Month: April 2013

Free Comic Book Day

Yeah that’s right. The most anticipated holiday of the year is fast approaching, save Saturday May 4th for a day of comic book store-hopping.  But wait, what is Free Comic Book Day you ask? You’ve never heard of it you say!

Well, Free Comic Book Day is a single day, the first Saturday in May each year, when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores.

I Would Totally Take my Panties off For The Right Poem, Part 1

You read the title right. Today I’m exploring the use of poetry as seductive tool. So anyone who has had a British Lit class or has taken a Poetry course of some sort will be familiar with The Flea by John Donne.

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

That’s So Chocolate Bar: How a Book is Helping Fund Research to Cure a Rare Disease

When 6 year old Dylan Siegel wrote the book Chocolate Bar and then single handedly pushed for his parents to self-publish it, it was well received by the public, earning over $92,000 and landing him multiple book signings and interviews. So what’s the story behind Chocolate Bar‘s success?

Dylan, right, and his best friend Jonah, left
Dylan (right) and his best friend Jonah (left)

Dylan wrote the book to raise money for his 7 year old best friend, Jonah Pournazarian, who has a rare liver disease, glycogen storage disease.

“My goal is to raise a million dollars!” Dylan told TODAY.com. “Then I think I’ll make a whole series of Chocolate Bar books so I can raise money for different diseases.”

Amanda Riggle Author Profile

IMG_0206Published Poet Profile: Amanda Riggle

Interview by: Melanie Figueroa

Amanda is a student at Cal Poly Pomona, a tutor, and an editor at The Poetics Project. While Amanda’s goal is to become a teacher, she also writes poems and short stories. On April 26th, one of Amanda’s poems will be published in the Pomona Valley Review Literary Journal. For more information about the journal, visit their website www.pomonavalleyreview.com. Below is an interview I was fortunate enough to be have with Amanda about what it’s like to be published, her writing process, and, of course, poetry.

The Poetics Project: Amanda, you wrote this poem in response to a workshop for The Poetics Project. Can you please tell us a little about that assignment and how your piece was influenced by it?

Amanda: Before the website was launched, we had a small Facebook group in which we critiqued each other’s writing and had creative writing projects with a deadline for the work to be shared.  The assignment my poem was in response to had two requirements – one, that it be about childhood and two, that it fit with Russian formalist critic Victor Shklovsky’s view of art in that it takes a look at the mundane and transforms the familiar by describing it in unfamiliar terms so that the reader takes a look at the mundane subject and sees a new thing in it they hadn’t recognized before. My response to that prompt was to take the opposite view of childhood that society generally holds – that it is not something precious, unique, and priceless and, in fact, is something that everyone has, good, bad, or in-between.

Graffiti: Bringing Literature to the Streets

Great literature can inspire various forms of art, including the kind that paints our streets: graffiti. Graffiti is generally illegal in the United States, unless it is done in cities with walls designated for such a purpose. However, the drawings left on these walls are often painted over by other artists due to the limited space. Because it is illegal, graffiti writers often go through great lengths to leave their artwork on a public wall, often making political statements in the process.

Below are a few examples of literary graffiti around the world. Which one’s your favorite?

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince

Amanda Got a Shakespeare Tattoo

Lo and behold, I said in my biography that I like tattoos, and here I have a post about my latest tattoo and first Shakespeare tattoo.

The sketch that would become my tattoo.
The sketch that would become my tattoo.

I guess the question is where did this quote come from? It’s from Othello, my favorite Shakespeare tragedy. The specific speaker of these lines is Iago, one of the most sinister and clever villains written by Shakespeare. The thing about Iago is that, by all appearances, he is a trustworthy man who has fought by Othello’s side in battles and has saved Othello’s life on multiple occasions. Everyone has reason to trust Iago, the lower class man who has risen as far as he can within the ranks of his society and is angry that, while he is stuck at his station, Othello, an outsider, can advance and marry well above Iago’s station. Iago’s sharp mind, golden tongue, and honest appearance bring down ruin on the others of the play.

On Inspiration and My Writing Process

Inspiration is a little overrated when it comes to writing. My experience is that it might take you a couple of pages before you lose the impetus that got you started. In other words, you should rely on steady, determined, inglorious writing to take you the distance. I don’t mean to say inspiration isn’t important. The problem is, I think, that most people assume good writing comes from an epiphanic moment, which turns the exercise into a waiting game. When lightning doesn’t strike twice, people call it quits. Remember why you started, but never forget that the process of writing is as important, and usually yields more, than the whim that got your fingers typing. That said, here’s a little on where I find inspiration:

Reading other authors. It’s a basic but true ingredient of good writing. But don’t take my word for it:  authors from Raymond Carver to Stephen King praise the value of “research” when writing your own, original work. Ben Franklin copied whole journals to learn writing techniques. Don’t rule out work from fields outside your comfort zone, either: as a Humanities major, I’m not particularly great at math or science, but having recently read (and deeply enjoyed) works by Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku, I’ve found my own framework broadened by their views on astrophysics and the natural world. So read, read, read, until you’re confident in your own voice. Then keep reading.

 

I Kind Of Like to be Profane

Profanity is supposed to be offensive, I get that, but there are times when the word shit just works so perfectly that a PG substitution won’t quite do.

You know when you stub your toe on something? Shit! Shit just works so beautifully to express the pain, surprise, and anger all balled into one, four letter word. Saying shoot just doesn’t have the same impact, not in real life and not in a poem. Shit conveys a very real emotion that cannot be replaced by one word alone.

My Writing Process

I’m a somewhat frantic writer. I never find a quiet space to write, but honestly, when silence occurs, I do find that my writing comes easier.

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I’m too busy to look for that quiet spot, though, so I write on the go. I always carry a notebook with me and I jot down ideas. I always write down little lines or funny things I hear that I might think I can transform into a poem or short story later.

I buy those 99 cent composition notebooks and I doodle in them. I have two or three in my backpack at a time because I use them for different subjects – academic paper ideas, poetry ideas, and short story ideas.