2-20-17

So.

It’s been a long couple of months, while I come to terms with the new normal.

(No, that’s a lie. I still haven’t come to terms with it, but I’m dealing with how I REACT to the new (ab)normal a little better.)

Every day I make my phone calls. I tweet messages of support to journalists and senators. I thank my congressional representative for her work on my behalf. I look around me for sparks to stamp out.

And then I escape into my own private world.

Been talking with writing friends about the morality of suddenly being able to get so much work done now because a fictional world I create is so much easier to stomach now than reality. Been doing a lot of listening about writing characters outside one’s own experience – more on this, probably for a long time, because I’m currently writing a SF/F story set in the future about a woman who doesn’t look or think like me, and it’s really important to me that I not screw this up.

But I’ve also been realizing that I need more of a reading base. I used to read voraciously almost all the time that I was awake (seriously, I was that kid reading a book at recess, during tests, walking home from school.) And I’ve kind of gotten out of the habit over the last few years. Internet is not my friend – I actually block the worst time-sucks during my work hours, to eliminate the temptation to ‘just check one thing on Facebook’ because I’ll then glance at the clock and realize half the morning’s gone.

And I do handwork in the evenings, which does wonders for my mental health, but my brain’s feeling a little starved these days.

So I heard someone talking about Ray Bradbury’s 12 Pieces of Advice to young authors, and even though I couldn’t be called young by any stretch of the imagination anymore, I decided that he had some goals to shoot for that I could take up for my own.

So:

  • Every day–or failing that, right before bed–I will read one poem, and one essay, or non-fiction chapter, and one short story.
  • Every week, I will read one book of fiction.
  • Every week I will write one short story.

The reading part of this goal should be pretty easy. The writing part is going to be harder, and I might have to just say that over the weekend, I’ll work exclusively on short stories, and not put a timeline on finishing stories.

Sounds like fun, right?

So this week I’m going to read from the following books.  I’ll post new books as I finish up these, with a little review for anyone who cares.

  • The beginning was mist from a radiant curve by Luci Tapahonso

  • Chapter One in Molded in the Image of Changing Woman by Maureen Trudelle Schwartz

  • Wonders of the Invisible World in the same-named collection by Patricia McKillip

  • And I’ll keep reading The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

I’d also really love suggestions – for the poetry component especially. I have plenty of short stories & non-fiction, but poetry is a hard sell for me. I have my favorites–Joy Harjo, Mary Oliver, W.S. Merwin, but I’d love to find more poets whose work I love!

Any suggestions would be most welcome – leave ’em in the comments so we can all check them out!