fiction


Like pens and knitting needles. I’m running because it would seem I’ve overextended myself, but it’s okay, because I’ve got an excellent support system.

After fiddling with my thesis, I have come to the conclusion that, for now, writing scenes in no particular order. That’s not usually how I “roll” (as the kids would say)–but it’s how I’m getting through this semester. Some things I’ve been reading, that you may like, too:

Ellen Gilchrist’s I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting With My Daddy is a moving collection of mostly connected short stories. Rhoda Manning narrates most of the stories–all the stories, whether having to do with Rhoda or not–are redeeming, hopeful and charming. I suggest reading it after the more depressing Strout to uplift the spirits that are sure to sink a bit upon the reading of Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. Strout’s award-winning novel is well written, but I found it hard to follow at times. yeah, I get that Olive Kitteridge’s story is told from a bunch of people’s perspectives. Some of the stories are really great, too. My advice? If you’re a short story lover, like me, read it: think of it as a collection of stand-alones that happen to have some repeating roles in the stories. My favorite short was “Starving.” Just so you know.

Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina is a classic, some might say; and some may find it repulsive or too brash or, I don’t know, stereotypical. I found it to be none of these things. Well, Repulsive, in the sense that Bone leads a life full of tragedy–but Allison speaks the unspeakable with a clear, jaded voice of a young girl. She is not afraid to bring forth a flawed character and explore–and even celebrate–the flaw of humanity. Celebrate may not be the right word. But she shows that the will to live is a powerful thing, and that we can overcome so much: not because of faith, or even family–but we can overcome because it is the basest tenant of our hardwiring as humans.

I’ve been surfing the web between sentences here, so I’m sure my narrative is a bit disjointed. Apologies.

And about running with sharp objects: the sharpest object of all would be a word. Any word. Put them together, it’s a damned mighty sword… I’ve been running with a lot of words lately, and I’m learning that, when not handled well, they’re pretty weak (much like a butter knife). But when a word is sharp, and clear and solid: it’s like a well-polished sword. Now I just have to quit running with them before I impale myself.


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Er. Literature-Lane. Not “lit” as in the slang “lit.” Umph. I’m reading as much as possible now that I’m grad-school-bound. I mean, it occurs to me that I’m really not that well-read. I was talking to a good friend on the phone the other night; a friend who, though not graduate-bound is intelligent and well-read. Most of our book-related conversations are peppered with his mentionings of must-reads and classics, famous (to the literate) names and so on–and my responses are always “who’s that?” or “what?” (only sometimes because of cell-phone malfunction). Perhaps I can turn a passable phrase, but I cannot attest to having absorbed the works that (should) impact my writing. I’ve read blurbs and blips, but said friend suggested that I read before the June residency–a good suggestion. I would really hate to be one of the youngest students in the program and exemplify my naivete in not knowing much at all about writing-stuffs.

You see, when I first applied to Goddard, the director of admissions recommended I be prepared, at least, for a rejection, given my young age and the inherent lack of experience that accompanies our twenties. Early twenties, at that. I fearlessly applied anyway, and the director of admissions called to personally welcome me. I relayed this to said friend and after a lengthy discussion of his name-dropping and my refrains “who’s that?” and “what book is that?” and he so kindly said, “you might want to read–people who go to grad school will know these things.”

That may sound harsh. But it’s totally true, and I know B says this only with my best interests at heart. I mean. I already told Stephen Dobyns that I didn’t know who he was, but I was glad I met him… Yes. I said that. To Dobyns. To his face. *God. I’m such a tool.* I blush to think I said that at nineteen and I would hate, at twenty-three, that I would make a different, but equally embarrassing, literary faux pas.

GOD. “Reading” does not even exist in my listed categories of tags. ‘Nuf said.

If anyone has any suggestions toward the subject of spinning merino top, please let me know! I am quickly learning that a drop spindle could just as well be called a throw spindle when in my hands. Some fellow Ravelers were talking about this (well, they called it a “toss-spindle”–I’m not so kind to mine, maybe).

Spin, drop, spin, spin, drop, drop, drop.

They talk about finding a rhythm.

That would be my rhythm

(spin drop

drop spin…)

Syncopated for a little jazzy-snazzy variation on the theme.

I have come to the conclusion that learning to spin is not an endeavor for the faint of heart–in the sense that it takes much practice and much failure before one sees much improvement.

As for the writing: I am still doing that. I’ve given some thought to my fiction these past few days. Hours. Eh. Time is malleable. Oh, but the spin-subject plagues me. Right now, the subject could go so many different ways. If any of you dear readers have a particular burning curiosity that you would like me to follow up on, I’d appreciate any questions, comments, quips, quotes cares or concerns! (Ahem, Teabird, dear Ravelry friend… L, dear long-lost, hope-to-see-again-soon friend, my favorite commenters!!)

People get sick. It happens. I’m not sick, but I’m keeping the sick company… so I’m not going to the LYS like I had hoped to…

I was making a purse from this book by Laura Irwin. I ran out of yarn. But it’s all okay: I’m simply omitting the flap closer which will save yardage and, though it will be close, I can have a flapless purse; Instead, I’ll opt for a zipper and I’m hoping it will be super cute.

Sorry. Still no pictures.

I’ve gotten some good writing done. It’s kind of mundane: about mundane people, mundane events…the interesting part is the psychology. What makes mundane people do mundane, though odd, things. For instance, why does a grieving widow date the same (slightly creepy) man for three months, at which point suggesting sex–even though she isn’t in the slightest attracted to him? That’s my character now. It’s more an exercise in understanding the heads of characters. My goal is to get this woman’s strange and somewhat uninteresting behavior to be understanding and intriguing. This woman wears black on her Friday night dates; she hates the fact her steady date is an electric train enthusiast and is repulsed by the degree of affection he displays toward his mother.

Okay. Maybe it’s a little lame. But at least I am writing again. I keep telling myself that. It’s practice, and other ideas will spawn, I am sure, from this lame little exercise. If nothing else, I might even keep up the habit. I used to be so diligent–but lately I find I never write, and this, at least, is a positive change of pace.

I’ve begun outlining and sketching characters for my NaNoWriMo novel. My professor of writing is supportive and I think I’m developing a potentially fruitful support group through Ravelry. 

I’m not typically one for in depth outlines, etc. One thing I shall do (and soon) is to draw a map of Balsam River, KY–the fictional town where the novel takes place. I find that I prefer realism, but I also prefer fictional or mostly fictional place settings in my writing–a little more freedom that way.
As far as knitting goes, it’s kind of being neglected. I shall post pictures of things one day. For now: nothing but boring words, words, words.