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Showing posts from July, 2014

To Go On

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”  
—Henry David Thoreau
I am in my last week at the Art Farm residency, and it's finally a nice, cool day. We had some days so humid they seemed to squeeze you like a lemon while multiplying the already-prevalent bugs and insects that seem to dive-bomb here. 

I wanted to share a writing prompt because it seems something that could cross over to other aspects of life and, more, it seems to be my first no-fail method to get something meaningful on the page. Of course it is simple:

Sit down with computer or pen and pad and cellphone. Set the alarm for 10 minutes. Open an old piece (something in-progress or old; or, if you have nothing, read a short story and pick up where the writer left off, keep going with the characters). The prompt is only this: write for the full 10 minutes. Nonstop. Set the alarm and don't allow yourself to move or stop. T…

A non-writing day at the writing residency

I’ve been at the Art Farm for six days, and I think I’ve seen every type of spider known to man. As of today, I have declared war on spiders, and after a nasty bite on my ankle I have no regret smashing one beneath my tennis shoe or even, since I’m a hardcore NE artist now, between my fingers if given the chance.
I’ve been walking the cornfields, on average 8 miles a day, and working the land. I haven’t been wearing any makeup, which is a sobering thing—amazing how ingrained that part of my routine was—and I’ve been making decisions based on the experience I’ll have, rather than the practical or easy thing to do (I don't have to squeeze twenty things into twenty minutes right now. I can do one thing, and that's okay.). There’s some life lesson here, I’m sure.
But I want to talk about Grand Island. I went into town with an artist-friend
who was planning to pick up two bison skulls that play some role in a traditional Native American sun dance, which, she says, she’s done ten …

In residence

The Art Farm is its own world, one in which, I’m finding, artists and writers are forced to discover who they are and what they can handle. The owner, Ed, is an artist who spends half of his time in New York and half of his time here in Marquette, Nebraska, where the last census I could find put the population at around 226. Ed is stoic and hardworking, and his calm demeanor seems to quietly affect all of the residents here. So far, I have met musicians, painters, book binders, writers, and I will meet more artists over the next two weeks.

We work 12 hours a week, and so far my work has included erecting and moving scaffolding and helping to dig a hole for a new septic tank (glam-or-ous). I feel hearty. The landscape, however, is precisely as I pictured: rows of corn surround the art farm in four square mile blocks. I’ve taken to walk this four-mile loop mornings, before it gets too hot. I have a good chunk of my work out of the way for the week, so now I am digging into the writing.…

Mid-week literary review

Two days left at work until my residency. Two stories published. Two updates. One review.

I will either have a lot to say next post, or I'll be in the zone, pounding away at the NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. A tad dramatic? Well, I can't help it. I'm thrilled. I have a lot to work on, and I plan to post more soon. In the meantime, here's a quick update.

I have two new stories out! They both appear in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. One story is about a nudist (based on the big naked guy in my neighborhood, whom I've had the experience of seeing three times now, at least I think it was the same guy each time), another is about a girl who is looking to meet her father. Both stories are well under 1,000 words. They were fun to write.

Also notable this week is a strange a very appropriate book for me to read right now. The author is David S. Atkinson, and the book is titled The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes. I thought I'd share my review here because the book is …

Bottoms up

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." — J.K. Rowling


Tell it, J.K. 

I started writing this blog on the 4th of July. I started by saying: Break out the grill and loud colors and raise your flag. Enjoy your day off. Then I got distracted by other things, so here I am on the 5th of July. Happy belated Independence day!

I rarely read front page news because a. the stories are usually depressing and b. I usually don't have time. But, I had an extra day off yesterday, and I kicked it off by reading news. the top five stories were about Putin's kind words to Obama, a father who was sexting six women while his son died from heat exhaustion in the back of his car, F-35 war planes grounded for technical check-ups, and a mother and son who were trapped in a sinkhole. There's a little balance there, but I was quickly reminded why I don't make it a priority to read the news.
Next, I started writing this blog. Cue…