I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. (Honors) in English Literature in 1997. My mentor was Betty Sue Flowers, consulting editor for the Joseph Campbell/Bill Moyers series The Power of Myth. I've been writing short stories and reading fairy tales since I was old enough to do so. I've written and edited for publications ranging from MSN.com to the Encarta Encyclopedia to indie magazines, but my first and deepest love has always been fairy tales.
My influences are varied, but all share the qualities of being fantastic and visionary: Márquez, Morrison, Faulkner, McKillip, Tolkein, LeGuin, McCaffery, Gaiman. Diana Wynne Jones is a new passion. Garth Nix is also wonderful. Oh, and Phillip Pullman. And Terry Pratchett. And then we get into Carl Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz and their psychoanalytic interpretations of classic fairy tales. I could go on. But if you've made it this far, you might as well come to class and we can talk more there.
Okay, you guys. Despite the fact that my class focuses obsessively (some might say unhealthily) on plot (as opposed to character), I think every person who wants to write an engaging story should watch the following and pay close attention. Very close attention.
WARNING: Adult language and extremely tasteless jokes sprinkled throughout.
How do the Japanese do Christmas? The clever folks over at Isetan hired Finnish illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi to design a Christmas campaign. The result is “How to Make Wonder Christmas,” a collection of short, wonderfully illustrated vignettes that would do Lewis Carroll proud.
The art theme for December is SciFi Fairy Tales – – give a fairy tale, fable, or myth a scifi update, like the one James Jean gave to the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. To enter, simply email John Struan (jstruan at gmail(dot)com) your illustration by 12:00 p.m. California time on January 1, 2010. The best design will win a $100 Threadless store credit. And I will also give a $25 store credit to one randomly chosen participant. You may send as many entries as you’d like, and this contest is open regardless of where you live. No nudity, please.
Not only the way you speak—but the way you write and act. More than geography, accents now represent a choice of attitude.
Let’s define an accent as the way someone speaks (writes, acts) that’s different from the way I do it. So, if I’m from Liverpool and you’re from Texas, you have an accent, I don’t.
Occasionally, an accent is a marketing advantage. Sounding like Sean Connery might be seen as charming in a New York singles’ bar, or sounding like a Harvard man might help a neurologist in Miami Beach. Generally, though, if I think you’ve got an accent, it’s more difficult to trust you.
Can your writing have an accent? Of course it can. Not just grammar errors, but sentence length, exclamation marks and your vocabulary all tag you. And the fonts, colors, pictures and layouts you choose are part of your accent as well. Most of us have no trouble at all telling where an ad or a brochure came from (shyster, NY ad firm, home business, church flyer… you get the idea). This blog has an accent, but I’ve discovered that it’s one that most of the people who read it can live with.
And your actions have a grammar as well. When your little mom-and-pop Middle Eastern restaurant has a policy (no substitutions!) even when the place is empty, you’re speaking with an accent, aren’t you? There’s no right accent, no perfect set of rules or actions for you to follow. The choice of accent is directly related to the worldview of the people you’re choosing to connect with.
Please join local authors Anthony Flacco and Sharlene Martin at a spectacular Port Madison waterfront home for cocktails and dinner. Bainbridge Island cookbook author and cooking instructor Christine Quinn will prepare an Italian feast. Enjoy great cuisine, local wine, and good conversation, as well as a chance to win some fun door prizes. All proceeds will benefit the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation.
November 15, 5:30 pm. $50 donation.
To purchase tickets call Peter Raffa at KRL 360.475.9039.
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, lights and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it.
Plucked directly from the glowing heart of BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow:
“I’m a great fan of Bill Willingham’s Fables comics and its numerous spinoffs (nutshell description: all fictional characters, legends, and fables are actually alive, always have been, and are living in secret exile in New York, having been chased out of Fableland by “The Adversary,” a rapacious conqueror).
One of the most fun of these is the Jack books, which feature a set of parallel adventures of Jack — as in “Spratt” and “and the Beanstalk” and many other tales. Jack is handsome, womanizing, preternaturally lucky and cheerfully amoral doofus of a fable who is forever incurring the wrath of the Fable establishment by violating their rules by, say, pursuing a career as a Hollywood executive (he fits right in in Tinseltown, naturally).”