N.V. Binder: The Public Library as University

I keep trying to log off and get some more reading done tonight, and then I keep running into interesting articles like this. Read this. Live it. The only thing I’ll add is that I made a resolution over two years ago to check my library for any book I want to read first, and then look for a personal copy of it. There are exceptions, of course… at least one of my current series saw me check out the first book, return it, and then buy the rest because I knew I was going to want to read them all, multiple times. Still, I might be spoiled by the excellent library system in Fulton County, it’s rare that I have to go outside the library to find something, especially a reference.

The Public Library as University

John Green: 18 Books Many People Haven’t Read

It always kind of pisses me off to see an article titled “Five Books You’ve Never Heard Of” or such, because, unless the author has talked to every single person who reads his post, and gone through his or her library, the guy is simply making an assumption based on his arrogance, though thankfully coupled with his desire to educate the poor unwashed masses who haven’t experienced the same imaginary worlds he has and therefore can’t really be blamed for their plebeian tastes. (Cracked is especially bad at this. I enjoy their site from time to time but guys? You’re really not the only people who look up weird things on the Internet or read strange books, okay? Really.) Now that that’s off my chest, Mr John Green does in fact talk about a lot of books that seem to have slipped under the radar. Yes, I’ve read a few, & no, I’m not going to list them in an effort to show how much of a hipster I am.

Oh, okay, I’ll mention one, but only because of what he said about it. I did indeed read (a couple of times, now) Death Comes for the Archbishop. I wasn’t assigned that book in school, but my 10th grade English teacher used to give us a recommended reading list of other books by the authors we read in class, books she said she’d teach if she had us for a few years. (English teachers/ librarians that are reading this:  Please do this. It’s awesome.) That title and the short write-up she gave it definitely caught my eye, and I read it for the first time around the time I turned 16, in between Elric and Black Company books. It’s a quiet, almost slow book, but it’s painfully beautiful, and ever time I read it I like it even more. Yes, My Ántonia is also really good, but I think this might be her masterpiece.

And the downside of reading books no one has heard of that no one ever talks about? I’d say for every completely unknown book or two that I end up thinking is an underground classic is one that I realized, upon getting to the end, that there was a damn good reason it was unheralded. Still, that itself makes finding the true gems that much more special.

Alright, here’s John Green talking about books you may or may not have read but the vast majority of the reading public has, regrettably, yet to discover them, though on the bright side, that means that they get to read them for the first time.

Monday Rants

angry_owlYou know, just in case there were any questions about how my weekend editing project went.

On the bright side, I hit my goal and got my submission package finished. I’m working on another part of the story now, and hopefully, the whole thing will be finished by next weekend. The new weekly story is coming along as well; like the other two, it’s completely not like them. Poetry to follow. I thought of posting one of my old ones…

I’m more depressed than anyone and I hate my life
I took down all the mirrors just to stay out of my sight
I really wish someone would come and kill me in the night
To save me all the trouble of getting my suicide note right

…but I decided against it. Happy positive thoughts, right? Though, according to electrical theory, negative thoughts would suck all the positive thoughts out of the air and to my head, right? Isn’t that how it works?

 

Writing is ReReReReReReWriting: An Agony

I have a long weekend, so I’ve taken it upon myself to rewrite a novella I wrote last October. That was the weekend some of you remember when I decided I was going to write a 100 page novella in 100 hours. (That’s 100 hours straight, counting time for note-taking, eating, walking the dog, pulling out my hair, shoving it back in the follicles because I really can’t afford to lose more, coping with the sudden ability to smell colours, and all of the other wonderful things that accompany the task of writing 25,000 words in a four-day weekend. Yes, of course I’m thinking of doing this again. Why do you ask?) It’s been hanging around since then, mocking me with its two well-rounded characters and a bunch of paper dolls, an awesome and explosive beginning, a weak and arbitrary ending, taunting me with the fact that I know how to fix it, now, and could actually fix it, if I, you know, sat down to write the bloody thing. So, this weekend, I decided I was going to buckle down and get as close to a final draft as I could on this damn thing so I could either submit it for publication or do something to free it into the wide, wide world, because it sure needs to get out of my head.

Alright, in other words I just spent ten minutes taking a break from writing so I could write about how hard writing is. Yes, I’m definitely in the colour-smelling stage of my word-induced insanity. In fact, I’m considering naming them. This shirt I’m wearing is a lovely shade of Bob, which smells like anxiety and imagination.

On the bright side, I have nearly three of ten chapters written and rewritten. I had to go back and rewrite a few sections, but I feel like this story young Ms Agata (a teenage girl on a wagon train through a rural medieval country, along with her Uncle, her foster cousin, and a few friends) is finally coming together. Because that’s what rewriting is. My Muse runs up from her basement study with a handful of papers and says, ‘CJ! You HAVE to listen to this!!!’ And I do, writing down everything she says for posterity. But she’s a storyteller, not a writer. And much like how your Mom edits your Dad’s stories (or vice-versa) so people who weren’t there can actually understand them, I have to go through and write out a new version of things, a translation, if you will, for those of you who don’t live in my head. And if I can tell this story in such a way that it resonates with something you yourself think about, I’ve done my job.

See? I came here to talk about how writing sucks, and I convinced myself otherwise. Yay editorializing.

Y’all have an awesome weekend. Wish me luck. And yes, there will be a new story on Thursday.