Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Found: A Cup 'o Kindness

My commenters say we all want to write and revise more in 2010, so I'm going to make a real effort to inspire and help you in the next couple of weeks. First, I offer a simple trick for making better writing resolutions blognapped from the newbie publishing blog of Joe Konrath, a writer who's wrapped his mind around e-publishing better than anyone else.

As you whisper sweet literary promises to yourself for the new year, keep in mind this awesomely simple advice from Konrath:

Goals should be within your power. In other words, anything that involves a yes or no from another human being isn't a goal, it's a dream.

... "I want to be a bestseller" isn't a goal. "I want to attend three writing conferences this year, polish my novel, and send queries to ten agents by November" is a goal.

This year, let's be realistic and specific about our goals.

Here's mine:

In 2010, I am going to produce writing every week and query widely.

Now bloggees, be realistic and specific: Set an achievable writing goal for 2010 and make it public in the comments.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lines from Our Old Comrade, Shakespeare

Wake, Bloggees!

Wipe the sugar plum dust out of your eyes and let's get back to producing stuff.

I'm talking to myself, you know. I've spent these holidays contemplating and plotting, strategic planning, and now I'm putting all the whosits and whatsits into place. 2010 is going to blow our minds.

"When thou wakest,
Thou takest
True delight
In the sight
Of thy former lady's eye:
And the country proverb known,
That every man should take his own,
In your waking shall be shown:
Jack shall have Jill;
Nought shall go ill;
The man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well."

So said Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream

I am feeling optimistic. Tell me, what is your great big goal for 2010?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From: "Alive"

"Is something wrong?" she said.

"Well, of course there is."

"You're still alive," she said.

"Oh, and do I deserve to be?
And is that the question?
And if so, if so,
who answers?"

Eddie Vedder

Monday, December 21, 2009

From: Jellicoe Road

"On the other side of the cell Jonah Griggs and Santangelo are too busy sizing each other up like two demented pit bulls who have to prove who's got the biggest...attitude.

I lean against the bars that separate us from the others. 'So let me get this right,' I say to one of the Townie girls. 'All it takes is to insult someone's mother?'

'No,' she explains. 'That's the beauty of it. They don't actually have to insult. The words Your mother are enough.'

'So if I said to you, "Your mother is a...?"' I shrug.

'Just "Your mother." But it doesn't work if girls say it to each other,' she continues. 'You have to have a penis for it to affect you in such a way.'

'Oh funny, funny,' Santangelo says.

Jellicoe Road
Melina Marchetta

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From: Shiver

"What was I without my wolf's skin? A boy stuffed so full of words that they spilled out of me."

by Maggie Stiefvater

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Found: A Very Good Simile

"The process of writing books is somewhat akin to a very long police interrogation in which the detective leans over the table littered with the butt ends of cigarettes and cold coffee in Styrofoam cups and says for the 87th time, 'Now let's go over this again.'"

Ann Patchett
from a great article on writing resolutions at The Washington Post

Friday, December 11, 2009

Found: The Gist

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

The Shawshank Redemption
said by Andy Dufresne in the movie version
said by Red in the text version (titled "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" and written by Stephen King)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't dream it, be it.

"...Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!"

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol

Oh, what fun! Audible is giving A Christmas Carol read by Tim Curry (!) to all of its members for free, and I'm loving it. If you don't dig audiobooks, you can still read it for free at Gutenberg. But seriously, you should try the audio version. Tim Curry totally brings the sexy back to Dickens.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Napped From the Vault: The Offspring

Sorry about the sporadic posting. I seem to be entering one of those melancholy phases where nothing is as interesting as it once was.

You get that?

I've also been time-traveling via a collection of mix CDs I unearthed in my basement. Perhaps this audio meditation is fueling my dejection?

What evs. It'll pass. Always does. In the meantime, I offer you a songnapping from the nineties. Damn, I love(d) these guys:

"Late at night she knocks on my door.
She's drunk again and looking to score.

Oh, I know I should say no, but

it's kind of hard when she's ready to go.

I may be dumb, but I'm not a dweeb.

I'm just a sucker with no self esteem."

The Offspring

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Narrator, will you please read to me?

I love audiobooks. I am a username-carrying member of Audible.com. I have two mp3 players, peeps: one's just for books.

I don't agree with the assertion that audiobooks are not real books. The knowledge or story represented by the words is in my brain when I'm finished. How is that not reading a book?

5 Great Things about Audiobooks:
  • Pronunciation of difficult names: not a problem.
  • I clean when I listen/read. I can tell how good a book is by how clean my house is.
  • My dog's walks are longer when I'm listening to a good audiobook.
  • I read WAY more books per year since I embraced audiobooks.
  • I get read to sleep every night.
Of course, they're not perfect.

3 Sucky Things about Audiobooks:

  • Sometimes I want to press stop on an audiobook and open a text version--like when the house is clean, the dog is walked, and my finger is poised over the pause button, waiting for a good break.
  • I rarely booknap from audiobooks because I forget to bookmark good parts, and I can't flip through an audiobook to find what I want.
  • Sometimes when I listen/read, I wish I could see how something looks on a page--like when the narrator in Juliet, Naked reads Wikipedia pages, I want to know how they look.
And then there's my Kindle.

Best thing about the Kindle? It's easy to read while eating. I put a piece of tape over the page-turn button so I don't even get it dirty. Kindles have the option (on most books) to turn text to speech--this was a selling point for me--but I hate robot voices that have no inflection, so I hardly ever use that option.

Some books are so good I have them in audio and print form. I've read a Kindle book and then bought the hard copy too--just because seeing certain titles on my bookshelf makes me happy.

And now I introduce my point.

Want to know why I'm always reading more than one book? Because I keep a traditional book, an audiobook, and a Kindle book going simultaneously. It's not a perfect method, but it's a way for me be able to read in the easiest way whenever I get a chance. Publishing industry peeps who are looking for ways to increase profits, take note: I would pay extra to get a Kindle, text, and audio version of a book in a bundle--not every book, mind you--but just like I shell out extra cash for a hardcover on occasion, I'd have no problem paying extra to get some books in all three forms, and if they were available as a package price instead of $25 for audio, $15 for print, and $10 for kindle, I'd feel like I was getting a deal.

What's your take on audiobooks? Like 'em? Hate 'em? Don't consider 'em real books? Never tried 'em? Got any recommendations? Want mine? Lolitaread by Jeremy Irons rocked my world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From: The Seven Storey Mountain

"The integrity of an artist lifts a man [or woman] above the level of the world without delivering him [or her] from it."

Thomas Merton

[equality added by me]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From: "Black Boys on Mopeds"

"These are dangerous days--
To say how you feel is to dig your own grave."

Sinead O'Connor