Most. Arrogant. Blog. Ever.

Last Monday I got to meet God. Well, not really, not like [the time I ate all that Depakote and Tylenol and woke up on a respirator][1]. This was much more fun.[![][2]][3] I attended [Rainy Day Books'][4] signing-and-reading event with Chuck Palahniuk, and it was divine. Imagine being a Catholic and having the Pope officiate at your wedding. Imagine being a fifteen-year-old boy and getting to stick your thumb up Jenna Jameson's ass. Yeah. It was that great.For one thing, it was encouraging to hear him talk about his first real writing group, the one where his mentor took him aside one night, after a bout of heavy drinking, and said, "Chuck, you can't write worth shit, but you tell a hell of a story. If you could just write like you talk. . . ." and the rest is history. Because I can't make up a good story to save my life. Oh, I can tell one, and tell it masterfully, but it has to be something that I or someone else lived through. Hearing Chuck (and after meeting this mellow, infinitely friendly and patient guy, you really can't refer to him as "Mr. Palahniuk") talk about how almost all of his writing is drawn from the true, funny, revolting, entertaining stories people have related to him gave me hope that I can, indeed, be a successful writer without being able to weave a plot out of whole cloth.On the other hand, it was discouraging as shit. Because I realized that writing in a vacuum is like masturbation compared to sex. Trying to create a quality, marketable product without feedback is lonely and frustrating, to say the least.I seriously considered ponying up the 65 bucks to join the writing group at [chuckpalahniuk.net][5], which looks to be a legitimate and infinitely informative endeavor. But it's focused on the Minimalist style of writing, and although I love reading that style, it isn't my bag. As any of you who have read this blog for any length of time know full well. I've been a member of [CritiqueCircle.com][6] and a few other online critique groups for about a year now. And they're about as helpful as teeth in your asshole. Oh, I've learned a shitload about being sensitive and democratic, as hard as that might be to believe. The way CritiqueCircle works, you earn points through giving critiques, and use those points to "buy" your work a space in the critique queue. And it's a great system, for everyone but me.For one thing, the vast majority of the writing on these sites is either romance, fantasy, or young adult/children's lit. And I use "lit" generously. Aside from the fact that I don't enjoy reading any of these genres, 99% of the writing genuinely SUCKS. I'm not talking your general grammatical errors, I'm talking stories set in Denmark where the main character robs old ladies behind Wal-Mart, walks down Mississippi street, eats at Wendy's, buys fifty hits of Ecstacy for eighteen bucks, takes them all, and then burns down a church. (If I could make this shit up, I wouldn't be wasting my time writing a memoir right now.) How am I supposed to get critiques that improve my writing from these hacks?The critiques I do get on these sites fall into two categories. The first is, "OMG, you're such an awesome writer, this was amazing, I loved reading it. . . . ." Which is great, don't get me wrong. I love ego-stroking as much as the next guy. But that's not what I need. The second is, "I read three sentences and couldn't go on." Which is to be expected from someone who's writing about a single mother of five bi-racial children finding true love in line at the grocery store. I've gotten a grand total of TWO critiques that offered helpful advice, and those were technical-when to spell out numbers and when to write them out, mostly. They both pointed out my tendency toward run-on sentences, but they also conceded that this "error" fits well with the narrative voice.![][7]So lately I've been looking for a real, actual, physical, local writer's group. Know what I found? These fruits ----------> Like I'm seriously going to walk in and plop down [Bub And His Big Gun][4] on their desks. I'm feeling quite discouraged right now. I have very little formal training in the "art" of writing. I know damn good and well that I'm a brilliant natural writer. But what I want, what I need at this point, as I try and prepare a manuscript worth pimping out to agents, is someone who will sit down and rip my writing to shreds. I need someone to say, "This sucks, and this is exactly WHY it sucks". And I need that someone to be a person, or a group of persons, who isn't a writer of chick-lit romance, or sword-and-sorcery fantasy, or deep and brooding "I can't find a meaningful relationship and this thirty-page description of me boiling pasta and staring out my loft apartment window at the dirty gray clouds explains, obliquely, exactly why" modern literature. What I need, in other words, is a community-center common room filled with a dozen clones of [Rob Gillaspie][8]. I have the feeling I'm not going to find it. [1]: http://www.lawrence.com/blogs/nuckolls/2005/oct/18/suicide/ [2]: http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/napalm/me_n_chuck-sm.jpg [3]: http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/napalm/me_n_chuck-lg.jpg [4]: http://entropicdoom.blogdrive.com/archive/cm-6_cy-2006_m-6_d-20_y-2006_o-30.html [5]: http://chuckpalahniuk.net [6]: http://CritiqueCircle.com [7]: http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/napalm/fruits-sm.jpg [8]: http://www.lawrence.com/blogs/sinemaparasito/

Comments

Aileen Dingus 16 years, 3 months ago

I love you Misty. And you suck. Just how you suck I'm still trying to figure out. Just in general.

Did that help? It wasn't really heartfelt.

I will email you some sites/people.

Patrick Quinn 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty--

You've got real chops. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that criticism--even informed criticism--will make the writing process any easier. (Good criticism makes it harder.)

Best advice I've ever heard is from Ray Bradbury, who delivers this lecture at writing conferences. First, finish the piece. (That stops about 50 percent of all writers right there.) Really truly finish it. Then throw it in a closet for at least two weeks (a month is better) and don't think about it. Then open it up and give it a fresh read w/ fresh eyes. Bradbury said that whatever reads pretty well after that cooling-off period is probably good stuff, and everything that reads iffy just sucks and has to go.

After you've fixed the stuff that you yrself realize is weak, back into the closet w/ it for another two weeks. If it then reads reasonably well, yr ready to turn the child over to the Inquisition of yr choice.

Writing groups and communal criticism can be extremely helpful, but (imo) only for finished work. If you let the gang in to chop up a work-in-progress, well, of course that's what they'll do, and in my experience that isn't always helpful.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, guys. Quinno, that was incredibly encouraging advice. The work in question is being written as a series of mostly stand-alone stories. Whenever I open one up after not reading it for a couple of months. . . .well, almost all of them give me chills. I sit there reading going, "Goddamn, I'm good." And I'm usually the first person to hate my own writing after leaving it alone. So I'm feeling great about it right now! Thanks!

Joel 16 years, 3 months ago

This is Jack's (oops, Misty's) lack of confidence.

Sorry. Awful "Fight Club" reference.

Terry Bush 16 years, 3 months ago

Great. Thanks. Now I have a pain in my side, from laughing at the "asshole with teeth" line. (But really, that might prove to be helpful in prison.... so is the moral that anything CAN be helpful under the right conditions??).

I hope you find the help, agent, and audience of your dreams. And that they all result in you becoming well off, if not down right rich. Mainly I hope these things because I think you deserve them, but also because I want the baby to have siblings soon!

Terry Bush 16 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and pray tell what traits of Rob are you attempting to replicate...why not list them, for those reading this who may not be familiar with his rather unique qualifications.....

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

1) He's a goddamn good writer. 2) Much of what he writes is in the same vein, and narrative style, as what I write. 3) He's not afraid to be an asshole.

thetomdotdot 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty,

Me, I'm a reader not a critic, so all I can do is tell you that I like reading your work, and look forward to more.

I joined a songwriting group back in the day, and had about the same (Wow, that sounds like Foreigner (Fuck you very much)) luck. It's a cycle. Don't let it drag you down.

Whats wrong with the pace? I mean it wasn't really that long ago that you didn't even have the memoir written, right? Seems like you're kicking ass from where I'm standing.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you don't need to hear that either, but here's what I'm saying. You're standing at the amatuer/pro divide. It's supposed to be difficult. If it wasn't, they wouldn't need you. So hang in there, and keep pushing. Just remember, I'm out here wanting to buy your book. And figure out how to blog an autograph.

scary_manilow 16 years, 3 months ago

I'm interested in your "writing group" and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

You met Chuck. Color me J-E-A-L-O-U-S!

cvillehawk 16 years, 3 months ago

I left you a little feedback on Bub. Just my immediate reactions upon finishing reading it, which are necessarily shallow.

Terry Bush 16 years, 3 months ago

If you clone Rob, can you promise to control all the clones or will we have to put them in cages in order to protect ourselves? And you'd better plan to have an equal number of Edie clones on hand to help out!

thetomdotdot 16 years, 3 months ago

An equal number of sniffer clones might ying the yang.

thetomdotdot 16 years, 3 months ago

And what was Mr. God doing with your hand?

Aileen Dingus 16 years, 3 months ago

Wow. Everybody else had much better suggestions than the ones I was going to email you. LOL

On a completely different note- who's going to the band concert tonight in South Park? If you are going, come sit by me. We'll be over by the jugglers, maybe with our dog. I'll be knitting.

manofleisure 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty,

More. Active. Verbs. Less. Vague. Prounouns.

Nary an "is" (or any other weak verb) should mar your page. It, This, There, etc., should be excised at all costs

Methinks Chandler said best, "Writing should be lean, racy and vivid."

Best of luck. Luce

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

cville--Thank you! I'd forgotten, before I linked that, that it was the NaNoWriMo version--I've edited it and chopped it down a bit since then. I'll address your comments directly on the entropicdoom.blog, mostly because it will do me good to have to think them out. That's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. Wanna be in my club? ;) thetom. . . that was a severed plastic hand that was groping my titty. Chuck asked nicely, though ;) And you always have a way of making my day. Rob---no newsletter yet, but email me and we'll talk. I would be utterly psyched to set something up with you and some other talented folks--I did a little happy dance when I read your comment! Plus, you have access to a well-lubricated venue, do you not? Dazie--send 'em on, anyway. I can always ignore what I can't use. And thanks!

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

manofleisure--Thank you. Helpful as all get out. I appreciate it!

Bethany Jones 16 years, 3 months ago

You could always go back to college and take a creative writing class ;)

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Taken 3 college creative writing classes, starting in 7th grade. I'm not suffering through that hell yet again ;)

Patrick Quinn 16 years, 3 months ago

If only Chandler actually wrote that way...

Hammett is the Man.

thetomdotdot 16 years, 3 months ago

The world would be a better place if you went back to school and TAUGHT a creative writing class.

Don't mind me. I'm just kissin ass. I'm glad you straightened me out on the picture. I was all like damn she's got big hands.

And don't start sentences with "and".

Fowler 16 years, 3 months ago

Wow! Thanks for the link to chuckpalahniuk.net. The 13 tips were great. Don't quit. Here's two more sources of advice worth checking out. You may have already seen these books:

Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031228716X/002-4880056-2479219?v=glance&n=283155

In spite of his overuse of the term "the craft", this book is a great way to boil down the writing process into chunks you can use to jump-start a new story, or rewrite something. Read it. You won't be sorry.

and:

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679734031/002-4880056-2479219?v=glance&n=283155

This is a bit high-handed at times, but the advice is dead-on. It's an essential reference.

I must defend Deborah Shouse. She's a good writer IMO. Perhaps not quite your style and perhaps not so good at choosing photos to use for pumping her writing. Kinda looks like an adv. for a christian swingers club, doesn't it. Still, I think I could learn a few things from her. Did she critique your work?

Hey, speaking of photos, the old flippin' off the camera photo ain't all that great either. Peruse the party pic album from any KU frat party and you'll see what I mean. Hacky!

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Fowler--my flippin' off the camera bit was in direct response to my old blog logo being pulled because some dried up old bitch got offended, and because some members of the JW staff pussed out on the issue. It wasn't meant to make me look "cool"; it was a pointed fuck-you to some very specific people. Besides, I put it up to a vote---I wanted the pastel Goatse rendering ;)

I don't know Deborah Shouse, I'm sure she's a great writer and a good teacher--I just saw that picture and went, "yeah. I seriously doubt they want to read my writing, much less critique it." Hell, that's my problem with most online critique groups, too--my subject matter is too raw for the vast majority of people to even read all the way through, much less give an honest critique of it. And I don't need "inspiration" to write, or "permission to unleash my creativity", which seems to be what they're schilling, at least based on the web page I saw. So although I'm sure she's a hell of a teacher, I don't think she and her partner are my cup of tea, nor I theirs.

And thanks very much for the links--I'll certainly be checking them out after I get the munchkin to bed tonight.

Bethany Jones 16 years, 3 months ago

"Taken 3 college creative writing classes, starting in 7th grade. I'm not suffering through that hell yet again ;)"

Well, the English major curriculum is going to push you to be a good writer. If you want someone who knows how to WRITE to critique your work, English professors are a great place to start.

scary_manilow 16 years, 3 months ago

Wait, aren't most English profs just failed writers to begin with? All that time they spent in school learning how to write they could have been in the trenches, having actual life experiences...

Nick Spacek 16 years, 3 months ago

I'll join the writing group.

Can Rob and I bring drinks?

Bethany Jones 16 years, 3 months ago

"Wait, aren't most English profs just failed writers to begin with?"

Guess it depends on which college you go to, eh? At UH every professor has at least written their own textbook, and most of them have several other publications out, as well. Not sure how it is at KU, but I had some great professors while I was there who were more than happy to help me with my writing. If you want to be the best, you have to work with the best, which usually means they've had something published. That's why internet critique groups aren't always the way to go.

thetomdotdot 16 years, 3 months ago

And Paul McCartney should take a music theory class.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Jester---you're on, and oh, hell yes you can. Email me.

Bethie--my experience with English professors has been pretty much exactly that. Not so much that they're "failed" writers, more that they've spent so long cramming their heads with theory and form and grammar and comparison and analysis that they've smothered any raw creative impulse they once had. And they refuse to accept that any work that doesn't contain at least three different levels of subtext and allegory and wry homage to obscure writers can actually be good. In other words, they think the shit to death. If I ever go back to school, it's not going to be as an English major--I enjoy reading books for fun, even dumb books, and I'm not going to have that spoiled for me. thetom. . . seriously, I'm blushing.

your_mileage_may_vary 16 years, 3 months ago

I thought it worked like this: you write something, take it to a publisher, they like it, and assign an editor to fix things. Or you find an editor yourself and pay them (or promise to pay on publication.)

Submit, reject, submit again, reject again, submit again, reject... and then one day: accepted!

Link to your website, and put up a PayPal donations button.

Terry Bush 16 years, 3 months ago

What you describe in the way of teacher versus practioner applies to a lot of professions. E.g. Theater. Most paid actors, movie or stage, do not teach their craft (at least not at the college/university level). And most teachers of acting do not get paid to act (unless you include the occasional equity gig for some community theater group). The same scenario plays out in many areas; law, engineering, journalism, etc.

Sometimes it works out that way b/c they tried going paid pro, and failed. Sometimes the teacher ends up teaching b/c they really prefer that to making their living any other way.

Either way, it is really a different skill set - teaching and doing.

But, I agree with Misty on how some teachers can end up ruining a talent by trying to ritualize how it is exercised. All too often, those who teach would have loved to made their living doing their chosen genre, but for a variety of reasons (like of talent, lack of drive, lack of luck) they didn't get to do so. So they become bitter stuck up snobs who try (perhaps without knowing that is their goal) to ruin the chances of anyone else's making it to where they could not go.

However, SOME really good teachers could have and/or actually did make a living doing the deed - they just happen to also have a talent (and desire) to pass along the wisdom. Alas, those types of teachers are pretty rare.

As for becoming a sucess (read - getting paid) to do anything - I think it takes a combination of the following, in no particular order:

(1) Talent (ability), (2) desire, (3) hard work, (4) time and (5) LUCK!

I think the first item (talent/ability) is far less important then the other items... Many "hacks" end up making a living while those with more talent flounder. Why? Because of one of the other 4 items not being around....

Thus, back to teachers who did not succeed at making their living in the field, this explains why some talented people end up teaching others how to give it a whirl professionally.... You can't assume you will "be discovered" just because you are talented or want it bad. You have to work at your craft, whatever it is, AND do all you can to "self-market".

And hope/pray that someone who can open doors will do so. If you keep knocking you may just eventually knock on the right one. Luck, in the end, plays a big part in being a commercial sucess.

Bethany Jones 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty, English 101 doesn't count ;-). When you get to upper (350+) English courses, you get to pretty much do whatever you want. Even if you're forced to write about something you have no interest in, it causes you to be creative and learn to write about anything. If you can write about something you hate WELL, you'll be able to write about anything well. And I never said you weren't a good writer -- you are, obviously -- but you said you wanted to be a great writer and being forced to write is a great place to start.

synapsis 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty, I would also be interested in a cool, fun, productive yet informal (read: relaxed but brutally honest) writers' group.

I've been sitting on a manuscript for years now, and as a result, much needs to be re-written -- but it's something that I started in college in the sort of upper-level creative writing classes BadEnglishMajor described.

The kind in which I was fortunate enough to have the amazing and rare kind of teacher ladylaw referred to.

The kind that gave a lowly junior with lots of ambition as a writer the chance to work with graduate-students in just the kind of scenario you're looking for -- where we got to write and help revise each others' full-fledged novels over the course of a semester.

Man, when the school-thing works, it really works... it just all depends on the teachers AND the students involved.

But more to the point, there's absolutely no reason why such a group couldn't be replicated on our own... so long as it stays on point, and the IDEA doesn't get lost in a haze of ego.

You don't know me, but Jester and Scary do. So maybe they'd vouch for me. And yeah, it would be a whole lotta fun -- not to mention the fact that it might also yield the kind of motivation I've been needing to finish this damn book.

Count me in... if you'll have me.

PS -- I'll bring the beer. I'm making some more Scottish Ale this week, Jester. Give it about 3 weeks, and we can all come over and tap a keg and read each others' stuff.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Oh, hell yeah, synapsis. I'm not really looking to be the Fearless Leader of any sort of group (I've never been great at management or leadership), so I don't know that you need to ask my permission, per se. But fuck, you make beer--you could be writing American Idol fanfic and I'd vote you in ;)

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

your_mileage---about two months ago I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this.

"Honey! Holy shit! Look at this!! I'm a real writer now! It's fucking official!"

"What, did an agent get back to you? Do they want to see your manuscript?"

"No, but I got my first rejection form-letter! I can now call myself a real writer, and no one can cry 'bullshit!'"

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

And Bethie--I've taken English classes at the 400 and above level, and like I said. . . I like reading for fun. I'm sure it's a great route for a lot of folks, but I'm pretty much at a point in my life where I can't just drop the whole family thing and go into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to spend four years getting a degree that will maybe help me be a better writer, especially not when I can find the resources to help me grow as a writer outside the hallowed halls of academia.

renaemills 16 years, 3 months ago

mitzibel - what college did you go to? Most colleges don't let anyone that isn't in the major take any class above a 300 level. and I think that Badenglishmajor wasnt saying you should go get a degree but that creative writing classes WILL help you. they certainly aren't going to make you do any worse and a creative writing class doesn't require any reading so your "reading for fun" thing won't be bothered.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

renae--I was a double-major in Theater and English with a minor in Creative Writing at K-State, and an English major at KU and Labette County Community College. As far as taking a college creative writing class---why is it so hard to believe that a 28-year-old who is trying to write a memoir filled with humiliating acts of sex and violence and degredation and death and felony-level crime maybe doesn't think that a classroom full of fresh-faced 18-year-olds and a TA passing out sonnet assignments is her best resource? YES, I know they have good things to teach--and I'VE LEARNED THEM ALREADY. Been there, done that, multiple times, and taken away some very valuable information. I've read innumerable books on the subjects of style and composition and "jump-starting the creative process" and self-editing and revision and all the other ways people have thought up to say "how to not write like crap". I am not an untrained writer; I am a writer looking for a community.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

What I'm looking for is writers who can relate to not only my style and subject matter, but my current situation as a writer--i.e., one who writes when she has the chance, not one who writes because that's what the loans are paying for and the grade is depending on--an informal critique group of adults. A group of people who are writers when they're not bartenders or moms or roofers, a group of people who are as unwilling as me to put their work in front of a teenaged girl who's never written anything that wasn't an assignment, much less who's never gotten puking drunk and woken up in bed next to someone whose name she can't remember, and expect to get useful feedback that goes beyond catching spelling errors. Not a class with a teacher, not a seminar on showing-not-telling, not a circle-jerk of "oooh, that poem really made me feel how painful it is to realize that you never told your dad how much you cared".

My creative-writing class experience has shown me that the vast majority of the critiques you're going to get are from your fellow students---and forgive me if I'm being arrogant, here, but I don't see how a class that's half-full of folks taking the "easy credit" option and half-full of eager teenagers clutching notebooks full of angst-poetry are going to be able to give me much that I find terribly useful. And I hate to say it, but I haven't the time or the inclination to spend hours each week trying to gently and diplomatically give constructive criticism on a dozen ten-page descriptions of high-school breakups and ensuing suicide attempts. To be perfectly, brutally, bitchily conceited, I am so far beyond the Creative Writing 101 level that they should pay me to sit in that class. I know that the upper-level and graduate writing classes aren't like that, but as renae pointed out, they don't let you take those unless you're enrolled in that major, and folks--I'M LOOKING TO POLISH A FUCKING MANUSCRIPT, NOT GO BACK TO SCHOOL.. And creative writing classes do require that you do a lot of reading, mostly the aforementioned adolescent shit-fests, which is infinitely more painful that slogging through even the most obtuse Edwardian comedy of manners.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Goddamn, this is sounding snarky. But seriously, Bethie, remember how frustrated you were with your class? The guy whose story was a mash-up of four different blockbuster movie plots? The people who read your own brilliant little experimental piece and had nothing more to offer than, "uh, I think that sentence could be shorter." And that's when it was all still new and shiny for you! You, I wouldn't mind having in a class like that. But you're a fucking rarity, sweetheart, and my chances of getting even one young writer of your caliber in any academic setting I have acess to is about as good as my chances of selling this book to the first publisher that sees it. Basically, the point is this--even at eighteen, I was either tested out of my entry-level english classes, or given a list of writing assignments by the teacher and told that I didn't need to bother coming to class as long as I got those in on time--and if the only option I had for a community of writers was a dozen clones of my eighteen-year-old self---I would sell my computer and stick to bathroom graffiti.
I'm a firm believer that the hallowed halls of Whatever State University do not hold a monopoly on any sort of knowledge, and their employees are not the sole gatekeepers of any craft.
And So Endeth the Diatribe on Why Misty Is Not Going Back To School. Go in peace ;)

Kelly Powell 16 years, 3 months ago

Thursday nights the smoking porch at louises.....beer and critiques.....you can't go wrong with that combo.

edie_ 16 years, 3 months ago

College exists already. (Boy does it fucking exist already...I'm overly aware of the institution that churns out thousands of morons with jayhawk facial paint hooting and hawing all over the neighborhood and littering the streets on game days.) Good writing communities don't exist here, at least not that I know of.
Is there any reason NOT to encourage and support a person who wants to start a writing community of stylistic peers in Lawrence that provides the very things you can't get in college? Even though I'm not a writer, I'd be thrilled to know something like this was going on. Why shouldn't there be a free group who will appreciate and offer real feedback to other writers? Besides, you can't drink whiskey in class.

scary_manilow 16 years, 3 months ago

No, you're wrong, Misty. What you really NEED TO DO is magically pull the thousands of dollars in tuition money out of you ass and get back to school, because you obviously have an unlimited supply of time and energy. I don't know if you're aware of this, but there isn't a single author in history who has gone on to forward our understanding of the written word without first graduating from the university of his/her choice... How can you possibly hope to translate your life experiences if you don't pound them into a rigid and antiquated grammatical structure? You must be insane.

And, of course, Bethie would be the voice of authority on these matters, since she's a 20-year-old homemaker with a mountain of published works under her belt... Or maybe I'm just making up that second part to be an asshole. It happens sometimes, you know.

synapsis 16 years, 3 months ago

Nay-sayers aside (not that there really are any we'd listen to anyway), I agree wholeheartedly with edie_. Even if my career (or the many other things that claim so much of my attention) kept me from actively participating in such a group, I'd be thrilled to know it EXISTED. If for no other reason than to have that knowledge in the back of my head somewhere, like a little shard of glass, prodding me to find the time. Besides, what a great way to spend a weeknight.

Do it mitzibel... make something happen... do it for all of us.

And no, you don't have to be our fearless leader -- but SOMEBODY is going to have to take point and organize something if it's ever going to happen. It sounds like the kind of thing I'd do, but I'm too fuckin' busy. Showing UP, however, I can definitely throw my weight behind -- once I've had a chance to dust off and re-evaluate this damn novel of mine and scrap the 30% of it that's shown up in other books and movies in the seven years since I started it... sigh Oh well, I guess that means I'm on the right track.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Okay, organizing, I can do. I'm workin' on it. . . .

Bethany Jones 16 years, 3 months ago

"And, of course, Bethie would be the voice of authority on these matters, since she's a 20-year-old homemaker with a mountain of published works under her belt... Or maybe I'm just making up that second part to be an asshole. It happens sometimes, you know."

Woah woah woah, first of all I'm 18 and I'm not a homemaker. I have two jobs, thankyouverymuch and I have a year left of college to finish my double Chinese & English majors, so obviously I'm not quite as idiotic as you think I am. And yes, I've had stuff published. I'm not the one who said Misty should go back to school full time and get a degree. I said maybe taking a creative writing class would be helpful - that's all - I never said she should get a degree. So calm down :P

synapsis 16 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and edie_ ... yes, yes you can drink whiskey in class. For some classes, it's almost a pre-req.

For others, you just have to be a little bit sly. Flasks are a dead give-away.

Bethany Jones 16 years, 3 months ago

Vodka in water bottles usually works pretty well ;-)

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

I'm too old for sly, man. And I just bought the most bitchin' new flask. . . .

cvillehawk 16 years, 3 months ago

I have to say, despite the fact that I didn't have the energy to read every post made over the weekend - the best way to become a better writer is to write. And yes, you do need a person who's outside your head and process to look it over and let you know how well you translated your thoughts to the masses who may one day read it. I think school is a great thing, but I don't think you learn any kind of art by sitting in a classroom or studio. You learn by doing and finding out how it works for you.

I'm saying this as a person who took years to realize that my interest in and facility with words didn't naturally lead to being a fiction writer. I have found that I enjoy non-fiction writing and editing the work of others far more than I enjoy churning out more words every day.

Aileen Dingus 16 years, 3 months ago

Completely off topic- Misty- were you at the market on Saturday? I'll admit, a blue haired goddess is a bit of a rarity these days, but I wanted to make sure it was indeed you before I accosted said person. If it was you, dang- your hair has gotten so LONG! (Just in case you were unaware of that fact)

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Yup, I sure was. Yeah, it's nearly to my waist, and I'm pretty happy with it. Of course, one day it's all going to fall out while I'm bleaching it, but that's cool. I'm awfully hot bald ;)

Aileen Dingus 16 years, 3 months ago

crap. I knew I should have said something. lol

justthefacts 16 years, 3 months ago

Note to all: If you ever see a woman out in public with (a) brightly colored hair - any color - of any length and (b) towing a gorgeous blonde baby around - the chances are good it's Misty. Say hi and find out; anyone with hair that color is bound to like attention, even if it is NOT Misty! LOL.

TheEleventhStephanie 16 years, 3 months ago

son-of-a......I was gonna get you a birthday flask! Guess I'll buy you lunch instead.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

I couldn't hold out that long. Lunch is just fine, sweetie, especially if you can sweet-talk the boys at La Parilla into spiking the lemonades extra-hard ;)

Deb Townsend 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty, I identify with your situation. It is difficult because I have had to try to find that balance in a critic. It is somewhere between having a former prof critique my work and shred it because I did well in his class (in spite of his advice) and someone that knows the way that I write and acts like more of a fan. I can't go back to school for an English degree to get the occasional morsel of USEFUL advice that the fine folks at WSU would be dolling out, I am already back to school to change careers already! I used to run from my writing anyway; it has taken a long time to recognize that I am actually fairly good. People can tell you that until they're blue in the face, or elsewhere--but until I was ready to stand behind it, I didn't care what happened, and sadly for several reasons, I didn't write for a while. Now that my abilities have atrophied a bit, it could be a challenge, but maybe this time around I might get somewhere since I have actual life experience to pull from and I'm not such a goddamn neophyte. Anyway...I really get your work and was really appreciative when you told me that I should get a blog here. Wish I could participate in the inaugural meeting of the "Mitzibel's Sod off you f@#% wanker" writer's guild.

Sniffer 16 years, 3 months ago

If you see this black dude, towing a gorgeous blonde very curly baby around blowing kisses at strangers - the chances are good it's GRANDPA BOO!

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 16 years, 3 months ago

Ah, boo, you just love Penny because she helps you piss off racists and old people ;) And because she has your frown.

It's still Terry's fault she knows how to say "oh, shit!", though.

Terry Bush 16 years, 3 months ago

Maybe. But the G.D. she said when she spilled milk on the floor did NOT come from Terry!

Tempus 16 years, 3 months ago

Misty,

I would love to be part of a writing group. BTW, we met at the end of NaNo last November at Molly McGee's for dinner (we were the only two to show up, cuz we're cool, and everyone else isn't).

I've been re-outlining my manuscript, and I think I really might have it right this time, but a writing group would make the process more interesting/fun. As synapsis put it: "Relaxed but brutally honest" would be great.

As far as organizing is concerned: I'm down to be point man if you need the help.

-Ted

Tempus 16 years, 3 months ago

Since I still have this anonymous status, if you need to contact me, I'm at tedboone@ku.edu (yes, I work at KU as an instructor, no I'm not an evil english professor) :-)

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