been very aware of the meanness of the internet lately. Maybe just plain the meanness of the world. Maybe all the meditation I’ve been doing has finally edged me a little closer to enlightenment. But it’s ugly out there, and I don’t know what to do about that. It seems that there’s a real price to pay for trying to say something in the world, even if it’s something good. And that sucks. I don’t have any solutions or really any more than that to say about it. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.

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Comments

  1. …yup. It’s partly why I only hop on Facebook to update little Indiana. I can’t stand to read the mean things people post. It makes me want to unfollow everyone! Good luck with the new class! I wondered if something had changed since you hadn’t posted very much. Glad to know it’s nothing serious!

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