Saturday, October 8, 2011

Erica Jong on Writing

I've never read Erica Jog, but always wanted to.  A.N.  and K.F.S. told me to read Fear of Flying.  My mother had it in our house growing up in our boing little college town.  This book, along with Summerhill and The Beans of Egypt Maine seemed to make an impression on her.  I was never encouraged to read it.  By the time I could have been seen reading it around the house without getting in trouble, I figured it was second wave feminist crap.  I am not sure if I still feel this way now.  I feel like women younger than me, hip women in their twenties are reading this.  Maybe it is making a come back?  I should read something by her.  Here is some writing advice that I've just pirated from her first chapter of  Seducing the De, mon:

  1. Have faith-- not cynicism.
  2. Take your mind off of publication. 
  3. Dare to dream.
  4. Write for joy.
  5. Get the reader to turn the page.
  6. Forget politics (let your real politics shine through.)
  7. Forget intellect.
  8. Forget ego.
  9. Be a beginner.
  10. Accept change.
  11. Don't think your mind needs altering.
  12. Don't expect approval for telling the truth.
I want to comment on this advice, but I have a migraine earlier today.  Thus, I am totally fucking beat.  I am also unable to put down the second Suzanne Collins novel for any longer than ten minutes.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To Read, To Read, To Read

I am not sure how to chronicle the books I've read in the distant past, the past, books I am reading currently, and the books I am thinking about reading.  I have only started to take this blog seriously very recently.  Though this is all a very trite, rough drafty-y, not even a rough draft-y, silly free write kinda blog, I am thinking about its actual contents more often, especially when I am walking at night.  And at some point I may even want to promote it. Really, it is a journal, a journal to get the cobwebs out of my screwy brain.  And most things written here are of the most cliche like, um, like ever.

Today, I just finished The Bitch Posse, by Martha O'Connor.  The story was almost great.  What was great: I could not put the book down.  What was sort of great, but not really: It was kind of like reading Jennifer Weiner, but if Jennifer Weiner had more edge.  The book and its reviews promise you that it is not chick lit, but in my opinion, it is.  I've seen the book various times; however, I thought it would be boring and poorly written.  Some of the writing is almost lyrical in parts.  But mostly, it seems like a sort of smart teenager wrote it.  And there was a lot of cliche writing in it, mostly the descriptions of the girls' thinking and feelings.  But these descriptions in many ways should be cliche, as they are from a teen perspective, and I think teens often see the world in a very cliche sort of way, as their life experience cannot bring them to the lucidity a more jaded adult would own. A reading blog convinced me to read this book.  Write after reading her blog, I ordered the book on the old man's kindle account.    Here is the link to the blog's mini essay/review about the book, and how it shaped her life, particularly her reading life.
I am not overly in love with her blog yet, but I found an online magazine she writes for, and love this. Here is the magazine:

The book's cover is compelling:

It's author, Martha O'Connor, has another book I might want to try:   .   It is called the Bitch Goddess Notebook.  It is not really chick lit, the book I have not yet read and the aforementioned novel, but teenage girl lit.  Lacking depth, particularly in its desperate attempt at depth.  Is a teen girl a chick yet?  Maybe she is. Pre chick lit.  Almost a chick lit.  Almost a chick chick lit.  

Here are other books I am looking forward to reading.  Or, books that I might read the first chapters of, and then will make my decision about reading.  I have already created a partial list several entris ago, when I chronicle my reading for 2011.  I might repeat some title; I am not going to worry about overlaps.  I got some of these titles while doing subject searches of psychological fiction and teen girls.  

  • The new Jeffrey Euginides book, The Marriage Plot which comes out in about a week
  • The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt (I loathe westerns, but it is for the b. group, ick!)
  • Man Stealing for Fat Girls
  • The Girl from Charnelle
  • Normal Girl
  • Serious Girls (Book about two outsides in a boarding school setting)
  • Stop the Girl
  • Hello Life
  • Foxfire (The J.C. Oates girl gang book.)
  • Stone Garden (boarding school setting)
  • Golden Grove, Francine Prose
  • The Perfect Age, Heather Skyler
  • When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
  • Alice Hoffman's new book.  Though I  worry it is more Red Garden-y than the Red Garden itself was.  I need another Story sisters novel.  The Dove Keepers.
  • The book that I think is British that has the word flowers in it.  The setting is group home.  It is on my FB page, as it a recommendation. 

I will add author's names later, or maybe I won't.  I just can't really open a novelist account, as I still use the library password the was the library's where I got fucking fired.  (Library directed equals total cunt fucking douche, btw.)

Another time, I will write about my short career as a librarian.  This is obviously part of the reason my blog is called what it is called. It is also a feeling I had so often as a young girl, teen, young adult, forever hiding living at the library, and then leaving after nightfall, flooded with excitement at all the new author's I had discovered.  Ready to face the word with my amazing ability to disappear, to become invisible because I knew I could read forever, my life away.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thinking about Writing Stories (Instead of Really Writing Them)

Remembering the moose who came to visit out Modern Government class with J. teaching.  It was Spring.  It as a perfect day, dry and bright, everything emerald.  It was maybe the third time I'd seen a moose on the property of the school.  The way is was exciting was so much like the way I was excited to leave high school and go to college.  The last moose is the one I remember, though there were others.  It seemed to come up so close to our classroom, as though it wanted us to stick our arms and hands out the window to greet it or to even pet its face.

What kind of story couldI ever write about my father?  One juxtaposing our relationship today with the one we had when I was a kid, when I would ski in between his skis?  Seeing his face as I fell off the chairlift, or when I skied into the woods?

Something something about the boy, Mr. Z.  I do not know if I can write about him, but if not now, when?

I have been trying to read like a writer and have been zeroing in on some short stories.  For example, I just reread a Marissa Silver short story from her collection Babe in Paradise.  But the story made me sad in away that felt shitty, like lonely sad, as the character, an older man was lonely.  I could not really pay attention to the craft of the story because of this; it was distracting, how I felt.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ideas for Stories

I am constantly writing short stories in my head.  I am never writing them into journals, pieces of paper, walls of bathrooms, or even onto my computer.

A story about a girl named Hazel who has pretty blue eyes.

A story about a girl with a mentally ill boyfriend who is her father's age who collects castle pictures.

A story about a girl whose father lives in a trailer, one with a sprawling apple tree in its front yard.

A story about a stripper who lives in a hotel with her boyfriend.  The boyfriend loves an ugly, fat, pale girl.  The stripper is a junky who has lost her son.  Though the stripper is borderline illiterate, she is obsessed with a certain wrier, poet maybe.  I am not sure who this obsession could be with, Rilke?  Prolly not, how trite and cliche does Rilke get to be after awhile? But really, a stripper would prolly be obsessed with a trite poet, right?

A story about a girl whose mother sews all of her clothes, including her Halloween costume which is a Pterodactyl.  Her mother sews her father a matching costume.  Both parents are junkies and all three people in this family live in a triple decker in Massachusetts. The floors are wide pine with holes that the tend to trip over.  The floors are anything but plumb, thus they are perfect for roller skating, which the daughter discovers early on and does often.

A story about a girl who is fifteen who moved into her thirty-five year-old boyfriend's old new englander into a rural poverty situation.  She realizes staying safe at home, in her role as the black sheep and un-beloved might have been a better choice in her college town. A better choice from being stuck in the cycle of poverty with a borderline pedophile who she calls PA.  They sleep in a half redone attic bedroom and the house is decorated with castle paintings and drawings.  There are also wooden castle that resemble doll houses punctuating the house's space, it rooms.  Their bed's headboard is rough cut plywood in the shape of a castle's wall.

A story about a poor girl who wins a scholarship to an alternative boarding school and who learns her poor friends from the inbred town where she lived her whole life were smarter, kinder, and better.

A story about a skinny, petite, blond girl who tries to embrace wicca to deal with PTSD only to find this outlet is worse than dealing with night terrors without the wicca.  She learns to trust herself, literature, and the institution of education instead.  She is not cured, but she comes to bear life without constant, psychic pain.