Archive | June 2008

The Big Read

bigreadindexI stole this from Tara.

The Big Read thinks the average adult has only read six of the top 100 books they’ve printed below.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Star the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

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In Search of Censored Paragraphs

Another imported post, this one from June 2008. Quick fun fact: Diana Abu-Jaber actually teaches at my university but I’ve never taken a class from her.

Crescent Diana Abu-JaberWhen I first went to Diana Abu-Jaber’s website, I noticed something on there about a school in Texas banning her book Crescent and a link to the offending paragraphs. At the time, I was on a bit of a linking spree and I didn’t stop to read more. Crescent was a great book, but it’s been years since I read it and I read it on loan from a friend and I couldn’t think what would be offensive about it. It’s a story featuring Iraqi-Americans and so I thought maybe it had something to do with that. Mostly though, Crescent is a love story, rich with myth and story and family, faraway homelands, poetry and cooking. Reading that book will make your mouth water for certain.

Years ago, Diana Abu-Jaber came to Orcas for a signing/reading at our local bookstore, and I didn’t find out about it until afterward. Neither did my friend who’d loaned me Crescent. We were disappointed we’d missed her. Last week, I was pointing out Crescent to my good friend Leo and looked at some of her other books and ended up picking up her first novel, Arabian Jazz and just started reading it the other day.

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Floored by Rejections (in a Good Writerly Way)

pnwarejectionsindex

Here’s another old post from my old blog. Still importing, and lots more posts from the vault still to come.

I take it as a distinctly good sign that the rejections I receive as a writer are getting more and more flattering. It’s just got to be good.

A few months ago I entered three things into the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) contest. I didn’t place in any of the three categories, but did receive two critiques on each piece, which offered some suggestions and things to think about, as well as some positive feedback.

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A Totally Transformative Solstice Week

It’s been awhile, but I’m still importing posts from my old blog like this one from June 2008.

183674_1003284655197_2458_nThis week, my friend Leo came to visit. She left this morning. I am sad that she’s gone, and at the same time, just so glad we had this time together. It was the best. Leo and I have had some wild times over the last eight years of knowing each other – shared concert experiences, drunken debauchery at her house with friends, trips to Seattle, trips to the Gorge, a “porn hotel room” (it had a hot tub, and the doors or windows or whatever between the hot tub and the rest of the room wouldn’t stay shut), rituals of feminine spirituality, trips to Philly with her kids to the science museum, discussions about books and politics and the meaning of life, commiseration over unrequited love. I saw my first Tool concert with her.

I used to call her in the mornings, when Adrian still lived with me and things were horrible and I was careening in desperation, and whisper all my troubles to her. She once took the craziest trip ever (including buses, trains and an insane ride with a friend’s younger brother) to come see me at my parents house in NJ when I was visiting. We’ve turned each other on to music, to authors, to concepts, to spiritual principles, to philosophies, to movies, and on and on and on. This really only scratches the surface of what we’ve shared.

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Err on the Side of Audacity

secretlifeofbeesindexToday I was perusing Sue Monk Kidd’s website (and discovered that The Secret Life of Bees is being made into a movie and will be out in October), and came across this little tidbit she posted in a list of advice she’d give to writers. Here was number seven:

“Err on the side of audacity.

One day it occurred to me that most writers, myself included, erred on the side of being too careful in their writing. I made a pact with myself that I would quit playing it safe when what the story really wanted… what my heart really wanted, was to take a big chance. The best writing requires some daring– a little literary skydiving. Look at your idea and ask yourself: how can I make this larger? The novelist E. M. Forster once said that a novel should deliver a series of small astonishments. After I finish each chapter, I read it with an eye toward figuring out where I’ve played it safe, where I backed off, where the small astonishment was lost.”

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