So, What Do You Think About Series Books?

I’ve been thinking about series. I recently read six books in a series, but I read the last five because it was a series, not because the first book was fantastic. They were fine books, but they’re not anything I’ll read again, and the first one wasn’t great enough to make me seek out the author–perfectly good but not great. So it had to be that I just wanted to see that community again.

Is that why most people read series?
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Today in Overthinking: Identity and the Jar in Tennessee

One of my favorite poems is Wallace Stevens’ “Anecdote of the Jar.” I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately for several reasons, and it’s just occurred to me that it might be a great metaphor for teaching the impact of identity in characterization. It’s such a slippery concept, and I’ve never thought I was particularly good at getting it across, but then I recently went back to the poem for the reasons and thought, “Oh, it’s right there.” So let’s try this again (waving to McDaniel students).

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Competence as Valium

So I’ve been having a spot of depression here. I very rarely get depressed because, let’s face it, I’m not deep, and I’m easily distracted, but for the past couple of days, I have not been my cheery, obnoxious self. Even my therapist got exasperated with me. “You intellectualize everything,” she said. What did she expect me to do, talk about my emotions? Jeez. Then Krissie wrote me and said she was depressed, and I pointed out that our deal was that only one of us could down at a time, and then I wrote her what I thought was a cheering post except in retrospect I probably shouldn’t have quoted Tennyson and Coleridge. Not exactly cheery guys, those two. But it did make me think about emotions (blech) and what makes me not depressed (yarn! food! great t-shirts! dogs!) and then I read the Washington Post this morning and realized there was another thing that cheered me up.

Competence. Continue reading

Random Friday

I remember being in a car back in college with a driver at the wheel who was stoned. It was terrifying. That’s what being an American feels like right now for me. Apologies to the governments of Ukraine, Australia, and Finland. Syria, apologies aren’t enough. We’re better than this. Also, shout out to England which has it’s own terrifying leadership. At least Johnson isn’t trying to corrupt the whole damn world while selling out to dictators. Rather than bury my head in the sand (or in my book which must be finished) I’ve been cleaning and cooking and reading and writing and whistling in the dark (mostly Elton John’s “Nikita,” that sucker is a real ear wig). Also got my stitches out, took down the curtains in the two bedrooms to have them dry-cleaned, and bought Veronica some more t-shirts. Anything but look at the damn news.
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Melissa’s Question, Part Two

We’re over 200 comments on the previous post, and as those of you who have been here for awhile know, when we get there, the comments section gets wonky and at 300, it goes belly up, so commenting on that post is now transferred to this post. For those of you new to the conversation, Melissa asked me, very politely, if I’d even though about moving out of my blizzard of white characters, and I posted and said, “Yep, thought about it, don’t know how to do it because . . .” and explained my difficulties, and lots of people chimed in and we talked about it in 255 comments. The 256th comment and all subsequent comments will be here. Same conversation, we’re just keeping the blog from breaking.

Have at it.

Answering Melissa

Melissa wrote in the comments of a previous post:

“One thought after viewing some of your collages: I’d love to see some people of colour star in your books. And wouldn’t it make more of a contrast between Nita and Button, or any of the other characters?
It’s totally your call and your world. Just putting it out there.”

The short answer is “Yes.”

The long answer is “Yes,” too, I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years, making an idiot of myself along the way, and I’ve just come up against the whole thing again in the Nita book. So the answer is, “Yes, and here are my problems achieving diversity in my work, none of which are excuses for NOT achieving diversity; suggestions for solutions welcomed:” Continue reading

Wear the Lilac Towel Day

LILACYes, I know it’s also Memorial Day, and that’s important so put a poppy on your towel, but this year wearing the lilac is even more important because it’s our first year without Sir Terry.

We wear the lilac on May 25 in honor of Sir Terry Pratchett, a victim of Alzheimers who refused to become a victim. The lilac comes from Pratchett’s Night Watch novel, but it has become a symbol for fighting the disease.

We wear a towel on May 25 because Douglass Adams told us to in the Hitchhiker’s Guide. It’s the most massively useful thing an interstellar space traveller can have, plus it creates a great impression, hence the expression “That guy really knows where his towel is.”

We wear the poppy on memorial day because of Flanders Fields and because people who don’t remember the devastation of war are compelled to repeat it. We need a LOT MORE POPPIES in the world.

Have a wonderful lilac towel and poppy day.