Reading · Writing

Saturday Summation – 18 July 2015

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Summer, yo, that’s where I’ve been. Here’s to reviving the Saturday Summations:

Writing Stuff:

If you are one who has difficulty overcoming the “saggy middle” in your writing, Fae Rowen offers an interesting option to help it out. Give your character a mini-quest: have her go to unreasonable measures to find something that others would roll their eyes at. I really like this idea for my newest characters and it’s already got me thinking of incorporating it. Check out her real-life examples to validate the fictional ones.

One of our local universities (Hamline) hosted a writing conference and one of the faculty members of the Hamline MFA program belittled authors of color, basically telling them to get over themselves. To the program’s credit, the response was swift in its censure of these comments. However, it brought about a stark reminder of how extremely difficult it can be to be a writer of color within an MFA program. Author Justina Ireland gives her point of view on the Hamline situation (which, by the way, she still supports the program) and the not-to-be-forgotten problematic emotional toll for a marginalized writer in an overwhelmingly white MFA community.

On the flip side, it pleased me to read about author M-E Girard’s experience at a Lambda Literary writer’s retreat in which there was a sense of relief in being surrounded by queer writers. She writes, “I often come away [from other writing conferences/retreats] with this sense that every queer element in my work has to be explained and packaged neatly into mainstream’s understanding of queerness in order to be deemed “believable” or “realistic.”  How can we make Ireland’s experience like Girard’s? How can we integrate MFA programs to create balance and the same comfort level? How can we make it so Girard’s experience can be richer in what have been typically heteronormative environments?

Reading Stuff:

 Have you heard about the release of Harper Lee’s novel, Go Set a Watchman? I wrote a bit about my thoughts earlier this week, so I won’t repeat myself; however, I thought I’d link you to The Guardian’s “interactive” page that has the first chapter. You can have ambient sound as you read and/or have Reese Witherspoon narrate. 🙂

Recommended Reads:

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger [Adult]

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson [Young Adult] (My brief Goodreads review)

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen [Young Adult] (I love everything by Dessen – if ever there is an author to trust, it’s her.)

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine [Middle Grade] (My brief Goodreads review)

Currently Reading:

 What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

Song of the Week:

This one just seemed fitting this week. Unrelated: wow, look at that HAIR!

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