Anger as a Tool for Action

The other day I was listening to a campaign speech by Bernie Sanders. The one thing that struck me was the authenticity of his anger. Most politicians, at least to me, sound like politicians expressing anger in a glossed-over sound-bite kind of way. But with Sanders, I actually believed his anger. I could feel it, the way it would catch in his throat. It was the kind of anger that drives people to action. It reminded me of a quote from Rick Jarow (of the truly fantastic “Ultimate Anti-Career Guide”) who said that sometimes people don’t make changes in their own lives until they get angry enough.   The other day I went on a rant on Facebook. I was feeling angry. In the past, I’ve not been much of a ranter. I’ve been more of a...

Recovering From the NaNover

Another year, another NaNoWriMo gone by. On the NaNo website it says that there were over 310,000 participants from all over the world (596 regions), though I’m curious as to how many crossed the finish line (if anyone can point me in that direction, please do). But even if someone wrote only 10,000 words, that’s still 10,000 more words that they didn’t have at beginning of the month. That’s something. I’m also curious as to how the process went for others and what they do once they’ve finished. Editing is certainly as personal a process as the writing part is. This year was COMPLETELY different than when I wrote my first NaNoWriMo (INTERGALACTIC) novel two years ago. In 2011, I had been mulling the story and characters over...

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the 3:15 Experiment

I’m a bit at the eleventh hour here with this invitation (SINCE IT BEGINS TONIGHT), but truly, you could join the experiment at any time. And I wanted to write this invitation especially to those who don’t necessarily fancy themselves to be poets. Since August 1993, a shifting menagerie of writers has been waking up each night at 3:15 AM for the entire month of August to write. The original idea was: to discover what connections would be made while writing separately, but together, at the same time for a month while under hypnagogic influences. The experiment was so intriguing and inspiring it kept growing and morphing. Many writers have come to look forward to it every year. Many have created their own guidelines and experiments within the format. We...

Writing Life: The Short Shot

I had written short stories for classes or if someone invited me to write one, but I had never thought about writing for the short story market until about a year-and-a-half ago when I was asked to teach a dystopian fiction class to teenagers focused around producing a short story. I always write with my students and use the development of my own story to demonstrate the creative process. I ended up creating something in my first dystopian fiction class that I really liked and thought there might be a market for the story. I started reading more short stories on line, attending short fiction readings, and picked up several speculative fiction anthologies, and you know what? There’s some really interesting work out there. Many people, including myself, romanticize...

Light Letter of Unsubscription

Light Letter of Unsubscription In honour of my decision to GET and STAY FOCUSED, I have been unsubscribing from the many distracting e-mail lists I’m on. Some are lists my conscience thinks I *should* be on, but have not made the time to read (I like to say “have not made” the time to read instead of “have not had” the time to read to recognize that how I spend my time is always my choice). Yes, I still want to save the planet. Unsubscribing from the oil spill relief newsletter will not make me a bad person. In the past, I would see those emails in my inbox and then file them for later digestion. They’ve been piling up for months. But did I sleep better knowing they were available for immediate retrieval? No, I slept worse...

Indie Bound, Indie Books

Last year at a writers’ conference, a small press publisher was giving a talk and mentioned that her press doesn’t sell their books at Chapters (or Borders or Barnes and Noble). You could see the audience of writers collectively twitch. What did she mean? How could her press afford NOT to have books at any of the major chains? The issue is, that they cannot afford TO sell them there. She explained: Borders has over 500 stores. Lets say that they require you to send 5 books per store. That’s 2,500 books. And lets say only 2 books sell per store and they return the rest (to make room for new titles). Guess who pays for the shipping BOTH ways. The indie publisher. Not only that, the returned books are very often damaged. If this indie publisher...