This’ll be short. It’s now Monday (happy 4th of July everyone. Go Americaaaaa), and I wrote this on Friday, but since I had a post scheduled for Friday, I scheduled this for Monday. While the thoughts are fresh.
Yesterday I wrote 4k words on my book, starting around 9pm, after a day of lamenting the death of my motivation for this book. I was mostly joking about the “death of motivation,” because for some reason I randomly get a rush of adrenaline-esque motivation to write, and I just write. Not that I wait around for it; I spent a lot of time researching, writing on needed work (homework), etc., with intent to write.
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
This semester, I’ve been studying American Indian Survivance Discourse. I’ve been studying code-switching and the importance of diversity in voice through minority writing. I’ve been studying transgender literature. Fairy tale literature. LGBQ literature. It’s beautiful.
Most recently, I’ve been studying the poet Adrienne Rich. While all the subjects I put in my head this semester has had an impact on me, to varying degrees, Rich never ceases to explode my thought. Boom. And the kicker is, I studied her seven years ago with similar effect. Her insights are mind-curling, deep and twisting and nearly self-aware. And she made sense, on Thursday, in a way that fit something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
She said that for her to be a truly independent woman writer, she had to stop using men’s sensibilities and styles while writing.
Warmest winter day ever.
Spring break is almost over! Yaaay (boo)! I still don’t have all my homework done. Exactly what I expected to happen this break, despite spending over 15 hours on courses already.
Between paper research that may or may not include multiple watchings of Idiocracy and This Film is Not Yet Rated, I’ve also been tackling professional representation/improvement on my writing work. My journey with this, the greatest failure and success of a novel, is a long and sordid one: one I wish to talk about for others in a similar field.
I mean, it is. I know lots of people with day jobs as picture framers and teachers and professors at universities who go home, write about their experiences, and only write in that bubble. Separate from the writing world at large. People do that. Lots of people do that.
The act of touching keyboard or pen is definitely a solo endeavor. And if that’s all you want out of it, that’s all you need.
But even Malcolm X, in prison, didn’t write alone. He wrote in a group. The idea of an incarcerated man, sitting in a cell with a pencil and legal pad and a few books, plugging away at some idea, lost in a vacuum of solitary, and not solidarity, probably sits in a lot of people’s heads. There’s a stigma attached to writing. Google “writer,” look at the images. It’ll show you this stigma. One person. Alone in a room. With birds or some sparkly pixie dust floating out of his hipster typewriter. Usually male. Usually white. Usually synonymous with the idea of reading; casual, inspired, brilliant, freeing.
All the way bs.
My head’s so big even photoshopped hats don’t fit. Note: This is intended to be humorous. A friend took my LinkedIn pic and photoshopped a political hat on it. This is not intended to be seen as a political commentary. Only self-deprecating humor.
Either you’re living in a vacuum, or you’ve seen political discourse the past few days. And unless you’re writing a novel on political intrigue or something historical, or are directly involved with behind-the-scenes politics, it’s a generally accepted idea to keep your political views, and affiliations, out of your novel.
But why? Shouldn’t we be able to run our mouths and vent? Given all the outspoken social justice warriors and armchair politics, surely the politics bug has hit one of your characters. I mean, even if you’re living in a fantasy land (or at least writing about it), isn’t politics and intrigue important?
My brother gave me this tree of Collatz Conjecture, where no matter what number you start with, you will eventually end up at one. (if n is even, n=n/2, if n is odd, n=3n+1) It hasn’t been proven, is mind-bindingly complex when you look down deep, and is a great parallel to what I’m referring to via this post: all texts (I discuss) began with Homer.
If you’ve been reading my blog lately you know I’m eyeballs deep in a parallel reading between Homer’s Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses. I’ve scraped together a few previous posts concerning mythology and how certain books play off of others. I am not happy with the result of such a scrape, so I will continue to mold my thoughts around this idea of a secondary historical dialogue.
It seems, back when this book was published, the literature field was very different. So before I go into what inspired the Odyssey by Homer and was inspired by The Odyssey, I must first give a quick, short history of literature from 1920’s to now. Continue reading