Personal Update: Books

IMG_4900

This is the most flattering pic of my ugly mug I can find from the past month. Me, throwing back a few beers at the family reunion. Note the eyes have that faraway look one might get after, say, imbibing a brewski or two.

Good afternoon/evening to those intrepid voyagers who find interest in my words. I’ve been writing in this for a while, and I like to periodically update on what I’m actually doing IRL, instead of positing opinions or rambling on about whatever topic I find important.

I’m ABSOLUTELY STOKED about all most of the happenings in my life and I’m running into a lot of great moments I want to share with whoever wants to listen. (Spoken like a true extrovert, I guess?)

So, here it is.

Continue reading

Books: Morgenstern, Mieville, Jung, Cline, Enright

Or… New Classic? (Exhibit A)

jung-redbook-5

The books I’ll be looking at are:
Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus,
China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station,
Carl Jung’s Red Book (There are cheaper versions out there; this one is full-size),
Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One,
Anne Enright’s The Gathering.
As a note: I have only finished Night Circus and The Gathering.

Another aspect in a writer’s dedication to improve on his (since I’m referring to myself) writing ability is the importance of reading. I’ll be the first to say that between my bouts of college, I didn’t read much. When I was younger, I simply wrote what I wanted to read. I went on grand adventures, and for some reason all my characters started to sound the same: little me’s running around doing me things as magical people, as witches, as generals, as parents, orphans. You get the drift. Before that, in grade school and high school and college try 1, I read voraciously.

I have to force myself to read now. I don’t like the writing styles of a lot of writers, I don’t enjoy the shortsightedness of storytelling arcs, I have to force myself to read a lot of recommended reading. Nothing against anyone, but I don’t pleasure read. I don’t know if I can ever go back to it either. But I’m trying.

So! I have a short list of books I’m reading, books I’ve finished reading over the past semester/year, and I want to talk about them. If you’re interested, please come along.

#amreading #amwriting Continue reading

Not ALL Men vs. Not ALL Americans. Same/Same?

173.jpg

I miss that place.

I’m an ignorant white guy. (Hi, Chris!) This post likely should go under some message board somewhere, but I asked this question on Facebook and on Twitter, and I have had zero replies despite many, many strongly feminist/Social Justice oriented friends. Continue reading

What Twitter Has Taught Me About Writing

A few years ago, I decided to start building an online environment where I’m surrounded by writers who are living the life I want: stories, blogs, conventions, live tweeting, book signing, all that magic. I also wanted book agents who could potentially benefit from my manuscripts (if I ever get to sending them out again). The best place for that, I decided, was Twitter. While I have very few followers (@CAHeisserer), I’ve mostly fulfilled my intent, adding new writers and agents when they pop up.

The depressive nature of politics and political tweets aside, it’s quite fulfilling to have a broadcast community where I feel supported by proxy. A great byproduct of having all these writerly types is I get free advice about query letter construction, story hooks, first chapters, pages, sentences, strong characterization, what to avoid, how to avoid it, and due to the fact I’m following a handful of awesome lady writers, I also get a healthy dose of the up-and-coming perspectives of traditionally marginalized voices, intersectionality, inclusivity, and shifted power dynamics in writing (and, unfortunately, a lot of mansplaining).

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my Twitter environment: Continue reading

Movie Review: King Arthur and the… Something Something Evil Ghost Rider Skeletor Barbarian

It’s been out for a bit. Guy Ritchie’s foray into fantasy was a spectacle to behold, being full of amazing and awesome and… Pacing issues. And CGI. On Rotten Tomatoes, critic score of 28%; viewer score of 78%. Quite a discrepancy between those numbers. I’ll chuck it up to the growing rift between gatekeeping “experts” and the overwhelming input of Average Joe voter: the masses currently mean more than the “critics” to me, especially when it comes to historically important lit.

First off. I’m a King Arthur purist. In BOOK form. And if anyone knows the legends, the tellings are multiple, complex, and likely not nearly as historical as one would think. You know. Because Merlin was a mage. If you aren’t able to step around the idea of a fantastical retelling of anything historical, when you walk into a theater, you have no place being in a theater. IMHO.

Spoilers ahead. I have a bit to say. Continue reading

A List of Words I Can’t Use in my Writing Class

Regular
Standard
Normal
Common
Traditional
Expected
Minority” as defined “I was among the minority” (as a white man in a class of non-white women)
Soul” as defined “it has soul,” i.e. It has character, depth, spirit. I am the wrong skin color to use this word.
Native American (even though we are referring to tribes that identify themselves as such)
Indian (even though we were referring to one of Indiana’s Native cultures that explicitly identifies as such), but can use Native Indian
Generalized as defined “I feel generalized” – because I can’t.
Marginalized as defined “I feel marginalized” – because I can’t.

I feel trapped and oddly policed. lol As if I’m being shoved into a blanket statement narration of who I am and what I’ve been through in my life. Continue reading

Cultural Appropriation: When the Chicken Doesn’t Hatch from the Egg

I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class that had a heavy emphasis on feminism, equality, and the removal of appropriative stereotypes (not the story; the class). Throughout this class, I’ve felt more and more dour about my place in it: every day we meet, I am told how I have flouted my power to oppress and dehumanize everyone not me. I am aware of this. I work hard to remove the bias in my life. I work hard to use my privilege for good, if possible. I watch preference given to others who have had to work twice as hard as me to get where they are, and I respect the preference. I don’t know how to write about what I want to write anymore because of all the boundaries and expectations. This gives me a whole new twist on “write what you know.”

But this short story has me confused and bewildered. A long while back, I wrote a story about the most fierce and independent women I had ever met: my ex wife. She was a warrior, a fighter, broken and not, flawed and abusive and everything complex about a person you could possibly want. And exotic. And powerful. Given this class is about the empowering of women, and minorities, and those traditionally without voice, and she’s as untraditional a person I had ever met, I revived it, revised it, reviewed it, revised it again, and handed it in.

If I had problems with the insane amount of, “you can’t write effectively about this because you’re white,” and, “you can’t write about this because you’re male,” restrictions–and then being told I must write it in a social justice vein, where I’m expected to write about an issue I have no business writing about–surely I found a way around it by telling a fairy tale story based strongly on a real life, honest-to-god person.

Not so much. Continue reading