Sunday, January 27, 2008

This is it.

This is why I am in library school:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A little artificial intelligence never hurt anyone.

Okay. We SO live in the future. Here's proof.

My very own (highly unconscious) writing guidelines:

Firstly, I must confess two things, neither of which will be delinated as writing guidelines per se, but may be interpreted as such by those who wish to amuse themselves by supposing that a thing done is a thing intended to be done by the doer of it, neglecting to realize that such a thing as intent rarely exists in this writer's bosom.

And also I have been reading too much Jane Austen.

But in any case, my explanations and apologies are these: first, that I do not always consider myself a writer of the highest caliber and thus felt some considerable surprise (though pleasurable) at being recommended by Lindsay as one who writes well. My gratitude thus being mingled with some degree of distress, I have, second, procrastinated the production of my response to no small degree. I must, therefore, have some sincere cause of mortification if any person seeking authorly wisdom has thus fled to my blog in glad expectation, thereafter being sadly repulsed by perusal of such uninteresting topics as jackhammers in the early hours of the morning.

However, meaning to rectify my faults and demonstrate a willingness to oblige all who might wish to know them, I therefore will now outline the rules by which I write:

First: The key, I think, is to write. This is perhaps my greatest fault as a writer, in that I am too often not a writer. Or rather, that I think of myself as one who enjoys writing and who would write if only she could find the time, and am then forced to acknowledge my own negligence when I realize that as soon as I get a little time I spend it on reading, or on viewing the amusing capers of caption-strewn cats. Indeed, one cannot be considered a writer unless she writes, therefore all other recommendations and guidelines must be encompassed in this very simple one: If you want to be a writer, then write. Nothing else will do. Nothing.

Second: Be real. And for this I have to drop the wicked awful Jane Austen impression. (My most sincere and humble apologies to Miss Jane for tainting her most exquisite style with my sad imitation.) When I write a blog post, or am working on a work of fiction, I want the emotion to be as near reality as possible. Readers know when things are insincere. You yourself know when a character is being unrealistic or when his or her emotions are out of alignment with the events going on. They seem ridiculous, right? So keep it real. Don't force emotion on your characters. First, feel what they're feeling, and then write what you feel from the heart. Deal with pain and deal with happiness. In short, deal with all the wonderful, convoluted, tortuous maze of the human heart. Your readers will connect to what you write; they've got a heart themselves, you know.

Third: In keeping with my first principle, I've got to say that while writing is absolutely critical to being a writer, reading is nearly as much so. Don't neglect your writing to read, but be sure to take time to read anyway. Reading helps you to get a sense of the writing styles you enjoy, and it helps you to understand how a story flows and can be put together. More importantly, read critically. Read as a writer, not just a reader. Read and ask yourself why the author included that detail, why she made that plot decision, why he had a character say that instead of something else. And then maybe you'll start to ask yourself, "Okay. How would I have written this?"


There are my rules, as little as I stick by them.

And, as much as I hate to break the chain, I really, really, really can't pick my favorite blogging authors simply because I have too many of them. In short, if you're on that list on my sidebar, you're a favorite. And some of you not on the sidebar are favorites too. So don't fret. (Good grief, people.) So...

No. I just can't. I just, just just can't.

But those of you who, secretly, are acknowledging that in your very darkest, most supressed, heart of hearts, you know that I would have picked your blog as one of the top three, well.

Yeah. You're pretty much right.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

What I cannot understand:

I can understand a city's need to jackhammer certain areas. I'm sure, walking around on the sidewalks as I commonly do, that if there were no jackhammering of said sidewalks and other places, that things would be in serious disrepair very shortly indeed.

I can even understand a city's need to do said jackhammering at a time when foot and vehicular traffic is minimal, such as weekends and at off hours.

But jackhammering at 3:30 in the morning almost directly outside my window for long enough that I, even I, deep sleeper that I am, am roused enough to not be able to get back to sleep for the life of me?


That I cannot understand.

Or, at least, I absolutely refuse to.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What's lacking in my writing:

OH my goodness.

So, I found out today that someone has searched my blog for the term 'nephew.' (Have I ever mentioned how much I love reviewing my sitemeter stats? (Which, incidentally, has led to the discovery that most people who come across my blog randomly find it by searching for pictures of Olympus Mons and gallbladders. Which. Okay. I feel a little weird about. But whatever.))


But the 'nephew' search made me think of all the things you might find or not find by searching my blog for certain terms.

Terms like 'cow.' Which shows that I write "Holy Cow" a heck of a lot.

Or 'monkey.'

Or 'poop.'

But it made me realize that there are some glaring omissions in my use of words.

I, for instance, have never written about gnomes. Or grease. Or gravity.


Maybe I have a thing against words starting with 'g.'

In any case, at least it's given me some topics to ponder, perchance to write. Perchance.

I wonder what would come up if I searched for 'perchance.'

Let's see, shall we?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Almost a blog post

Is there a book out there that's just about people who were almost President of the United States?

Because those would be some interesting stories, I think.

Really, people.

Get to it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why I read:

There's this moment I get, when I've just finished an excellent book, that I get caught up in the last sentence or word of the story and, involuntarily, give the smallest of sobs, or maybe more a sigh with some unshed tears in it.

It's beautiful.

It's a moment of realization that there are things great and good and human to be told that are told, and told beautifully, that there is a connection between us all, and things like love and hope and compassion somehow still have the power to move in us and with us and through us, making us all more like each other, and more like God, more like the way God really is.

I can't describe it, of course, (and when I try, it only sounds cheesy and not really moving at all), but I think it's that moment, that moment of universal connection to the human experience, that makes up part of who I am, that makes me a person who loves books.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

This is no thaw! This is spring!

Okay. So it's not really spring.

But. Yeah. 60 degree weather?

No coat?

All freaking day?

And also, tonight, even with my window wide open and the curtain tied up, I'm still rolling up the pant-legs on my pajamas and contemplating going to bed dressed only in me skivvies.

With the air conditioning running.

Is it just me, or is Aslan on the move?

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Have you ever noticed how good food sounds?

It sounds really, really good.

Also, the eating of stuff.

Also, the consuming of edibles.

All. Goodness. And deliciousness.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Home again, home again?

After a long night of cramped uncomfortability, I got into Boston at about 5:30am Eastern Time this morning.

And, just briefly, while I'm on the subject, let me say again just how surreal flying is: it's pretty darn surreal, people. I mean, there you are, in this long metal tube full of people sitting uncomfortably close to each other, and you're also (get this) flying through the air.

Yeah. Crazy.

You can see the world right there out the window--it exists--but it's impossibly far away. You spend hours in this encased little universe that's completely separate from everything and everyone not inside the airplane. You are more detatched and more alone in a plane full of people than you are, I believe, at most other times in life.

And also, your legs start to feel kind of funny after awhile.

But I still love takeoffs. And also landings (as long as they're relatively turbulence-free). And also seeing the lights of cities like Chicago and Detroit spread out miles below me like some kind of enormous, glowing lichen. (Cathy, I mentally waved at you as I passed over. Hope you were mentally waving back! At 3 o'clock in the morning!)


I got back to Boston and took the T back to my building, where I lugged my 50lb suitcase back up the three flights of stairs to my apartment. And then I slept until about 2:30 in the afternoon. And went grocery shopping. And to the library. And decided to blog about all the mundanities of my existence.

But mainly I've been thinking about what it is to come home, and whether I just came away from home or whether I just came to home, or whether it's a little bit of both and neither, really. All at the same time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It never does feel different.

It's 2008.

And, like every year, we get together as a family and drink sparkling cider and watch about the last 60 seconds or so of the countdown to the new year and then we all shout, "Happy New Year!" and then my parents go to bed while the rest of us play video games for another few hours. (And blog.)

And I don't know why, but every time that final countdown rolls around and we spring over into the new year, I always expect to feel just a little bit different, and always inevitably feel pretty much the same as I felt at 11:55. Or 8:42. It's like waking up on your birthday morning, knowing you've just put a +1 onto your age, and finding yourself astonished to still be indisputably you, only older by the night of sleep you just had.

I wonder why I keep thinking I should feel different, why I keep expecting these tiny moments to seem significant. My experience over the past (nearly) thirty years has made me realize time and again that moments, while you're in them, rarely feel significant at all. It's usually only in looking forward to moments or looking back on them that things seem to gain weight.

I'm not sure why that is. Is it wishful thinking that makes us think moments ahead will feel important? Is it hindsight that allows us to perceive our pasts as significant? And why do we not feel it at all in the present?

I don't know any of it. And my Boston clock says it's 4:41am, and my Utah clock says it's 2:41am, and my biological clock simply says it's DARN late/early/aTimeIShouldBeInBed, so I probably won't meander any longer tonight. Er, this morning.

But...well... Happy New Year anyway.

And happy 400th post, while I'm at it.