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Showing posts from October, 2009


Many things frighten me. I'm frightened by almost everything, at least for a short time. Then, predictably, I grow used to the thing that scared me, and instead, I become bored by it. For instance, I was once scared of computers. I felt inept on many computer programs and so I avoided them at all costs.

And after five (maybe seven) years of regular computer use, it's no surprise that I'm growing--if not bored, restless--sitting at my computer, trying to market this book all the damn time. So, I've decided that I'm embarking on my computer-cation (computer vacation). Wish me luck, I'll need it. I already feel the withdrawal, the looming email collecting in folders, important things that I have to respond to right away... Scarier than Halloween.

So, I'll post Monday or Tuesday, to report on my attempts to follow in the footsteps of King Ludd, and all those who have rebelled against technological change.

In closing, here's a list of helpful Halloween Hin…

Office Space

I'm training for a writing marathon. (Yes, I invented this event. And as far as I know, I'm the only contestant.) Here's the plan: I'm going to tear myself away from the Internet (thank you, Facebook, for preparing me), break open the Moleskines and go at it. Other than Halloween, I'll be unavailable. I'll be writing. Since I got rejected from Yaddo, this is my personal, solitary, self-imagined residency. And, I'm thrilled at the prospect. But, I don't know if I can do it.

Maybe I can prepare with atmosphere? No, I'm not going to go so far as scenic wallpaper that recreates Saratoga Springs. But, I need something better than piles of paper everywhere and the three calendars I have haning over my computer, which remind me who I need to email back.

I've read numerous books on writing, how-tos and how-to-do-it-betters. Most of them haven't been too useful, and some actually seem creatively-stifling. I enjoyed Atwood, Bradbury and …

Taking The Reigns

Well, I need to shut up for a week or two. So, I have extended an invitation to my father, mother and sister, to contribute to this blog. You see, I wanted to dare, to offer each of them the opportunity to respond, publicly, to my memoir. It's only fair, right?

As they prepare their responses, and I attempt my lecture--that is the thing that scares me more than death--I've invited two of my favorite emerging writers to contribute blogs. I hope you enjoy their meditations.

Now, on to the Good Stuff: First up, author of Some White English Women I've Almost Known.

Mogbolahan Koya-Oyagbola was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1970. He spent his early childhood in Lagos. At the age of ten he started attending a private boarding school in England. He later studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture for a year before dropping out. Subsequently, he attended University College London where he attained a B.A. in Philosophy. He also holds an M.A. in Modernism…

Letting Go

Over the past month, I have shared my worries and excitement concerning the publication of my memoir. To be completely honest, I was unprepared for the exhaustion that accompanies publication. I've been an emotional wreck. I fretted over the few copies of Musical Chairs that escaped with a few typos and the fear of eminent judgment and misinterpretation of my words, but this fear was not wholly due to exposure, but rather loss. You see, in releasing my book, I cannot look back. After five years of work, this is a difficult thing, to let go.

Then again, it seems that the hardest journeys are sometimes fruitful. I have no delusions about the fact that my book is still far from perfect: I make mistakes. However, publishing, releasing my work into the world, is not one of them. I wanted to be upfront about my post-traumatic publication worry because I found very little in other author's blogs about the subject. (Believe me, I looked.)

That said, I am ready to move on, creativ…

"A Year to Live" My Thoughts

I purchased Stephen Levine’s A Year to Live a few years ago, after it was recommended by a teacher and friend of mine. The book is a 175 page guide to living as though you know you will die in 365 days. It begins with the author’s reason for writing the book. Levine, a teacher and meditation guide, has worked with many people with terminal illnesses and he reports having seen many people really begin to live the lives they’ve always dreamed of after receiving the diagnosis. So, he proposes that his readers “practice dying.”

“Having observed the renewal that occurs for so many people because their natural wisdom inspires them to open more profoundly to life, I offer an experiment that amplifies your potential for healing by living the next year as if it were your last.”

He then expounds on his theory for a few pages before offering a series of meditation techniques interspersed with the author’s reflections on death and renewal. Theoretically, I am incredibly driven to try this, to…