Dr. Death, Em dashes, and International Literacy Day

Happy International Literacy Day!

Visit literacyworldwide.org and check out their Literacy Today and Literacy Daily articles. There are some really heartwarming stories about teachers empowering students by encouraging creativity.

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In 2017 I became fascinated by the inner workings of the medical field. Not just because I made a MASSIVE career change but because the human body and how society moves around and interacts with the human body has always been extremely interesting.

I am also fascinated by true crime stories. So the Dr. Death Podcast by Wondery is an absolutely amazing and chilling listen. I won’t spoil anything for you and I strongly encourage you to give it a try but be sure to steel yourself; the subject matter is very heavy and not family friendly.

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For those of you who are interested in grammar drama, this article was published in the New York Times a few months ago and it made me shake my head in dismay. I had no idea there were so many people casing shade on the Em-dash.

Read The Em Dash Divides by Kate Mooney here.

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One of my grad school mentors, Bhanu Kapil, keeps a blog. This is an interview between Bhanu and her grandmother, who was a child in 1947 during the Partition of India in which 14 million people were displaced and between 200,000 and 2 million were killed (so says Wikipedia). This year is the 72nd anniversary.

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A poem about how hard girlhood is: The mother finds her own wild, lost beginnings deep within the body of her daughter by Mary Jean Chan

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Photo Credit: The New York Times, Leigh Wells

Liger Signal Boost, Old Rhymes, Boats, and a Girl

SIGNAL BOOST!!!!!

I’ve been a long-time supporter of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and at the end of August, Brady Liger fell ill to a fungal infection. If you can donate something, anything at all, please consider supporting their efforts. Your donations can help pay for medical expenses, food, and bigger enclosures for the animals.

And here are two writerly things I’m going to try to take advantage of this September. The first is my local library’s Banned Books Writing Contest and the second is an international open call for submissions from the Black Library and the Warhammer 40K Universe.

Musings on coffee and other things from stoneronarollercoaster

Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl

“Farewell” is on my tongue by Paulus Silentarius, translated by William Roger Paton

A Play-by-Play of Queer Seduction by Marisa Crane on Chantarelle’s Notebook

The Past by Ralph Waldo Emerson

[we are] by Quentin Baker

Vesuvius by Noah Eli Gordon

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Photo source: turpentinecreek.org

Leopard Seals, Shiny Things, and Three Poems

I was using twitter for a while to keep track of all the videos and articles I wanted to refer back to or keep as reference material. That hasn’t really worked so I’m going to try posting stuff here. I don’t know if I want to call it a “weekly roundup” or make a “favorite things” list.

This might turn into a weekly thing…or a biweekly thing…or a one off thing. Hopefully not, I don’t know.

Firstly, anyone needing any kind of photograph or artwork for ANY REASON AT ALL needs to check out Unsplash. A writer friend turned me on to it and all I can say is THANK YOU! This site is the best!

Secondly, Leopard Seals are the shit. Leopard Seals are my new favorite.

Just in case you haven’t seen this yet: Wolf Totem by The Hu (Mongolian Folk Metal).

If you’re a writer and you love jewelry you need to check out LionessElise on Etsy. I have four of her pendants and I absolutely love her work.

I make jewelry and shiny things that make people want to write.–Lioness

Three Poems

Arsenal 4 by Cedar Sigo.

1915: The Trenches by Conrad Aiken.

Central Visayan Mountain Range, Philippines 1945 by Angela Peñaredondo.

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Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

A Few Things I Know For Sure (Part 1)

I want a drink. I want to drink until I die. (Not for dying’s sake but because drinking is the only thing I want to do. The. Only. Thing.) 10 bottles of bourbon lined up in a neat little row, a hotel room with a balcony that overlooks the river. In another version of reality I jump. In this one I don’t. And I have to live with that. The wanting and the not having.

The sun is a giant ball of fire that will kill us all if we don’t destroy ourselves (or something else happens) first. I’m okay with the sun. The sun and I are friends but not in a weird way (I don’t want to marry the sun).

Something (you don’t have to believe in god) out there has a plan for you. See, you’re not dead yet.

I love the ocean. The ocean is also terrifying.

Gravity works. For now.

Every morning my cats demand to be fed. Every morning their demands are met.

I know for sure that it might rain.

I know for sure that there are people out there who love you (even if you haven’t met them yet).

Things go. Whether or not they go the way you want them to is debatable.

Telling stories is the best thing in the world.

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This came out of watching Anne Lamott’s TED Talk, 12 truths I learned from life and writing, July 13, 2017.

Photo by Sime Basioli on Unsplash

Complicated

(Note: This was a phone conversation. I collect books, Mr. J collects guns. We’d listened to the audiobook last year and this year finished the audiobook of Wise Man’s Fear. It took me forever to convince Mr. J that he would like it.)

Mr. J: I bought another copy of The Name of the Wind.

Me: Did you get the 10th anniversary edition or the illustrated edition?

Mr. J: I don’t know. It’s a book.

Me: Does it say “illustrated” on the cover?

Mr. J: I don’t know, it has pictures on it.

Me: That doesn’t help me. Does it say “illustrated?”

Mr. J: It has words on it.

Me: What words?

Mr. J: I don’t remember I didn’t look at the cover.

Me: How could you not look at the cover?

Mr. J: Books are complicated. Guns are easier.

Me: (laughs) I’m putting that on a t-shirt for you.

Thoughts about #authortube

Back in 2017, when I “officially” decided I wanted to take self-publishing seriously, I thought about creating a YouTube channel. I am an avid YouTube viewer/lurker whatever. I love watching videos other authors and writers put out where they talk about their process, give advice based on their experiences, and participate in fun tags or challenges.

I love talking about writing and books to anyone who will listen so you’d think this would be something I would love to do.

But YouTube also triggers my social anxiety, big time. I barely participate in the comments section and if I’m lucky enough to catch a live stream live–not three days after the fact–I don’t participate in the chat because I am extremely shy and introverted. It’s the same reason I don’t do the instagram story thing or have a facebook account.

At the end of the day, I just want to sit in my bubble and write.

But last year I participated in a writing group and we used a video chat app to talk about our projects and I loved making videos for them. It was nothing fancy, I just turned my camera on and talked into it, usually while driving to and from work. And it was super fun. So if I could do something like that where I just talked for a few minutes and then uploaded…

But what about editing and all those cool techno things people do? And music, don’t I have to have music to drown out the static hum of background noise or whatever? And I’d need an intro and a catch phrase because everyone has a catch phrase and already I hear Mr, J’s voice in my head saying, “Don’t do that, that’s fucking stupid.”

And he’s right on two fronts. The first is: I don’t want to do something that I don’t know how to do or that I don’t like because it will be a shitty product and anyone who watches it will see that I am not having fun and they won’t have fun. So if I do the YouTube thing I will not be making fancy, heavily edited videos with music or images inserted or fun backdrops because I don’t have time for that. I have like, 10 books to write.

But the second is: Do I really want to put myself out there? After thinking about it on and off for two-ish years I still don’t know. I like the idea of making YouTube videos; I want to do the author tags and actually tell you about myself and my projects, not just write it down here in my blog. But is it really something for me?

I hope to figure out the answer to that soon because there are a few very good reasons to participate in social media platforms like YouTube. The most important one is it will help promote my books.

I am a firm believer that social media is essential to an independent author. Newsletters not so much (just my opinion) but social media is a must. Traditional publishers love authors with established platforms and readers love all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I do anyway.

And, for the most part (yes, I know about the drama), AuthorTube is full of really cool, awesome people who I would love to be friends with. But I’m so. Damn. Shy. and worried I’d say the wrong thing and offend someone. I’m also terrified of making a complete ass of myself. Etc, etc, etc. And it’s not about what you think about me. Or what strangers think about me, I could care less about other peoples’ opinions. It’s how I would think about myself. If I fucked this up I would never let myself live it down. Mortification and shame forever.

Again, I think I’m putting too much thought into it.

I guess the main thing I’m worried about, more than being embarrassed by my own content, is that it will take time away from my writing.

I’ve thought about doing a podcast too but I haven’t yet because I’ve gotten bogged down by all of the technical stuff. I have made a few recordings of my poems and created an extremely bootleg audiobook that is up on Bandcamp (free, of course). But beyond that I haven’t done anything else.

And that kind of bothers me because if I want to do something, why not do it? It’s not like I want to climb Everest. Making an AuthorTube video is a very achievable goal. So why not try it? If I don’t like it I can always delete it.

But the writing time is precious and anything that cuts into that is bad. But I’d really, really like to try.

Now that you’ve read me flopping back and forth like this, I’m going to end this post.

Are you on YouTube/AuthorTube? Do you like it? Do you hate it?

Cats at the Hemingway House

Last week I got back from vacation with Mr. J in Key West, Florida. And of course I dragged him to the Hemingway Home and Museum. Even though his typewriters, writing space, and the tour explaining all the drama were all amazing, the cats were the best part. The cat cemetery was also adorable. Here are a few photos of the cats we saw.