To celebrate the end of tax season, let’s talk about stress. Stress can be good. It reminds you that you care about something enough for it to make you dizzy, lose sleep, gain ten pounds (girl scout season not helping at all), and worry constantly. But at a certain point, stress can cause a person to breakdown.
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.
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.
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer, and owns an awesome blog with some great advice for writers. Most great advice hurts, and his is no exception.
Number one. Stop aspiring!
Here are the two states in which you may exist: person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing. It’s as ludicrous as saying, “I aspire to pick up that piece of paper that fell on the floor.” Either pick it up or don’t. I don’t want to hear about how your diaper’s full. Take it off or stop talking about it.
Here are some more of my favorite tidbits:
7. FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WRITE, THEN DO THAT
You learn early on how to write. But for most authors it takes a long time to learn how they in particular write. Certain processes, styles, genres, character types, POVs, tenses, whatever — they will come more naturally to you than they do to others. And some won’t come naturally at all. Maybe you’ll figure this out right out of the gate. But for most, it just takes time — time filled with actual writing — to tease it out.
Writers have been said to be solitary beings, which may provide insight into why so many writers seem to choose cats as their companions, rather than man’s best friend. Cats aren’t pack animals, meaning they don’t feel the need to do what anyone else wants them to do. And they have large, peculiar personalities, which can also be said of writers.
When I began researching this curious relationship between writers and cats, I stumbled upon a poem written by William Carlos Williams:
As the Cat
As the cat
the top of
first the right
then the hind
into the pit of
In Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theatre, the comedian discusses being a parent and reading books with his two little girls, specifically Clifford the Big Red Dog. Louis is critical of the children’s book, which was written by Norman Bridwell and published in 1963. Check out the video below to get a few laughs and find out why.
Published Poet Profile: Dan Hogan
Interview by: Amanda Riggle
Dan Hogan is a part-time English teacher at Cal State Fullerton, Irvine Valley College, and Norco College. In addition to being an amazing teacher, Dan has recently had his work published in Cal State Fullerton’s literary journal DASH – due out in May of 2013. His original haiku was about a double-parking incident and will be available for everyone to read once DASH releases their current issue. For more info on DASH, visit their website WWW.DashLiteraryJournal.Com. We had the pleasure to interview Dan via-email and below is what he had to say. He’s a smart man, talented man, so you should totally read this and be inspired.
The Poetics Project: Dan, what inspired you to write this piece? Did someone double park next to you and block you in?
Dan: I live at an apartment complex with two really narrow spots right next to the dumpster. I work so late that often those are the two spaces that are open. Most of the time, people with their gargantuan sport utility vehicles can’t fit in the spots, and it’s kind of an art to squeeze in there. But sometimes people just give up and park across both spots. Or worse, they park with one tire into the other spot making it impossible to park there. Such a pain. The nearest spot from there is about two hundred yards away, and at 1 am after grading all night at a coffee shop, it’s a real pain. So I wrote it one night because I always feel like writing notes and leaving them on the windshield, but this time I didn’t.
That hesitation right before a kiss
I don’t remember ever learning this
Don’t matter what the circumstances are
Quit reaching for the stars and be the star
Eye contact is a privilege, not a right
Play secretary, I’m the boss tonight
A long way from its original pocket sized version, readers can experience Howl by Allen Ginsberg and all of its controversial glory in a different medium. The very same 1956 Beat classic that went to trail in 1957 for obscenity can be enjoyed in a graphic novel adaptation animated by Eric Drooker.