January Update

Between unpacking, school work, and running around getting set up in my new workstudy job (at the Institute of Texan Cultures!), the first month of the year hasn’t yielded much writing (unless you count school assignments). Despite this, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming, outlining, and developing of, well, everything.

One thing I’ve never struggled with is ideas. I have an extensive list of ideas for stories and novels that seems to grow longer with every month or so. Sometime last year I had a bit of a revelation that the story tellers I’ve always admired are those who can create large, elaborate worlds to set their stories in and those who interweave multiple seemingly unrelated stories together to share the same expansive and seamless universe. Within the second of my admirations, there’s, of course, the incomparable Joss Whedon with his genius yet subtle shared universe, and while I have a pretty rocky love/hate relationship with Quentin Tarantino’s films, I really do respect the way they are all strung together. A few years ago I had already toyed with the idea of connecting a few novels together. A linked character here, a shared location there, but never anything too earth shattering. But over the past month, after a bit of thinking, linking, and looping, I finally cannonballed straight into the deep end and now I’m working on developing something over-the-top and indepth—and intensely interconnected.

I’m going to try very hard to take Dr. Hawkin’s advice and keep this new passion project hidden away close to my heart until the universe and the woman in the mirror decide it’s the proper time to reveal my secrets, but it’s really not an easy thing to do. I’m so excited about how easily things are interconnecting that I really want to share it all with the world now. Admittedly, I did tell two people almost immediately, but they’re two people I can trust with my secrets and who are willing idea bouncers. They understand that ideas begin as seeds which rarely compare to the steadfast oaks that will eventually come from them. And if I can make those secret keepers’ eyes light up with excitement over a tiny, little, disjointed, rambling seed, then I’m already off to a good start. Like I said, I’m excited for what’s to come. There’s nothing that I love more than dwelling in the literary soil.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: I LOOOOOOOVE Toni Morrison, so when I saw that The Bluest Eye was included on my Senior Seminar reading list I was absolute ecstatic. I still love Sula more, but The Bluest Eye definitely wasn’t lacking in readability. It’s a depressing read, the only way to come out the end not affected is to just not have a heart to begin with, but it’s still beautifully written. We talked a bit about A Song for Solomon in our discussion and now I’m thinking that needs to be the next Toni Morrison book I need to pick up.
  • Black Maria by Kevin Young: Kevin Young came to UTSA a few semesters ago to do a reading and it was fascinating listening to him read. His work really is spectacular and Black Maria definitely did not disappoint. The entire collection is written in the form of a noir film starring a detective bent of self-destruction and a femme fatale striving for more to life. The only down side is that this is one of those books that you have to read multiple times and really sit and think about in order to really do the work justice. I read a few reviews on goodreads for Black Maria and all the negative ones you could tell they read the book once and without much thought. Not that that isn’t a critique in itself, but it does say something about the mind of the author.
  • The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury: I have one more chapter in this book (but it’s a really easy read so I should be able to get through it pretty soon), but I already love it so much. My brother told me that the book was actually written as a response to claims that Halloween is the devil’s holiday and set out to show the various origins behind what we now consider Halloween. I’m not sure how well he succeeded. It’s a great book (it’s Ray Bradbury, how could it not be) but I felt like some cultures here focused on a lot more than others and some were definitely held up with higher regard than others. But I’ll go more into that when I review it.
  • Speaking of the review, I keep going back and forth about when to review this book. Should I review it now or wait for Halloween? I’ve been wanting to do Halloween themed reviews during October for a while, but I…..well, I’m not good at keeping up with commitments.

  • Finish my submissions for Sagebrush Review and the COLFA Spring Research Conference
  • Check in on my UMass application. One of my letters of recommendation still hasn’t shown up. I need to ask what will happen if the person I asked to submit it doesn’t come through.
  • Don’t pull my hair out with the three oral presentations I have to do. I’m not sure how I managed it, but they’re all next month right on top of each other.
  • Fantasy Faction, Why Characters Play Their Parts: Human Identity in Storytelling
  • Fantasy Faction, Winds of Winter Months Away From Being Finished…if the Writing Goes Well
  • Coven Book Club, January Coven Reads: Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch
  • Fantasy Faction, The Only Bit of Writing Advice You’ll Need in 2016
  • Coven Book Club, Calling Lady Book Lovers!
  • Coven Book Club, In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente
  • Coven Book Club, Big Magic is Big Magic
  • Fantasy Faction, Three Things Fantasy Can’t Get Right With Combat
  • Fantasy Faction, Top Ten Wolves in Fantasy
  • Fantasy Faction, Revisiting the Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • Fantasy Faction, The Creatures in the Shadows: West Africa
  • Mandy Wallace, 7 Ways to Build Writing Confidence as a New Writer (Reader Question!)
  • Coven Book Club, Literary Laughs
  • Fantasy Faction, This Census Taker by China Mieville
  • Fantasy Faction, Will a Small Press Add Value? 6 Things to Consider
  • Fangoria, FANGORIA Podcast Network: “THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW” Reveals The Truth Behind “V.D.”!
  • EA Devrell, Creative Writing Syllabus & Rubric (for Writers and Tutors)
  • Fantasy Faction, Might Evil Prevail? Fantasies that Threaten an Unhappy Ending
  • Coven Book Club, The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
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