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Fresh Start #10,000

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

I’m all about fresh starts. If you go back and read through the archives of this blog (or if you are from past parts of my life and have read the various incarnations of my online diaries/journals/websites over the years) you’ll know that I’m always starting projects anew. See my post about orphan writing fragments for example (why is it so easy to start things and never finish?) or look at my dozens of half filled journals. I’m a commitment-phobe when it comes to journaling and blogging. I have no idea why. I like to write. I like to write about myself and the things I like. I sometimes like to share these thoughts with people, whether or not they are interested, in the faux-anonymous setting of the internet. One would think all this would translate into blogging quite nicely. But after a few weeks, or a month if I’m lucky, things always tend to peter out.

I don’t know why this is. One theory I have had, is that I only tend to journal when things in my life are going poorly. When things are going well, I’m too busy enjoying myself to write about it. This is why all those half-filled hardcover journals of mine tend to be depressing, angsty things, and are not really an accurate representation of my life as a whole. Perhaps I only tend to journal when I take a few moments to think really deeply about something and then am moved to write about it. And have to the time to put fingertips to keys or pen to paper and worry out the thoughts onto a page. Am I not thinking deeply enough, often enough? Or is a full life just getting in the way of writing about life?

Regardless, I’d like to try again. Here. And while, I’m not going to make more vast, sweeping promises about what I will and will not do in this blog, I’m going to give it a shot. I have too many other things going on in my life (crazy job! baby! socks to organize! try not to kill plants!) that I can’t even begin to organize my brain around the idea of blogging frequently. But I want to. I want to write more, of course, and I want you to be a part of it. I’d like to try for once a week maybe? We’ll see. If you’re reading this (Bueller?) and I haven’t posted in a while, look, ask me about it. Ask me what I’m reading or writing, what’s going on. I’ll do my best to answer thoroughly and honestly.

First visit or feel the need to re-acquaint yourself with what I’m trying to do here? See my previous “fresh start” post which still holds so very true: Hello, World! and feel free to browse the archives.

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Update

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Still here. I’ve pretty much wrapped up my event schedule for the spring which should give me more time to get some writing done. Today I spent several hours working on a letter to my pen pal. I am terrible about regular correspondence, but when I do write letters, I go whole hog. I literally spent the entire morning working on it and it’s still not done. It’s important to me that I get down all my thoughts in the right order, answer any questions thoroughly, propose new questions and directions of conversation. In a letter, all you have are the words to convey exactly the right tone. There seems to be a thin line between seeming conversational and shallow or between exploring ideas and sounding preachy. I am most likely over thinking things, but I just try to do right by my pen pal (especially since I’ve made her wait practically forever for this letter). She and I also have an on-going writing exercise where she writes a piece and then I continue it and so on. That’s the piece I haven’t finished yet.

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Favorite reads of 2010

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

So I put together this list in January with the intent to post it but never got around to it. So here it is! According to my Goodreads account I read 83 books in 2010; my goal for 2011 is 101 (my little Goodreads widget says I’m two books behind schedule… d’oh! better finish some of those ‘currently reading’ books that have been languishing…)

What were some of your favorite books you read last year?

FAVORITE READS OF 2010 (more…)

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Hello World!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Welcome to my blog! You may notice that this is not, in fact, the first post. Funny that. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying (and failing) to muster up the courage to create this space where I can write about, well, writing and at the same time share it with people I care about. But I’m putting an end to that right now.

This post has gone through many iterations, most of which were scrapped due to the fact that they came out sounding hopeless. Periodically I am seized by a debilitating fear that everything I have ever written is garbage, who am I trying to fool I am no good at this, who would want to ever hear about anything I have to say, what’s the use I’ll always be a failure, etc. etc. Greg would tell you these bouts of doubt and low self-worth come juuust about once a month. Let’s just say he was not far off when I last sat down to write this post and could barely sleep that night thinking of how lame it/I/this whole idea was. Alternate that with shoveling down copious amounts of popcorn and chocolate chips while watching a lot of TV… well, it wasn’t pretty.

Whether or not they are in fact hormonally fueled, these ‘Existential Writerly Crises’ are part of why I wanted to start this blog. You can read a lot more about the hows and whys here. But I now have even more motivation because, due to a career shift, I “have more time to write” and plan to take full advantage. The fact that my current job is working in a bookstore and working with authors should just be more fuel for the fire. Up to this point I haven’t been very good about consistently writing in this newly minted “free time” but I’m hoping this blog will give me a bit of a nudge and that you, my dear readers, will help to nudge me too (Note: I keep putting “free time” in quotation marks because sometimes my “part-time job” is 24 hours a week and other times it’s 45).

For those of you who are reading this and thinking “Wait… Allison writes stuff? Like, other than emails and facebook updates?” it’s like I know, right? But in all seriousness, yes, I try to. In fact, writing has been a huge part of my personal identity since the fourth grade when I read Diane Duane’s So You Want to Be a Wizard and decided I Wanted to Be a Writer. So from my first story attempts about an orphan named Shirley Buckins entering public school or that one about the four sets of red-headed twin siblings that lived with their quirky parents and ate weird sandwiches to an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, I have had a love/hate/love relationship with writing. I write prose, poetry, some essay, the occasional play or song. I have not been published except in school literary magazines etc.

For those of you who are reading this and thinking “Well, I know she’s been telling me she’s a writer since forever and went to school for it and everything. But I haven’t seen an iota of writing proof so I don’t really believe her,” it is for you especially that I have put together this blog. I write but most of it lives it’s life sequestered in vague folders on my computer entitled “Writing” or “Creative Stuff” or “Bits & Pieces.” I want to talk about why I haven’t shared my writing with you. I want to talk about my thoughts on writing en general. I want to show you some of the things I’ve worked on/am working on and hear what you have to say. Really. However… This. Terrifies. Me. It is so much easier to sit and write and brainstorm in the solitude of my own brain and hard drive. But I am convinced that I won’t be able to grow as a writer if I don’t seek out an audience. So please be patient as I peek out from inside my shell.

I am going to do my darndest to be good and consistent about posting and about sharing snippets of what I’m working on. Occasionally I might even post a full story or two on Scribd that I’m looking for feedback on. We’ll see. Baby steps. But I hope they are steps you’re willing to take with me.

Lastly, a quick word on the name: I am not saying I am mightier than anyone else, only that I am trying to become a mightier me. I am not saying everything I write here will be beautiful, but the fact that I am writing and that I can share it with you, that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

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Word Count: 688

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Switched gears to a different story that has been tugging at my brain for many moons now. Tentatively titled “Drought,” it’s a sort of futuristic, climate-gone-to-hell, story that has some interesting implications. Told in the first person, which is also different for this kind of story. Is it fantasy? I don’t know yet. I don’t think so, but it could be in some respects

Or when he told us how, to melt ice in winters, he and his parents would sprinkle salt on the roads and paths around their home. That they did that all throughout Lartuka.
“More salt?” Ivon said, enraged, “You melted ice with salt?”
“I’ve never seen ice,” I said, “What is it like?”
“Like glass, but clear and cold,” my grandfather said.
“And made of fresh water,” said Ivon, throwing down his materials and storming out of the tent.
“Not always,” our grandfather said quietly, “When the storms came, some winters got so cold and long that there would be sheets of ice slamming against the shore.” He turned to me with sad eyes, “I’m sorry Garreth, for the legacy we have left you with. There was no way we could know.”
I wanted to blame him for the salt, for the water disappearing into the earth, for not knowing the taste of ice. But his sun-worn face and his eyes, the color of the inside of mussel shells, look so tired that I can’t help but forgive him. Who knows what actions I take now that I will regret if I live to be as old as he? Who knows how the world will look then?

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Word Count: 487

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Revising/rewriting my story “Heat Wave,” originally part of my senior thesis. I was inspired to come back to this by a talk one of our author’s gave about his new book. The subject? Blackouts. He said ‘You know, there’s very little Literature centered around blackouts.’ I almost wanted to raise my hand and mention that I had written a short story that took place during a blackout, but I didn’t.

My big struggle with this story is combining the feel of it, which I love, this kind of otherworldly sensation, with a strong narrative voice and a penetrating loneliness. The author’s talk made me think of another direction this story could take. Though I’m still in love with the final scene… we’ll have to see if it makes it back there. Anyway, I’ve begun re-writing from scratch, which I haven’t really done before. We’ll see where it goes! The opening lines:

This morning the power went out. It’s this heat, this heat that has wrapped itself around the city and is choking it. This heat that has paralyzed everything.

The temperature has been rising all week. Every day, a record breaking high; every night, a brownout. The power dips to a dull buzz, the fans turn languidly, the lights dim so that the filaments are exposed in bright, hot coils. Too many people struggling to stay cool. Sometime the grid sags for ten minutes, sometimes for two hours. But early this morning the power dipped and hummed and then flickered out entirely. Not just in this building, but half the nation’s capitol is in muggy darkness. I know because the silence woke me and it was darker than I have ever seen it this side of the Rockies. For a brief gasping moment I thought I was back home, back in Arizona. Then the humidity settled on me like a thick, hot blanket and I knew that I was still here and still alone.

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And now for something a little bit silly…

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

From Lucian Merça’s “Some Earthlings’ Adventures on Outrerria” from The SWFA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent:

“At on point during the operation, the work crew let it be known that, shortly after dawn, the Earthling General had died from a combination of advanced years and bullets…”

“He clapped Ciprian on the back, ‘My friend, at this very moment we are making history!’
Ciprian said nothing, but merely stared at the inexorably advancing walls. He was indeed making something just then, but it wasn’t history and it was located in his pants.”

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Writing I Submitted to the Oakland Review: Alumni Issue

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

PROSE

Elephants on Memorial

They lined up, as if for a parade, for as far as you could see, the people and beasts.

These Four Walls

The newest thing in the house is not the flat screen TV. The newest thing in the house is the lock on the front door.

POETRY

the sounds that carry

This house is built on stilts
for when the floods come.

Aspens

Fallow (more…)

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Cockleshells

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Here we go, the first ever NEW piece of creative writing to be posted to this blog! Hurray, huzzah, hallelujah and other various forms of jubilation. Ladies and gents, I have been writing, I promise, though in fits and starts, and will start proving it to you starting right now.

(Please note that 90% of the poetry and prose I’m posting here is in draft form. Also, 90% of what I post here is in the pool of works to be submitted to literary magazines when I am able to get around to it)

Cockleshells (more…)

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