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2009-06-16 03:40 am
Entry tags:

(Not Quite) Freestyle Fridays

(Dedicated to the revolutionaries fighting in Iran)

I keep meaning to bring back Freestyle Fridays but what fun is a party of one?!

Nonetheless, I give you (not quite) Freestyle Friday's entry (to be read to the track "Celebration" by Kanye West)

All lyrics originally by ME, m*thaf&ckas!!!

In this world
We keep fighting,
Curled beneath the tic toc
Of an infinite clock.

If we don't fight for peace
We'll only increase the police
Who beat
The innocent.

The turbulence of our
Annoyance
Is strong enough to create
Assonance.

So don't be afraid
To persuade the powers that be.
Your voice is pertinent
To the world.

If you stay silent you'll enhance
The advancement of thieves.
They don't believe that
You have a right to the sky.

This world has been advanced by
Battle cries that refused to
Turn a blind eye
To the injustice that upsets

You and me.
We gotta be free
To express ourselves.
Delve into the pit

That angry red abyss
That pumps blood into your
Heart. What good is the
Pain

If we refrain from speaking up for the
Slain?
The vein of this world flows through
You, so screw the hateful world!

Let your pearls be curled
By the tongue
Of a new world
Made for you and me.

Remember, you are the key.
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2009-06-16 02:20 am
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Sports & Writing, Part II

I had an interesting conversation via email with another writer. She took me to task about this post and I'm so grateful because we both gained insight from the exchange!!! Sometimes, I think there's nothing better than a healthy intellectual discussion!

To clarify--just as basketball teams depend on one another on the court, the writer depends on her support system outside of writing; however, when it comes to that single moment, that solitary ACT of writing--the external support system doesn't matter. The writer must trust and believe in herself.

By saying that the external doesn't matter for the writer, I am specifically speaking about the ACT of writing. Writing is solitary (unless you're collaborating with another writer).

For example, when a basketball player shoots the ball, she doesn't shout to her teammates, "Everyone crowd in and get a hand on the ball. Now let's all shoot together." In basketball, you've got only 24 seconds on the shot clock. Players pass around the ball and as time wears down, the ball ends up in only ONE-SINGLE player's hands. This player must make a solitary, decisive, brave act to shoot.

My first comment was about this single, solitary moment. No one can write and do the job for you--writing is a solitary act and it all comes down to you, the pen, the clock. That's all that matters. The external fades away.

If you're too afraid to shoot, time will eventually expire.

For people who don't love basketball, this analogy might be useless. I'm looking beyond the surface of the sport. For me, basketball is more than "getting the ball through the hoop" because the outcome depends heavily on who's holding the ball. The player's internal landscape in that moment makes all the difference.

It's internal. It's spiritual. It's inspiring.

Can you tell that I'm ready for Sunday's game? :o)
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2009-06-12 06:47 am
Entry tags:

Sports & Writing

I was born into a family full of sports fanatics. Thus, I grew up loving basketball, football and tennis, to name a few.

I never fail to find some kind of lesson I've learned in a game that I can apply to the life of writing. In fact, I find some sports are full of artistic patterns; that pass Bryant made to Gasol, Gasol's spin move to the basket--PURE POETRY!!!

Last night, after losing game 4 in overtime, the Orlando Magics coach said that he's tired of hearing about experience being a factor in these final games. "Experience is a cliche," he said!

On one hand, I see his point. Experience isn't enough to make a team great. Other factors such as character, health, referees (or the lack thereof, such as in last night's game), coaching, court (being home vs. being away), etc.--all these things and so many more are factors of winning. So I see his point...

And then, I have to disagree.

Last night, against all odds, the Lakers won the game in overtime. We *should not have won* and I know that sounds like an insult to my home team but it isn't. It's really the highest praise.

Experience comes not because the Lakers happen to be one of the best NBA teams in the history of professional basketball. Experience came last night when the Lakers showed that they would not doubt themselves, they would not give up in the last quarter, in the last minute of overtime.

Likewise, the experience of a writer does not come from external factors: attending conferences, going to school and getting degrees in creative writing, networking with some of the best writers, talking about writing, joining critique groups, etc. Yes, all of these elements are very helpful but they don't guarantee a win for the writer.

Ursula K. Le Guin, one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy writers says it best in her essay from The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction:

"Experience isn't something you go and get--it's a gift and the only prerequisite for receiving it is that you be open to it." Last night, the Lakers were open to the possibility that they still had a chance to take the game. They didn't give up on themselves.

LeGuin goes on to say that writers should be less concerned about their external influences and more focused on their internal drive. "Know your own soul. Know your mind and heart. This knowledge is not lightly or easily gained but you must learn the landscape of your being. Write with imagination, which is your tool, and plow your own soul. Write from inside, from as deep inside as you can get by using all your strength and courage and intelligence."

She says, "That is where great books come from. The novelist writes from inside. What happens to him outside, during most of his life, doesn't really matter."

In other words, if experience is the teacher, then you ARE the principal, the dean, the president of all the knowledge that affords you to be a winner at writing. Very little outside of you matters.

That's the look I saw in Derek Fisher's eyes when he made not one but two crucial 3-point shots. Nothing outside of you matters. Reach deep within and know that you can win against all odds.

No one is interested in giving you anything in this world. You have to take it and that starts first with pushing yourself beyond the limits that appear in your path.
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2009-06-08 02:10 am
Entry tags:

Night Writer

 
18,450 / 58,566
(31.5%)


Not having a working car (it broke down earlier this week) while living in Los Angeles affords me a lot of free time to write.

Also, I'm slowly accepting that no matter what, I'm not much of a morning person. Thus, I wrote in the afternoon and again in the evening after I exercised and ate. This scene took a long time to revise but I think I'm fleshing out this side character little by little.

Today, I realized that my rough draft is actually a crazy draft of what will be the third book in a trilogy! Yes, I'm writing a trilogy.

It's all happening subconsciously. I'm leaving out several details as I work through the first round of revisions. These remaining sections tell the story of my main character's little sister, more than a decade later from my current novel's timeline.

It feels great to know why all those strange things appeared in my rough draft. I was trying to tell both character's stories at the same time, in one person. But it's all so clear to me now.

Each piece has a place...

This is one of the many reasons why I love writing. I look forward to unfolding more mysteries tomorrow.
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2009-06-07 02:11 am
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Slow and Steady...

I wanted to finish this chapter tonight but it's already 2:11 a.m. so I'm going to stop and pick up where I left off once I've had some sleep. All in all, I feel good about this section. Hoping to keep this going tomorrow.



Also, as I make my way through the story arc, picking different scenes to focus on and revise slowly, I'm starting to realize that my total word count will likely end up being more than what I've got. That's because this first revision has deviated quite a bit from the rough draft.

Change feels so good.

Now I'm off to have sweet dreams about Joey Castillo, drummer for Queens of the Stone Age. ;)
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2009-06-06 03:27 am
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QOTSA

Finding this acoustic version of "Into the Hollow" by Queens of the Stone Age has made my frakkin' day. Josh Homme is a guitar-wielding god and the harmonies he creates are heavenly bodies. Also, I love his explanation about his creative process.

I've always been chasing the sounds that are in my head...if I didn't leak them out, my head would explode. Song writing's like waiting by the phone, waiting for it to ring...I just let songs finish themselves--I don't pressure 'em. When they're done, they call me. Sometimes you don't take them the whole journey. You pick 'em up, take 'em halfway but you get the call back later and eventually drop them off where they're supposed to be.

Yes. Sometimes, writing feels like waiting by the phone, waiting to hear that familiar voice on the other end. As Homme sings "Into the Hollow": ...but I can't wait forever.

So I'm off to write, hoping that I'll dial the right number.



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2009-06-02 02:37 am

Harlan Ellison

I first heard Harlan Ellison's name from Octavia Butler during her reading at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2001. Ellison was one of the first writers to buy one of Butler's stories.

In later years, my dad and I bonded over Babylon 5 and I saw the name again as creative consultant. Still, I hadn't read his work but the television shows Ellison contributed to (B5) and wrote ("City on the Edge of Forever" for TOS of Star Trek) and many more blew me away.

Finally, it wasn't until graduate school that my professor Victor LaValle gave me, as encouragement, two short story books by Harlan Ellison. Encountering Ellison's work for the third time was the charm! I immediately went home and I first read I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.

Anyone who's read this short story knows that all the twists and turns, all the agony that this story takes you through is completely worth it when you get to that FINAL scene. Finishing his short story, I think, is the first time I've experienced ecstasy, both delight and despair.

I went on to read and buy other collections of his work. I'm nowhere near to having read everything he's written because Ellison is a writer with many years and many stories to his name; however, I pride myself on owning The Essential Ellison collection and am slowly making my way through this Bible. Sunday night, my good friend Kristie texted me: "You like Harlan Ellison. He's on the Sundance Channel."

Unfortunately, I didn't get to catch the entire documentary, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, but I was delighted with bits and pieces that I saw at the Sundance Channel's web site. Ellison's an outspoken (to say the least) man and regardless what some say, I have a lot of respect for someone who has made a living from doing what he loves and does best--telling a damn good story!

Here are some of his thoughts on how writers are treated by other professionals in the media. In this digital age, there are plenty who will disagree with his opinions but let's be real--he's old school. I think every writer needs to be reminded of what he says, if only to know that the work writers do is valuable. Check it out!



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2009-06-01 12:22 pm
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Movie Moon

OMG to the max! I just found out that the dates for Moon have been moved up by a month!! It originally was supposed to be released only in NY and LA on July 17th but it looks like the campaign to have it released in more theaters worked. Woooo!!! I'm glad because I happened to be one of many fans to email Sony Pictures about distributing Moon to a wider audience.

So, I'll get to see Moon...NEXT FRIDAY!!! I tried to locate specific theaters but the information probably won't be updated until next week. If you aren't living in LA or NY and you'd like to see this film, check out the dates here.

The buzz on this sci-fi film has been great; everywhere I turn, someone's talking about this movie (or the upcoming District 9 film, which I'll post about later).

For now, we can stare at this juicy poster and count down the days to June 12th.

ETA: SciFi Wire's got an EXCLUSIVE clip of the film here.


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2009-06-01 12:40 am
Entry tags:

Some Give Blood. I Give Love.

This is the second post I've titled with words from the new Tori Amos songs. I'm hoping to write a review of Abnormally Attracted to Sin this week but for now, I'm posting a follow-up to this entry. (I also plan to write posts about sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison and one of my favorite athletes, Serena Williams, this upcoming week!)

But back to the point of this post. Currently, I've revised 14,597 words of my YA sci-fi novel. I'm 403 words short of making my goal (15k words) for the month of May but so what. I'm taking my time and I like that!


14,597 / 58,566

This weekend, I had an awesome time with [personal profile] stinglikeabee at the museums (more on that later this week too!) and got two distinct short story ideas--one an alien sci-fi story and another a steampunk story--and I started writing the former this weekend; so, that cut into some of my editing time for the novel.

After checking out museum row, we headed to The Grove, which was a lot of fun. There's an awesome Barnes & Noble there and I bought a set of tarot cards--something I've been dying to do for the last year.

Today, I did my first tarot reading for myself and I drew the card Hierophant (Reversed) the V of the Major Arcana cards. There were other cards in the spread, of course, but this card fell under the "current issue" placement and resonated strongly with me.

The Hierophant (Reversed) corresponds with learning that the result is sometimes more important than the ritual. In other words, I approach things with originality and it doesn't matter that I'm revising this novel in an unconventional way, that I need to learn to be okay with striking out on my own path.

Sometimes, I can get obsessive with goals but just because I'm 403 words short of my mark isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm taking my time and revising in my unique way. In the end, my product will hopefully be bizarre and bewildering and mind-boggling, all the better for it.

My goal for next month? 25k. Whether or not I reach that goal is not the focus. I'm learning, slowly, to follow the beat of my own drum. "Can I join you?" said the Lady in Blue. "I can play too."
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2009-05-29 11:11 am
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Africa, Literacy and the Dreams of an Artist

For a few years, I worked to promote literacy at a library in the City of Monterey Park, which is in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. I don't miss that commute but I do miss the work and grant writing.

I was always astounded, in my research for the grants, at the low literacy rates in the United States. Just think, if it's bad here, what must it be like in Africa?!

Granted, literacy is likely low on the list of priorities when many nations in the continent are struggling with war, poverty, AIDS and disease, unemployment, widespread crime and other troubling problems that people in the United States--by and large--do not have to face.

Still, I can't help believing that the research is right--when literacy levels rise, crime levels fall.

Learning to read, write, speak, comprehend and apply critical analysis to a text is key in helping impoverished nations grow and thrive but how can literacy rates improve in places like Africa where the majority of people can't afford school and books for education?

My research shows that Amazon.com does not have a strong market in this continent. Book suppliers tend to be local and quite honestly, if people in the U.S. complain about buying a $24 hardcover, how must people in Africa feel about it?

All these questions are plaguing me because literacy is an important cause; it's a cause I know I'll support until the day I die. My contributions now have been small (raising $100k in grant writing at my old job, donating to various charities in my spare time) but in the future, once I've made a successful career out of writing and teaching, I'm hoping to use my skills and experience to fuel the literacy rates in developing nations.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1.) Research shows that in various African nations, broadband services are either slow or non-existent. Desktop computer usage is also low but there is hope! The research uses South Africa as an example: "While there are only 4.5 million web users there are 43 million mobile phones (80% of the population), a $2.4 billion market dominated by carriers Vodacom and MTN and manufacturers Nokia and Samsung." Broadband access is improving because cellphone usage has increased quite a bit in Africa and will continue to do so in the future.

2.) Given that devices like the Kindle or Sony eReader are relatively expensive, the next option would be to find a way to allow cellphone users in Africa to download content from allover the world such as stories, novels, articles, etc. through their cellphones; the idea being that digital content is often free or much less expensive than the printed content.

3.) There are several programs that offer basic netbooks to children in developing countries. Perhaps basic eReaders are not far behind?

4.) If artists and the publishing industry projected their efforts in the longterm and supported the digital age--developing nations would be greatly impacted. Information could be shared faster, freely (or close to free), and furiously. Literacy rates would begin to rise. As a result, I'm sure the walls of censorship in certain places would also take a hit, brick by brick.

This is my dream as an artist, to see literacy rates rise and watch the chains of those who have been denied the right to read fall and hope for their freedom through the sharing of art.

Imagine how many artists would be born, would rise out of this digital age in developing nations. Just take a moment to imagine.
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2009-05-27 11:12 pm

Full of Winter You Are, Blackberry Girl



13,571 / 58,566

I've only edited 2,039 words on my YA sci-fi novel since my last update. Agh!!! I wanted to be at 15k by the end of May. Can I edit 1,429 words within the next four days, including creating the final exam for my T/Th class?! (The final is next T.)

Indeed! I'm off because it's time to get it on.

"Perhaps the answer to the question lies in the question."--Tori Amos from the song "Police Me"
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2009-05-27 04:10 pm
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Summa Summa Summatime!

I love that song by the DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. It's the best way to get the summer started right. And what a summer it will be--I just found out that my dad's taking the whole family on a trip to Hawaii in August before my sister returns to Berkeley!!!!

Woooo!!!! Thank you, sagging economy. Apparently, there are so many great travel deals that the middle class who are still lucky enough to be working can afford a trip or two. Wooo!!!!

So that means I've got numerous things to look forward to this summer:

1.) ArtWalk this Saturday with [personal profile] stinglikeabee and [personal profile] parlance
2.) Spending time in L.A. with my friend and award-nominated (soon to be winning, I'm sure!) sci-fi writer, Gord Sellar
3.) Tori Amos concert at the Greek (I'm buying my ticket tomorrow during the pre-sale!!!)
4.) The movies Moon and District 9
5.) HAWAII!!!!!!!

Life is good.
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2009-05-27 12:55 pm
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A Beautiful Mind

My friend Gord Sellar wrote the most amazing post and it speaks to me in numerous ways.

He's brave. I can't wait to see him this summer to give him the biggest hug EVAR!

His words, weaving in celestial images (always a favorite for me and strangely much like my YA novel) were uplifting and if you're in need of inspiration, I know his words will touch you too.
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2009-05-25 04:54 am
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A Strong Heart

Tonight, I witnessed the union of two human beings and three souls. One soul I had to let go.

This journey has been a long one...

All my life, whenever I thought of my Uncle Ronnie thoughts of my Aunt Jerri were never far behind. They were fire and air, made to augment each other, made to be faster. Stronger. Luminous.

When Aunt Jerri committed suicide by jumping off the Manhattan Beach Pier in January 2002, I never thought my uncle would find another love. Through the tragedy we were there to support him the way a family should.

I remember walking the beach before her body washed ashore, praying to God (and I don't believe wholly in one God) that maybe my aunt had become delirious and joined with some homeless group along the beach. I never thought she'd actually take her life, so when her body washed ashore two days later I was devastated.

My Aunt Jerri, the funniest and one of the most talented women I'd ever known, decided that this world was too cold to hold.

The last time I could have seen her was on Christmas Day 2001. I was tired from all the festivities of Christmas morning and I decided to take an afternoon nap, thinking I would see her again.

I was wrong. No one knows why she committed suicide the following month--her note was incomprehensible.

When I was suicidal for several years before her death and hospitalized in 2000, she and my Aunt Karen asked me, "How could you have done that? How could you think to take your life?"

I never gave them an answer. Just stared into oblivion because anyone who has come close to death knows there are no words to describe that vista, that sprawling nirvana that invites you to leap in and swim. Drowning is a velvety cloak in which you can pretend the real world begins. Life after death. Heaven.

When my Aunt Jerri took her life, it impacted our entire family. When Kathleen came into my uncle's life after my aunt's drowning, I thought their union was merely a friendship. (Kathleen and my Aunt Jerri were college roommates at Pomona College.)

My Uncle Ronnie and Kathleen leaned on one another during their grieving. Soon, love blossomed...

At first, I wasn't keen on their relations. Not only was she white, she was moving too close too soon!

Don't get me wrong--I'm not against interracial marriage but I admired my aunt so much that any woman--black or white--would have been inadequate for my uncle.

Today, I learned that love knows no bounds.

It took some time to believe in the power of love. I didn't start today's wedding with the happiest heart. Last night, I dreamed that my dad, the oldest of the family, toasted my Uncle Ronnie at the wedding and my deceased Aunt Jerri's ghost stood in the corner of the room looking solemn. In my dream, I was the only person who could see my Aunt Jerri.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this dream (I don't shrug off dreams easily) so I was moody all morning and afternoon. When we arrived at the chapel this evening, my doubts were swept away with the ocean waves across from the chapel. (It helped that [personal profile] stinglikeabee and I hiked at Abalone Cove 2 days before the nuptials.)

I cried during my Uncle Ronnie and (new) Aunt Kathleen's vows. This is her first marriage.

THIS IS HER FIRST MARRIAGE AND SHE'S IN HER FIFTIES!!!!

For quite some time now, since my engagement ended several years ago, I never thought I'd find another love. I still haven't found anyone who measures up to Danny. But Danny has moved on; he's married and is expecting his first child later this year (ironically, we spoke tonight after the wedding).

All this evening, I couldn't help thinking about my uncle and deceased aunt, couldn't help thinking about first loves.

It takes a strong heart to love--it takes an even stronger heart to love again.

The cement walls closing in on a broken heart weigh more than the muscles in our arms; however, my uncle was stronger than that brick wall. He managed to keep an open heart and allowed Kathleen to enter his life.

Tonight, his strength and her strength combined like air and water; they complimented one another, made each other better. Stronger. Powerful.

Together, the joining of their souls made a new life. Breathable.

There are times when I wonder if I have that kind of strength to allow love to enter my life. Again. I've loved only one person--Danny Grissett. I'm still learning to let that love go because he's moved on with his life.

Sometimes, I wonder who could love someone like me besides Danny?! Sometimes I wonder if it will take as long as my (new) Aunt Kathleen to find love--more than thirty years.

My uncle is very lucky. Some people find only one soul mate in a lifetime. He found his first love, lost her and found the next love of his life. If only I could be so lucky...

Yes, it takes a strong heart to believe in love.

It takes an even stronger heart to hold onto that love and never let it go.

I pray for strength and yet I believe in no God. My strength comes from the goddesses of my life--Octavia Butler and Tori Amos, so I will leave you with words from both:

Butler: ...you're really on your own. You're alone, and there's no one to help you.

Amos: ...you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin.

It is with great pleasure and pain that I open my heart to my new Aunt Kathleen and to the hope that I, too, can find the second love of my life like my Uncle Ronnie.










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2009-05-15 06:58 pm
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(no subject)

These photos took my breath away.

Humans in Space: 10 Amazing Spacewalk Photos

Posted using ShareThis
scififanatic: (Purple blast)
2009-05-14 03:11 am
Entry tags:

The Irony of Being a Genius (Because You Are)

So I'm awake but I should be sleeping. There are a few things that have me way too excited to sleep:

#1. I found out that Tori Amos will be at the Greek Theatre on Friday, July 17. August 1, 2003 was the last time I saw Tori perform at the Greek Theatre. (If you live in SoCal but you haven't been to the Greek--you're missing out on one of L.A.'s greatest pleasures.) Music + summer nights + stars = Bliss.

#2. I also found out that I'll get to meet my friend Gord Sellar this summer!!!! I'm insanely excited about this! Given that he's a sci-fi writer up for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, I'll be rolling out the red carpet treatment for my buddy. That means that I've got to take him to see the Avenue of the Stars in Hollywood (because he's a star) and we'll likely dine at uWink (because it's the food of geeks...I mean gods). C'mon, admit it--you miss Atari computers!

#3. I had a late-night conversation with a grad school classmate from Mills College. We talked about writing scenes, plots (and holes), trilogies and inadequacies.

It's this last topic that has me awake late at night writing this post when I should be sleeping. All writers, at some point, feel inadequate. Yet I'm always amused by this quote from William Faulkner:

Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.

As artists, we feel this sense of competition and yet what we truly contend with is ourselves. Each writer knows that she is not writing to her greatest potential. There's a sense of dissatisfaction about everything she writes and I think that this discontent is helpful because:

#1. Only a fool believes she's clever. Now I can't take credit for this one. I've been on an acid ear-trip lately with music by Queens of the Stone Age (I wanna have Josh's babies--please!!!). In other words, you should feel inadequate because there's always someone smarter than you and this person will make you feel like a moron. Rightfully so. This humbles you.

#2. Sometimes we aren't ready to tell the story. A writer wants each novel or short story to be perfect and sometimes your imaginings are intellectually out of reach. This means you need to write a bunch of crappy stories before you're ready to tackle your genius.

#3. Yes, you're a genius. So many people TALK about being a writer but very few are ready to transition that adjective into a verb. If you write, you've answered the higher call. You've acknowledged that you are an imperfect being who desires to transmit the language of the unknown as perfectly as you can, as clearly as you can, as forcefully as you can.

This void that every writer seeks to fill is called The Hollow. If you're feeling inadequate, it's because that emptiness you seek to fill is yours and yours alone to complete. No one can tell your story but YOU. Creation is your skill and it is a talent that only you can fill. You are the key master, the gatekeeper, the god of your own design.

You are a genius and those doubts floating through your mind are simply apparitions in the wind. Stay rooted. Everything else will disappear and you will fill that silence, fill that void with your imaginings only like you can.

Because you are an artist, a genius.
scififanatic: (Purple blast)
2009-05-01 03:19 pm

Sci-Fi Films Moon and Avatar

I've been so busy with classes that I haven't had time to update my journal and tonight, I'm heading out for margaritas with the ladies. eta: not feeling so well allofasudden and no it's not swine flu. Once I saw this trailer, I knew I'd have to share it.

Sci-Fi film Moon starring Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey (as the computer) and directed by Duncan Jones looks awesome! I'm hoping Los Angeles will be one of the selected cities for the summer release.

While I'm on the subject of sci-fi films, is there ANYONE out there who knows where I can find more info on Cameron's Avatar? I've read the plot synopsis and the "trailer" is just a tease. Why so many secrets? I want more! December is an awful long time to wait, my friend.

Several bloggers have proclaimed Cameron to be "the greatest science fiction film director alive." Granted, I adored Terminator, T2, Aliens and The Abyss. I'm just hoping Avatar isn't a special effects fest (the film will be in 3D digital).

Stories make me want to watch any film, regardless of SFX and Moon has a great hook! What's even scarier is that someone is going to get to the moon first and whoever does will control the spice...uh, I mean the Helium 3. Hee, hee. How could I not bring up that Dune reference? :)

Anyway, check out the trailer for Moon; the hook is awesome!

scififanatic: (Purple blast)
2009-04-20 04:03 pm
Entry tags:

National Poetry Month

It just occurred to me that I haven't posted any poetry and April is National Poetry Month!

I read this poem a couple of weeks ago when I found a used copy in a Virginian bookstore while on vacation.

The poetry collection is titled The Past Keeps Changing by poet Chana Bloch. Bloch was one of my professors at Mills College so I had to buy this book. (She's also the professor who introduced me to Gregory Orr's poetry. Swoon!)

Bloch's poem "The Family" unlocks a strangeness and intimacy that I like to see and read in various art forms. I'm also attracted to reflections of family and this one about a Russian woman and her nested dolls is quite beautiful.

The Family

INSIDE the Russian woman there's
a carved doll,
red and yellow to match her,
with its own child inside.
The smallest, light as a saltshaker,
holds nothing
but a finger's breadth of emptiness.

Every morning we are lifted
out of each other,
arms stiff at our sides.
In the shock of daylight
we see our own
varnished faces everywhere.

At night we drop back
into each other's darkness.
A tight round sky
closes over us
like a candle snuffer.

We sleep
starting at the inside.


The POV shift is interesting...almost like a narrator in the first stanza but when the story opens up, when the dolls are lifted and released, we are given their voices (their voices as one-- as "we") in the remaining stanzas.

The line breaks are brilliant. I love:
Every morning we are lifted
out of each other,


and
At night we drop back
into each other's darkness.
A tight round sky
closes over us


and the last two lines are hushed but so powerful that they're suffocating.
We sleep
staring at the inside.


Takes my breath away! :) Happy poetry month!
scififanatic: (Outer Space)
2009-04-19 11:33 pm
Entry tags:

Hot Days, Hot Nights

It's so hot here in SoCal tonight. The forecast shows warmer weather this upcoming week. Eep! I nearly melted while writing inside the house so I washed and dried off the patio furniture, took a pitcher of ice water, my pen, pad, and iPod, and I wrote outside. It was lovely!

Tonight, I spent nearly four hours on two paragraphs. I think it was worth it. For several weeks, I've been trying to get over the hump in this section and I think I did just that. It's not smooth sailing after this but at least I climbed those hills.

In the meantime, I'm feeling a little bitter that I've got a lot of teaching to do this week. Is the semester over yet??? I'm looking at my calendar. SIX MORE WEEKS!!!

Part of me wants to pass up any summer assignments they offer me but I really need a new car. Ugh. Why can't we just start using Monopoly money? This way, everyone can pay the same amount of money for the board game and we'll all be rich.

Clearly, I'm ready for bed because I'm dreaming. :)
scififanatic: (Color blocks)
2009-04-17 07:54 pm
Entry tags:

Lettuce Thinnings

Today, I took to the task of thinning out the lettuce. Once I got going, I was focused. I knew the plants needed to be 6 inches from one sprout to another; armed with my tape measure, I worked away the forest of green.

I ended up with a nice heaping of baby lettuce, which I promptly washed off and used as my dinner for the evening.

Coming back from vacation, I have yet to light the fire beneath my jogging feet but I have done a better job of eating healthier. I'm thinking Sunday will be the day I force myself back into jogging. But absolutely no more desserts, fatty meals at restaurants, or midnight snacks.

That's not to say that I can't treat myself every now and then each week but my waistline could definitely use a break from eating out.

I used a delicious sesame and ginger vinegarette. It was tangy and sweet but not overly sweet. The greens weren't bitter at all and they had a nice light crunch. I combined the bed of baby greens with some chicken and a roll of fresh bread. Divine! McDonald's and all those greasy fast food joints--eat your heart out! :)