5o Posts!

It’s my 50th post! Who knew back in January that I’d make it this far? Well, I suppose I didn’t really have any serious doubts that I would, but still. I’d like to thank my mom, the academy, and especially everyone who reads and likes and comments on my posts. Thank you all so much!

What can you expect from the future of this blog? Pretty much the exact same thing: book reviews, thoughts about writing, cool resources, and general goofiness as I try to make a writer out of myself.

Learning how to adapt to a different online forum and audience has been exciting;  Having never run a traditional blog before, it’s been a learning curve, but a fun one. Here’s to 50 more posts of hopefully better quality!


Wacky Writing Spaces

Feeling run down at the library and coffeeshop, need a new place to write? Here are some wacky places that just might make you more productive when you have to grind:

  • in a tree with a journal (NOT a laptop) (mind the squirrels)
  • in an airport (if you can get past security)
  • the roof of a building
  • voice record while running
  • while watching a movie at the movie theater (only with a laptop if you want popcorn in your hair)
  • in math class
  • like ambient noise? try a football game
  • go to sleep and lucid dream

If you’ve got more, share them in the comments! Let’s beat writer’s block together by hiding in places it won’t think to look for us.


Review: Vassa in the Night

“What did I borrow from myself, and how will I ever get it back?”–Sarah Porter, Vassa in the Night

I found this book at McKay’s Used Books, read it in two days, and foisted it onto my roommate the moment I got to school. She read it in one day–something I really should have done, because it does take fairly constant immersion/attention to hold on to all the strands of this story at once.

Vassa in the Night, by Sarah Porter, is an bizarre, whimsical, and [some other word that won’t do it justice] retelling of the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful. Only it takes place in Brooklyn, and Baba Yaga owns a murderous 24-hour chain store, and it’s one of the weirdest and most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

Any retelling of myths/folktales/fairy tales that haven’t been done a million times in the last few years immediately catch my eye, as does the striking cover. But more attention-grabbing that is the the surreal magical realism that Porter wields as if painting a watercolor.

Contained within this book is an eccentric cast of characters, even more eccentric events that will make you pause to ask if that really just happened, and a protagonist who must discover her ferocity, her history, and her missing piece, or be lost.

Writing Prompt: Secret Keeper

Here’s a short prompt I filled today in my writing group. It’s from Deep Water Prompts, which contains awesome and strange writing prompts. Anyway I’ve never posted any of my actual creative writing on here before so trying something new.

There was a girl on the corner who could lose something for you forever if you asked nicely and paid cash.  That’s what they say about me, anyway. The whisper that goes from ear to ear, between those eager to be rid of a secret. As if once I abscond with the evidence, I take their guilt as well as their cash. Relief in their eyes, as if I had purge the guilt from their souls. But guilt is tenacious. I bargain with those in the habit of lying to themselves.

I never speak when I make a deal. I wait, and they come to me. Maybe they expect a dark hooded figure, because it always unnerves them to see the tall woman in jeans and heels waiting under the lamppost. I never accept less than a hundred, and I never turn down an item. I’ve been given guns, knives, toys, photographs, phones, keys, laptops, anything you can imagine and more.

They wonder how I do it. She uses black magic, she melts it down, she opens her mouth and eats the evidence. It’s funny, really, when all I do is turn them into art and sell them to the highest bidding demon. I mostly do found object collages, but also sculptures and the odd painting. I live in the south side of town, and the little old lady I rent from is most appreciative of my watercolors.

I can never sell the pieces to anyone of this world, of course, but certain buyers down below pay out the horns for that unique aura my pieces bring to the room. Sultry guilt, greed, embarrassment–a prominent political figure from down there once paid an enormous sum for a multi-media piece fragrant with shame and dark excitement. It took me months of meeting on street corners, attempting to blend the scents just right. The piece contains a hairbrush with several long strands of auburn hair, sixty lottery tickets, an unopened gold locket, and several bloody leather bracelets, among other things.

My clients wouldn’t be happy if they knew what I did with their secrets, but really, they were only deluding themselves in the first place. Is one secret among a collage really so salacious anymore? I never promised them anything, after all. Never spoke a word.

Picking Up the Thread of the Story

It’s hard to jump back into a WIP cold-turkey. Even if it’s only been a day, the expectation of the blinking cursor just staring at you to pick up where you left off is intimidating. It’s like diving straight into the ocean without a chance to get used to the cold. While sometimes you’ve just got to swim for it, occasionally it’s more productive to ease yourself in.

I have different tricks to break myself into starting to write again for different projects. For the Book of the Dead (my current project), I either listen to part of my playlist for the book, flip through my notebook that contains all of my research, or re-read the last chapter or so to entrench myself back into the narrative. Three visual or auditory triggers that push my brain back into the mode. But other projects have different cues that I use. For one project that I’m titling World Tree for now, almost every time I begin research/writing, I draw out the diagram of the universe I’m working with, actively placing myself into the world I’m about to write about.

It can be as simple as stacking the right books and pens beside the computer or a stricter progression of events done in the right order. Anything to jolt my mind and fingers back into the right story mode. Especially the right story, instead of the one I really want to work on. Anyone else have similar tactics?

story threads

Pictured above: Multitudinous story threads. Make sure you pick the one you’re supposed to. No, not that one.