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1. Scattered? Me, Too!


Although it's been a good month since I moved into my new house, there is still a ton of work to do before we can say it's actually finished, or even completely livable. The main difficulty is finding both the time and the energy after work each day to accomplish everything my imagination envisions. The same holds true for my creative life at the moment. As much as I want to finish my WIPs, start a new art journal, and sew a winter wardrobe, it's not going to happen as quickly or completely as I would like. And that makes me feel . . . unhappy.

Last night I had trouble sleeping while I worried about what seemed like five hundred loose ends--disconnected projects and ideas that only spun into more projects and ideas. We had an unexpected (and what I would normally consider very welcome) New Mexico thunderstorm during the middle of the night, increasing my feelings of nervousness, incompetence, and outright failure. Consequently I woke up with a sore back and neck and the need for a serious re-think, resulting in some frantic morning pages and a list I titled, "What I Want to Do." It included:

  • Finish my new screenplay.
  • Go back to my screenwriting group.
  • Finish the edits on my nonfiction WIP, A Pet Owners Book of Days.
  • Draw the illustrations for A Pet Owner's Book of Days.
  • Finish the edits on my novel WIP, The Abyssal Plain.
  • Get back to working with clay.
  • Buy jewelry tools and make jewelry.
  • Start a really neat poetry project.
  • Read my friends’ manuscripts when they ask for critiquing.
  • Stay focused on my day job.
  • Finish my new house, as in FINISHED.
  • Keep up with the housework in my new house (amazing how fast dust collects).
  • Read for fun. 
  • Sleep.
  • Blog.
  • Stay current with social media.
  • Promote my books.
  • Buy a sewing machine and start some sewing projects.
  • Sketch more often.
  • Sign up for The Sketchbook Project.

Impossible? You bet.

Long ago, when I sold my first book, my editor said, “You are very ambitious.” I was genuinely surprised. I thought "ambitious" meant you were crazy for leather briefcases and suits with shoulder pads. I had no idea it simply meant I had big creative dreams and wanted to write stories that delved into many areas, topics, and themes.

Either way, I still don’t know how to not be ambitious; how to stop wanting to dive into color and words, how to stop writing multiple stories and chasing after all projects labelled "NEW." So here’s a little scheme I’m going to try. I'm calling it:  Concentration. 


The Concentration Plan

  • For my daily writing, edit and concentrate only on The Abyssal Plain.
  • For my daily art practice: concentrate only on pictures of dogs, cats, and Barcelona.
  • Social media is a reward only after I’ve accomplished a timed amount of work every hour or so.
  • Freewriting time is only for blog posts.
  • Reading is only at bedtime.
  • "Finishing the house" as well as housework is only on the weekends.

To get there I'll have to say no a lot, e.g.:

  • No sewing.
  • No jewelry.
  • No clay.
  • No poetry.
  • No screenplay.
  • No critiquing.

Just looking at these lists makes me feel a lot better; I might even get to sleep tonight! The beauty is that I now feel I have some goals back on track. For instance, finishing The Abyssal Plain edits means I can then move on to marketing the manuscript. Drawing cats and dogs will give me a break from the edits and help me create the illustrations for Pet Owners. And getting the house finished over the weekends means we won't get burn-out. So let it rain, let it pour--I've got it covered.

Tip of the Day: I’ve used calendars, spreadsheets, journal notes, all kinds of things to help keep me get focused. However, the best thing I’ve found to date is a stack of index cards. If my day’s tasks don’t fit on a single card, they don’t get listed at all. 

In the meantime, how do you focus best? I'd love to hear some ideas!

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2. Update on the injured cosplayer

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I’m sure everyone has now read up on the details of the arrest regarding the 17-year-old cosplayed who was found injured and was presumably attacked at Comic-Con on Saturday night. The man who was arrested was 29-year-old Justin Kailor, a photographer associated with something called Project Cosplay. Kailor was friends with the victim, and indeed many photos of her are watermarked with Project Cosplay so she clearly had an ongoing relationship with the project. According to Kailor, the two went to the show together and argued at the Marriott about whether to leave or not, and he became worried when she left. About an hour later she was found bloody and unconscious at the pool or the Marina Marriott.

“I just wanted to call it a night and take her home to her parents and be on my way…,” he said. “She ran off and I didn’t follow. She didn’t answer the phone. She was gone for so long I asked security if they had seen her.”

About an hour later, he said, security found the girl unconscious and bloodied in the hotel’s pool area. He added he was with security when they heard she had been discovered and police were notified. The hotel manager did not return calls seeking comment.


THe girl’s family was interviewed by local news, and confirmed that the victim would have a long recovery, but the support of the cosplay community was much appreciated. Police haven’t commented on whether Kailor is involved in the assault on the victim; his arrest was in connection with giving her alcohol and unspecified “sexual contact” with a minor.

The investigation is still ongoing; anyone who has any information should contact sdhpiwatch@portofsandiego.org.

A few personal comments: it’s hard to imagine an idea more disturbing than a bloody, severely injured teen-aged cosplayed being found by a pool at the Marriott Marquis, possibly sexually assaulted, in the middle of Saturday night at Comic-Con. I’ve been by that pool, you’ve been by that pool. I took a shortcut through that pool nearly every day at the con. I stayed at the Marriott on Tuesday night, I’ve been there with groups, I’ve been there alone and so have you.

There is a great deal we do not know about this case, and I’m not going to speculate on what happened. But based on what we do know, there is nothing shocking, unusual or dangerous about the behavior of the victim. She did what hundreds and thousands of people have done at Comic-Con for years—dressed up, hung out with friends and moved around a place she assumed was safe.

What is shocking, unusual and dangerous is the behavior of whoever left her lying bloody by the pool.

I’m turning off comments here, but if anyone has any RELEVANT information regarding this, such as benefits, cosplay group response, or knowledgable insights, email me at comicsbeat @gmail.com. This is obviously a tragedy, and will contribute to a lot of the ongoing discussion about cosplay, consent and conventions.

Please continue to think good thoughts for this young woman and her family.

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3. 8 Online Resources for Historical Research

The beauty of doing historical research in the Digital Age is that so much can be carried out from the comfort of your couch, local coffee shop or anywhere with reasonably speedy Wi-Fi. Of course, there’s much to be said for libraries, museums and a trip to your novel’s locale, but because so much can be accomplished from home, the Internet should be your first stop. Here are eight tools to get you up and running.

American Memory <memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html>

The staggering breadth of multimedia available in these collections from the Library of Congress—more than 9 million digitized items—seeks to document the quintessential American experience through text, images, audio and video. Thankfully for researchers, these vast contents are organized by themes based on subject matter and format for more straightforward navigation. Learn what it was like to administer communion in 1550 from a mid-16th century handbook for priests, gain a deeper understanding of Civil War battle strategy with an 1863 map of Gettysburg, or inform your own story of a Mad Men-style ad firm with a Coca Cola commercial from the 1960s. Narrow your search to specific sections or explore the entire site at once, but either way you’ll walk away with something new and unexpected.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940 <loc.gov/collection/federal-writers-project/>

The manuscripts collection from American Life Histories is another invaluable resource from the Library of Congress, distinct from American Memory. From 1936 to 1940, the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project, a jobs program that was part of the New Deal, compiled and transcribed more than 2,900 written life histories. Ranging from 2,000 to 15,000 words, these manuscripts document the lives of Americans living at the turn of the century, through the Technological Revolution, World War I and the Great Depression. These records include valuable details that could inform your writing, such as physical appearance, education, income, occupation, political views, religious perspective and more.

Archive Grid <beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/>

At the beginning of your research, when you’re looking for tools that cover a very broad swath of material, Archive Grid will be among your first stops. It’s a catalog of more than 2 million primary and secondary source materials from institutions around the world, from Yale to the Bibliotheek Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. Searchable by keyword, you can inform your character’s career by looking up an occupation such as fireman to see an occupation analysis of “The Fireman in Cincinnati” (1930), or better depict the squalor of Parisian peasants in 1790 with a little help from “Economic conditions in Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution.” Not all archival material is openly accessible—some may requiring reaching out to an institution for permission—but the massive collection still makes it an excellent device for homing in on the exact information you seek.

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection <davidrumsey.com/>

The David Rumsey collection includes more than 48,000 historical maps and images that are available for you to browse and consume for free online. Though the majority of available maps focus on rare 18th- and 19th-century maps from North America and South America, historic maps of Europe, Asia and Africa are also available. This collection is digitized at an incredibly high resolution, making it easy collect details by zooming in. Use an 1857 street map of Chicago to understand the anatomy of the city before the Great Chicago Fire, or an 1834 atlas of Scotland with hand-colored county boundaries to see whether your character’s village was in Forfarshire or Kincardineshire.

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project <digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/museum.html>

There is a wealth of online sources where you can plunder photos, manuscripts and other old ephemera, but the Feeding America collection from Michigan State University provides you the unique opportunity to accurately portray your character’s diet. The Historic American Cookbook Project includes full-text, searchable transcriptions of cookbooks dating as far back as the 1700s. Use the Manual for Army Cooks (1896) to describe an authentic meal of salt codfish hash for a wary group of Union soldiers, or a description of Johnny Cake or Indian Slap Jacks from American Cookery (1798) to realistically chronicle a meal at the table of Thomas and Martha Jefferson. In addition to the awesome archive of cookbooks, the site additionally includes a glossary of historic cooking terms, as well as images of old cooking utensils such as a bread grater and a gourd dipper.

Google Books <books.google.com/>

Provided by Google, the search engine monolith, Google Books offers a gateway to more than 30 million digitally scanned books, most of which are no longer in print or commercially available. As an additional feature, every digitized book has searchable text using optical character recognition, making it easier to track down the exact piece of information you’re looking for. While there are some books that are restricted to only an abstract or preview, full text of those in the public domain are available to download for free. Because this archive is so enormous, you’re bound to find background information on just about any subject you can imagine, from the Influence of Judaism on the Protestant Reformation to Bogs, Baths and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation.

Measuring Worth <measuringworth.com/index.php>

Say you’re writing a novel about an oil magnate at the turn of the 20th century. For background, you read up on John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Company, and stumble across the fact that he was worth about $200 million in 1902. This sounds like a lot, but you can’t fully understand the immensity of this number without comparing it to today’s standards. That’s where Measuring Worth comes in: an online tool that allows you to determine “historical worth.” By plugging in the numbers, we can see that Rockefeller was worth about $34.6 billion in today’s standards, a detail that can’t help but inform your character, granting him the eccentricities of the uber-wealthy. Use Measuring Worth to size up everything from how George Washington’s salary compares to President Obama’s, to how much a car in 1925 would cost you in today’s dollars. Calculating worth is not something that naturally comes to mind when trying to write a historically accurate work of fiction, but is an element both compelling and critical to consider when conducting research.

New York Public Library Digital Collections <digitalcollections.nypl.org/>

Put the coveted collections of the NYPL, the second largest public library in the US next to the Library of Congress, at your fingertips without the hassle of navigating busy Manhattan streets or trying to find a cheap hotel room in Midtown. Perhaps the most useful (and fascinating) feature on the website is the Digital Gallery. The NYPL Digital Gallery is a collection of more than 800,000 images, including historical maps and photographs, manuscripts, vintage posters and rare prints. Take a peak at the collection “Customs and Costume” to see how a family of Russians might’ve dressed in 1862, or explore “The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts” to see what details might’ve adorned a program from the Metropolitan Opera House in 1909.

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4.

A new "KING BRONTY" story is at your finger tips! As always, I hope you enjoy it!

 

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5. Breaking: SDCC cosplayer was injured as the result of a fall not an assault

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The San Diego Unified Port District Harbor Police have issued a second and final press release in regards to the case of the injured cosplayer at Comic-Con, and it has been ascertained that her injuries were most likely sustained as the result of a fall, not an assault.

BACKGROUND:
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, 2014, a juvenile female was found with significant injuries in the pool area of a hotel at 333 West Harbor Drive in San Diego. The juvenile female had attended Comic Con earlier in the day and still had her costume on. She was transported to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

In connection with the case, Harbor Police arrested a 29-year-old man early Sunday morning, July 27 at the hotel. He was booked into San Diego County Jail at 11:20 a.m. on charges of sexual contact with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The Harbor Police Investigations Unit has been investigating the incident, including the cause of the injuries to the victim.

INVESTIGATION RESULTS:
After the incident, Police began a thorough investigation of the facts, including a review of footage from multiple surveillance cameras, as well as the assistance of community members and Comic Con attendees who provided extensive information and sent photographs for review. The investigation concluded with a finding that the juvenile female’s injuries were not the result of a criminal assault, and were likely the result of a fall. Her injuries, and physical evidence at the scene, were consistent with a fall from the distance of approximately six feet.

This finding does not affect the charges against the 29-year-old male, which will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office. Because this case involves a minor, no further information will be released about this incident.


While the number of accidents that occurred at the con should not be downplayed, the true facts of the case are not nearly as dire as suspected.
While our heartfelt wishes for her recovery are in no way changed, I can’t help but think that a wave of relief has flooded over the Comic-Con community. It’s also notable that 1 am Saturday is a busy time at the con, and that a lot of people must have seen what happened and helped police put together an accurate report.

Once again, all good thoughts to the injured girl and her family.

0 Comments on Breaking: SDCC cosplayer was injured as the result of a fall not an assault as of 7/31/2014 9:08:00 PM
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6. SDCC 14: Becky Cloonan, The Killjoys of Moving…

By David Nieves

Since 1999 Becky Cloonan has been breaking down doors; whether they be from moving to new places or the ones every creator has to go through to make comics for a living. I had the overwhelming  joy of sitting down with her on the SDCC show floor last week. To no one’s surprise, I found her to be every bit the –best in the world– her poignant art style suggest.

We talked a little bit about her recent move back south of the wall. Becky has a genuine zest for life that would terrify the average person thinking about uprooting themselves to new surroundings. While she deals with the same angst of “where the grocery store is, the post office… trying to figure out my place in this neighborhood,” she finds inspiration and new contributions to the projects she’s in the middle of during her journeys.

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Reflecting back on the dystopian opera that was True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys, a process that’s been over five years in the making. The original story inspired the My Chemical Romance album Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys which then turned back into the comic book.  Killjoy’s end result being a Mad Max story with so much heart that it makes the tears shed in the opening of Up seem like a prick from a rose throne. On the subject of if the group would ever come back to tell more stories in the Killjoy’s world, all Cloonan would say is, “never say never.” It does sound as though it will be quite sometime before that would ever happen due to Shaun Simon’s upcoming projects, Gerard Way’s new album, and her own recently announced Image book Southern Cross.

Our conversation steered towards the comic book industry in general. After starting by self publishing her own books in 1999, she’s excited by how viable self-publishing has become over the last ten years. Not only has this been a coo for creators, but she’s noticed how much its changed the readership of comics. Cloonan and Way recently signed at Meltdown Comics in L.A. she was thrilled by the fact that “the line was like 90% girls and they all had their comics to be signed.” Her thoughts about the on going hot topic women in comics; Cloonan takes a very humble approach on the matter. In her words, “As much as I feel like I don’t represent women in comics, I don’t feel like I can carry that flag cause it’s too heavy (laughs). I represent myself, but at the same time I love to encourage young girls to get into drawing comics, get into reading comics.”

Her outlook on the future of comics is as upbeat as the artist’s demeanor. Cloonan talked about how all the conversations and strides we take today will pay off ten years from now. The artist emphasized, “It’s going to be healthier, it’s going to be bigger and we’re going to see even more amazing comics.”

Listen to our entire conversation below to hear just how fabulous Becky is:

Becky Cloonan isn’t just the story of a female creator in comics. After spending some time with her you start to see that she’s the tale of a girl who wants to tell stories through a lens of her ever-evolving perspective while along the way encouraging those of us with the same fears and anxieties to pursue their passions. The industry is a much better place for having her and you just can’t say that about everyone.

If you’re one of the five people on earth who haven’t read True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys check it out in stores and through Dark Horse Comics. Becky’s new Image book Southern Cross will be available in stores this Winter.

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7. Flag Samples have Arrived!

I love to get samples. I am so happy with these. They will be in Lowes this holiday season. The snowman has some lovely embroidered edges. 


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8. The History of Typography: VIDEO

Are you looking for a typeface for your book? Perhaps you’d like it to tie into the era that your novel is set in?

DesignMantic has created a video which illustrates the history of typography, tracing the history of type development through the ages. It is a great resource for those that want to learn the background on the various typefaces that have been popular throughout the ages.

We’ve embedded the video above for your enjoyment.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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9. I Got Presents Too

Yesterday I was away celebrating Bookman’s birthday. He says he turned forty-ten. Sure, why not? We went out to breakfast at our favorite cafe, spent some time in the garden, went for a walk at the lake and went to a bookstore. I also made him a cake so chocolatey that it is a good thing we have been building up our chocolate tolerance for years otherwise we might have overdosed. Also, it is just as well that I don’t cook very often, especially when it comes to things like cake. As I was mixing up all the ingredients I was overcome with horror — how much sugar? How much butter? OMG, MORE sugar?!!! Of course when it came to eating cake I still had a piece, though maybe not as big as I would have had if I had been ignorant to the sugar and fat content. It’s a good thing Bookman has a birthday only once a year!

One of the things Bookman decided he wanted to do was go to a bookstore. So we did. We went to Half Price Books. It has been a really long time since we have been there and we had even vowed to never go back after some bad experiences there, but it is close to our house and we decided to check it out.

They must have had a sale recently because there were large gaping holes on their shelves where I would have expected books. And browsing, it seemed like there just wasn’t much of anything. However, I still managed to bring home three books.

  • Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Sontag. Leslie Jamison mentions Sontag and this book in Empathy Exams and I have seen it crop up in other places. It seemed like it was about time to get a copy.
  • Angel by Elizabeth Taylor, the NYRB edition. I’ve heard good things about Taylor but I rarely see any of her books turn up at the secondhand shop so when I saw NYRB and Taylor together, I couldn’t pass it by.
  • Vita Nuova: A Novel by Bohumil Hrabal. I do love Hrabal and his books are hard to find in bookstores either new or secondhand. This one is the second in a trilogy of fictional memoirs but it seems I don’t have to read them in order. At least I don’t think I do. It is written from the perspective of his wife and depicts their life in Prague from the 1950s to 1970s.

Not bad, huh?

We also found Doctor Who salt and pepper shakers that we are attempting to repurpose. We are in the midst of a little setback on that project but hopefully we will be able to figure it out and I can make a happy reveal of it soon. In the mean time you will just have to imagine what one might use salt and pepper shakers for besides salt and pepper. Hmmmm.


Filed under: Books, New Acquisitions, Personal

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10. Squeetus summer book club: Enna Burning, chapter 20

UKPBEBOriginal ending: Enna gives up her powers entirely. That was what I was writing toward in the first draft, but I eventually discovered it wasn't the best story. I also considered ending it in her death.

Found this note I apparently never incorporated in the story: "Mimicbeetles introduced, mimic sounds of men or Finn coming."

The ceremony: I was always curious about these verses from Isaiah in the Old Testament (which is generally poetic and full of strange and interesting images):

6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar;

7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

This ceremony seemed like something the fire worshippers might believe in.

Wind and fire: In an early draft, my editor was not on board with the wind/fire solution. She thought I should change it to rain/fire. I thought it was working until her comment, which made me look closer and work harder. I decided not to take her exact advice but it was still helpful because she pushed me to make work what I wanted to have happen. I deleted most of it and rewrote the whole thing. And then again. And again. I overwrote and then deleted liberally. And then wove strings throughout the entire book that helped lead up to the moment when Isi and Enna teach each other their languages. And now it's 10x stronger. Reminds me of what others have said, "If someone says something's not working in your manuscript, they're always right. If they tell you how to fix it, they're always wrong." I don't like "always" but mostly I think that advice is true.

Nicole asks, "I was wondering what your favorite book is, outside of those which you've written?" I don't have a favorite book. I don't have a favorite anything. I like choices! But the first book that popped into my mind when you asked that is I Capture the Castle, which is a book I completely adored until the last page, and then I was so upset by the abrupt, unclosed ending that I couldn't deal. That book taught me a lot about what I love as a reader and what I don't. Highly recommend it for both reasons.

Eliza asks, "Sorry to hijack the Enna discussion, but I have another EAH question. Are Apple and Daring siblings?" No, that would be weird! Apple inherits her mother's story, but her father (the previous Prince Charming) doesn't have a son to inherit his. I explain more in a short story about Dexter that's coming out this fall in the Once Upon a Time collection, but the Charming family is huge, lots of branches, and there are plenty of prince charmings to take up those roles so there's no incest!

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11. Audiobook Review: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life in Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill

From Goodreads:
Jenna Miscavige Hill was raised to obey. As the niece of the Church of Scientology's leader David Miscavige, she grew up at the center of this highly controversial and powerful organization. But at twenty-one, Jenna made a daring break, risking everything she had ever known and loved to leave Scientology once and for all. Now she speaks out about her life, the Church, and her dramatic escape, going deep inside a religion that, for decades, has been the subject of fierce debate and speculation worldwide.
Writing
Well done.  I don't have much to say either positively or negatively about the quality of the writing.  I think the real appeal of the book lies in Hill's story, and it's told well, but without anything extra in terms of style or device.

Entertainment Value
Absolutely fascinating.  After reading and enjoying Going Clear last year, I was really interested in the subject of Scientology and excited to see this memoir by someone who actually grew up inside the cult.  Jenna Miscavige Hill was not only a member of Scientology, but closely related to high-level Scientology leaders, including her uncle, David Miscavige.

Hill's story is heartbreaking.  She describes being separated from her parents from a very young age, being raised in a communal group with other children, and being forced to perform physically demanding labor and harsh punishments.  We follow her as she becomes a teenager and young adult and begins to question some of the rules and restrictions placed on members of the Sea Org, the elite group of church members who devote their lives to the practice of Scientology.  It's a story that is difficult to hear and chilling at times, when you realize that these abuses are happening in the country we live in at this moment in time.

Narration
Well done.  As with the writing, I have no strong feelings either way.  The author doesn't narrate the book and that always feels a little bit weird to me when listening to a memoir, but I still enjoyed the experience.

Overall
I highly recommend it to fans of memoir, those interested in contemporary cults, or who are interested in Scientology specifically.

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12. Manga Worth Reading July 2014

I mean, if we’re doing an anime worth watching each month, it only makes sense we do a manga worth reading as well right? So this is ultimately the feature of dreams. Manga is vast, and there’s certainly a lot of it to consume, whether it’s published in your country, or someone’s fan translating that one ... Read more

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13. Con BLOG wars: Hall H line kerfuffle leads blogger to quit

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Oh man. This really is the year everything got out of control isn’t it. Before we dig in here, I should note that I’m friendly with everyone mentioned below. I’ve talked to Jeremy at the SDCC Unofficial blog many times, appeared on their podcast several times, tweeted with Tony from Crazy4ComicCon, linked to them all and in general respected their passionate coverage of Comic-Con as a pop culture effort. So I’m just reporting what I hear.

The SDCC unofficial blog is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most authoritative blogs about the show with all kinds of news hints and tips. As mentioned before, I appear on their podcast, and members of the team I’ve spoken with seem engaged and professional. This year, blogger Sarah Mertan of ConShark was doing some writing for them, but she announced that she quit over—wait for it—an unofficial line for Hall H. It seems that on Friday night some people created their OWN LINE for HAll H, and those people included several from SDCCUB, who managed to keep the line secret and get A level wristbands. The SDCCUB people respond in the comments, and then Tony Kim from Crazy4Comic-Con went and wrote a novel:

Many of you may have made the assumption that those that blog about Comic-Con are one big happy family, unfortunately that is not the case.

This goes under “Very long, set aside beverage to read” or vl;sabtr. Shorter version as I can make out, is that Tony was also once a member of the SDCCUB team and quit over stuff, and now they badmouth him and there is no love lost. And then there’s the matter of the secret line and who should have said what and when and who. Kim writes:

If CCI had granted the SDCC Blog special access into Hall H for coverage, I would have been fine with that. Then it’s accounted for and I would trust CCI’s judgement call on it. People get special access all the time- no big deal. But instead, the SDCC Blog took the initiative and exploited a vulnerable part of an experimental system. Because of the ConShark’s courageous act, they got caught. As you can see from the comment section of the post, Jeremy takes no responsibility, blames her for not communicating, blames security for being wrong, and chalks it up to a big misunderstanding. Even though he is arguably the single most influential source for Comic-Con news, his last comment on the post included this:

“Next time we’ll just tweet out every unsanctioned line that forms, screw over folks who started them and invested their time, cause a situation for security to deal with and get CCI to hate us. I guess then everyone will be happy.”


So many sharks, so much jumping. =(

I know you are all sick of Comic-Con by now, and I will restrict my future comments to two big round-up posts over the weekend, but this is part of the problem. Secret lines! Secret wristbands! Secret podcasts and photos and CONspiracies. I can attest that there was bad blood between SDCCUB and C4CC — I’d gotten wind of it several times png before this and thoughts, “Small space, competitive market”…but Comic-con coverage really isn’t that small. I don’t know how many dedicated blogs the space can support but it’s more than one.

I’ll admit I got into Hall H on Saturday morning, but it was the first time I’d been in four years and it will probably be four years before I go again. It was cool alright, but I enjoyed my lunch at Sushi Deli and watching the casts of various vampire shows taking pictures with fans at the Hilton just as much. Every moment at Comic-con is precious. I get that Hall H is the Holy Grail of pop culture participation but is it really worth all this drama? I mean I know a lot of people think so but…life is too short, people.

Way too short.

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14. World Premieres of ‘Big Hero 6′ and ‘Parasyte’ Set for Tokyo International Film Festival

The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is putting a special emphasis on animation this year, and has announced that Disney's "Big Hero 6" will be the opening night film of their 27th edition.

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15. How Japanese Animators Use Flash to Create Amazing TV Animation

Science Saru, the new studio started by Japanese directors Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi, has shared a behind-the-scenes look at how they used Flash in the recent TV series "Ping Pong."

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16. Writing the Urban Sketch

Earlier this month, Daniel Roessler shared a three-part series on nature and poetry. I’m hoping to continue sharing both guest posts on various topics on Thursdays (missed last week because of illness and deadlines). If you have an idea, send it my way at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com, and we’ll work to flesh it out.

This guest post comes from Ian Chandler, who was a Top 25 Poet in the 2013 April PAD Challenge (click here to read an interview).

******

Greetings, poets! Robert has been kind enough to give me a guest post on this wonderful blog, so I’ll do my best not to mess it up. I’m writing on one of my favorite aspects of poetry (and all writing, for that matter): the urban sketch.

I first learned about the concept while studying Arthur Morrison’s book A Child of the Jago, which tells the tale of a London slum in the 1890s. I didn’t care so much for the book, but I came across a unique connection between the text and Japanese art. Morrison had a special fondness for a woodcutting technique called ukiyo-e. It depicted mostly city life, which eventually gave way to the modern urban sketch. At its core, the urban sketch is taking a vignette of or situation in daily urban life and using it as the basis for a written work.

While it may seem like a widely used (and even obvious) concept, deliberate urban sketching provides some unique perspectives to all poets. For those who already focus on modern life, you’ll get a defined sense of place using the technique. For those who don’t, you’ll discover a litany of marvelous things about everyday life.

Urbanity as Action
A great example is Anthony Hecht’s masterful “Third Avenue in Sunlight,” where he ends with the cutting quatrain:

Daily the prowling sunlight whets its knife
Along the sidewalk. We almost never meet.
In the Rembrandt dark he lifts his amber life.
My bar is somewhat further down the street.

Throughout the poem, Hecht weaves a narrative in between descriptions of the city and places the action in urbanity itself. The closer is an intense picture of the affected view of the titular avenue that truly clinches.

Nature of the City
For another example, take the appropriately titled “City Elegies” by Robert Pinsky:

All day all over the city every person
Wanders a different city, sealed intact
And haunted as the abandoned subway stations
Under the city. Where is my alley doorway?

This part in particular centers on the nature of the city itself rather than what is within it, and it does so tastefully.

Culture of the City
Lastly, a small self-plug for good measure. I used urban sketching in “tuesday,” which highlights millennial culture and focuses on small things some people might not see:

wet chainlink benchbacks
that are wooden and resolute
and my soy latte
a sketch of the counter with a found pen

The next time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard/screen), try using the urban sketch. Besides being a whole lot of fun, it’s a good way to train your mind. Who knows––that parked motorcycle next to a campus bookstore and an ant-line of cars on Main Street might be the stars of your next poem.

******

Ian Chandler

Ian Chandler

Ian Chandler is a poet and freelance writer based in Kent, Ohio. He is currently attending Kent State University studying English. He has been awarded the 2014 Malone Writers Prize in Poetry, and he has been published three times in A Celebration of Young Poets.

He also reviews albums for Surviving the Golden Age. Other hobbies of his include coffeemaking, cardistry, and music.

Read more at his blog: http://ianchandler.wordpress.com.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

 

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17. Julia Denos: Fashion & Children’s Illustrator

Post by Heather Ryerson

Julia Denos

Julia Denos

Julia Denos

Julia Denos

Julia Denos

Julia Denos’ loose, colorful illustrations are sure to make girls everywhere ooh and ah. Her quick lines and saturated colors say a lot with a little and her playful evocation of texture and pattern is pitch perfect for children’s fashion. She has illustrated numerous picture books for girls like I Had A Favorite Dress, Just Being Audrey, and Grandma’s Gloves. Candlewick Press, HarperCollins, Penguin, RandomHouse, Scholastic, and Highlights are amongst her many clients.

See more of her work on her website.

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18. Harts Pass No. 211

The fact of the matter is that we're ALL watching the skies and surrounding hills just a little closer -- sniffing the air to decide if the wind has changed and the smoke is settling in or blowing less obviously but still ominously to the east. Its going to be a long hot summer still ahead, and while the eight recent days of highest concern seem somewhat now at bay (including, yes the disposal of many a spoiled food item) it can't hurt to remain vigilant. Oh, and wolverines (of the mustelid family after all) do tend to smell a bit -- musty.


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19. A Mexican Cemetery Comes Alive Through Animation

"They say Mexicans have a special fascination with death," writes Christian Bermejo of the Mexican animation website Tweenbox. "We don't believe it but maybe playing around with mapping in the cemetery doesn't help."

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20. Watch ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ Trailer

The first trailer for the mixed-media SpongeBob movie "Sponge Out of Water" was released today, and it's a real winner.

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21. Poetry Friday - A review of On the Wing

Douglas Florian is a poet and artist who has created poetry picture books that explore a wide variety of subjects. Over the years I have greatly enjoyed reading these books, and it is interesting to see how he applies his considerable talent to take on a new topic that interests him.

Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Harcourt, 1996, 978-0152023669
Birds truly are remarkable animals. They come in a dazzling array of colors, live on every continent, and make their homes in all kinds of places. In this wonderful picture book Douglas Florian pairs short poems with his artwork to give readers a true celebration of birds.
   Over the millennia birds have evolved to suit many kinds of environments. Some birds, like the egret, sail on water and then rest on the beach making it seem as if there is a “feathered hat” lying on the sand. Dippers love to dip and dive in waterfalls. They are so aquatic that one wonders if they would be happy to “trade / Their oily wings for flippers.” They are such good swimmers that it is possible that the little birds might “think that they are fish.”
   Birds come in all shapes and sizes. The spoonbill is tall and thin with a beak that does indeed look like a long-handled spoon. In his poem about this rather odd looking species, Douglas Florian wonders if the spoonbill uses its bill “for stirring tea” or does it “use it as a scoop / For eating peas and drinking soup.”
   The stork has a bill that is perfectly suited for the environment it lives in. Wading through shallow water, the bird uses it rapier like bill to stab frogs and other creatures. Woodpeckers also have beaks that are perfectly adapted so that they can get to their chosen food - insects that live in wood and sap that runs through wood. Not only are these beaks perfect for creating holes, but woodpeckers also use them to communicate.
   With clever touches of humor and insightful descriptions, this collection of poems will give young readers a colorful picture of twenty-one bird speci

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22. Goddess Girls & Heroes in Training | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Goddess Girls #14: Iris the Colorful and Heroes in Training #7: Ares and the Spear of Fear, written by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins July 31, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 30, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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23. Who is My Audience?

On Twitter ages ago N. K. Jemisin asked “*do* white writers want only white readers?”

The immediate, obvious answer for me is: No, I don’t want only white readers. And I’m really glad I don’t have only white readers.

But I’ve not been able to stop thinking about that question. And the shadow question which is “do white writers only write for white readers” regardless of what kind of audience they might want?

In order to respond I need to break it down:

Whiteness

I’m white. That fact has shaped everything about me. I know the moment when I first realised I was white. I was three or four and had just returned from living on an Aboriginal settlement in the Northern Territory. My parents were anthropologists. I was on a bus with my mum in inner-city Sydney when I pointed to a man of possibly Indian heritage and said loudly, “Mummy, look it’s a black man.” My mother was embarrassed, apologised to the man, who was very gracious, and later tried to talk to me about race and racism in terms a littlie could understand.

What happened in that moment was me realising that some people were black and some people were white and that it made a difference to the lives they lived. I’d just spent many months living in the Northern Territory as the only white kid. The fact that I wasn’t black had not been made an issue.1 We played and fought and did all the things that kids do despite my difference. So much so that tiny me had not noticed there was a difference. Despite seeing many instances of that difference being a great deal I wasn’t able to make sense of it till I was living somewhere that was majority white, majority people with my skin colour, and then the penny dropped.

Many white Australians never have a moment of realising that they’re white. That makes sense. Whiteness is everywhere. White Australians see themselves everywhere. Our media is overwhelmingly white, our books are overwhelmingly white. In Australia whiteness is not other; it just is. Whiteness doesn’t have to be explained because it is assumed.

Because whiteness just is, like many other white people, I don’t identify as white. For me whiteness is the box I have to tick off when I fill out certain forms. While it shapes every single day of my life it doesn’t feel like it does. Because what whiteness gives me is largely positive, not negative. My whiteness is not borne home on me every single day. I don’t need to identify as white because, yes, whiteness is a privilege.

When I see a white person talking about “their people” and they mean “white people” I assume they are white supremacists. Anyone talking about saving the white race from extinction is not my people.

For many different reasons I do not think of white people as my people. As a white writer I do not write for white people.

I admit that I have used the phrase “my people.” I’ve used it jokingly to refer to other Australians. Particularly when homesick. Or when someone Australian has done something awesome like Jessica Mauboy singing at Eurovision at which point I will yell: “I love my people!” Or an Australian has done something embarrassing on the world stage: “Oh, my people, why do you fill me with such shame?”

I’ve used “my people” to refer to other passionate readers, to YA writers, to fans of women’s basketball, to Australian cricket fans who like to mock the Australian men’s cricket team and care about women’s cricket, to people who hate chocolate and coffee as much as I do etc.

All of that comes from a place of privilege. I can’t think of a single time in my life when I have been referred to as “you people.” I’ve gotten “you women” or “you feminists” or “you commies”2 or “you wankers” but never “you people.”

White people are rarely asked to speak for their entire race. N. K. Jemisin’s question about white writers writing for white readers is not something that gets asked very often. Meanwhile writers of colour are asked questions like that all the time. They are always assumed to have a people that they’re writing for.

Audience

When I sold my first novel3 I was not thinking about who would read those books. I wasn’t thinking about it when I wrote those books either.4 Frankly I was still over-the-moon ecstatic that they’d sold, that there were going to be novels out there that I wrote! I didn’t get as far as imagining who would read them.

I’ve written stories ever since I was able to write and before then I would tell them to whoever would listen. My first audience was my sister. And, yes, I tailored some of those stories to suit her tastes, adding lots of poo jokes. But, come on, I like(d) poo jokes too. It’s more that I got lucky that my sister liked what I liked.

All my novels are books that, if I hadn’t written them, I would want to read them. I write for myself. I am my main audience.

However.

That all changed when I was published, when my stories found distribution beyond my sister, my parents, friends, teachers.

When I, at last, had an audience and that audience was responding to my novels is when I started thinking about that audience.

When members of my audience started writing to me and I met members of my audience is when I really started thinking about who my audience was and how they would respond to what I had written.

That’s how I know my audience isn’t all white. It’s how I know my audience isn’t all teens. How I know they’re not all women. Not all straight. Not all middle class.

As my books started to be translated I found myself with an audience that isn’t all English speaking.

Discovering how diverse my audience was changed the way I wrote which I have discussed here.

Addressing a White Audience

There is one place where I am addressing a mostly white audience. And that’s on this blog and on Twitter when I’m trying to explain these kinds of complex issues of race to people who haven’t thought much about them before. White people tend to be the people who think the least about race because it affects them the least. So sometimes that’s who I’m consciously addressing.

Writing to an Audience

But white people who are ignorant about racism is never whom I’m consciously addressing when I write my novels.

Even now when I have a better idea of who my audience is I don’t consciously write for them. When I’m writing the first draft of a novel all I’m thinking about is the characters and the story and getting it to work. If I start thinking about what other people will think of it I come to a grinding halt. So I have learned not to do that.

It is only in rewriting that I start thinking about how other people will respond to my words. That’s because when I rewrite I’m literally responding to other people’s thoughts on what I’ve written: comments from my first readers, from my agent, and editors.

My first readers are not always the same people. If I’m writing a book that touches on people/places/genres I have not written before I’ll send the novel to some folks who are knowledgeable about those in the hope that they will call me on my missteps.

Any remaining missteps are entirely my lookout. There are always remaining missteps. I then do what I can to avoid making the same mistakes in the next books I write. And so it goes.

I hope this goes a little of the way towards answering N. K. Jemisin’s question. At least from this one white writer. Thank you for asking it, Nora.

  1. When we returned when I was 8-9 my whiteness made a huge difference.
  2. Many USians think anyone to the left of Genghis Khan is a communist.
  3. First three, actually. The Magic or Madness trilogy was sold on proposal as a three-book deal way back in 2003.
  4. Well not the first two, which were written before the first one was published.

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24. Poetry Friday -- Retro Post


This post originally appeared as a part of my 2013 Poetry Month Project: Common Inspiration--Uncommon Creations. I am working to gather my Poetry Month Projects and other assorted original poems on my website, Poetrepository. I'm not any where near finished yet, but it's been fun to look back. A huge thank you to Amy LV for her website, The Poem Farm, which was my "mentor text" for the design of my site. I chose this one for today because as you are reading it, I will be fly fishing in Vermont! 

Margaret has today's roundup at Reflections on the Teche. See you next week here at A Year of Reading for the Poetry Friday Roundup! Until then, I'll wish you "tight lines!"





I have been involved with Casting for Recovery since 2005, when I was a participant. I have written about it many times here on the blog. Use the search box ("Casting for Recovery") to find these posts, if the spirit moves you. And if you want, you can even "like" the Ohio CFR Facebook Page!

One of my favorite fishing memories happened in Maine when I treated myself to a trip to L.L. Bean's Women's Fly Fishing School. After I completed the classes, I fished on several rivers in Maine before returning home. One was much like the picture above, and although I wasn't dressed like that pre-1920's fisherwoman, I was standing on a large boulder, fishing alone. Alone, but not alone. A flock of cedar waxwings crowded the bank, chasing after the fly I was casting. I was having no luck with the fish, so I just stood quietly to enjoy the birds. When I had been still for a few minutes, one of the birds perched on the tip of my fly rod! My favorite fly fishing catch of all time!! Here's a haiku about that day:


RIVERBANK IN MAINE

Cedar waxwings flocked,
curious about my casts.
Calm fly rod: bird perch.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2013


You might have noticed that there is no attribution for this picture. That's because it's in the Public Domain. Here's what Wikimedia Commons had to say about public domain as it relates to this photo:

"This Canadian work is in the public domain in Canada because its copyright has expired due to one of the following:
1. it was subject to Crown copyright and was first published more than 50 years ago, or
it was not subject to Crown copyright, and
2. it is a photograph that was created prior to January 1, 1949, or
3. the creator died more than 50 years ago.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1923.
Public domain works must be out of copyright in both the United States and in the source country of the work in order to be hosted on the Commons. If the work is not a U.S. work, the file must have an additional copyright tag indicating the copyright status in the source country."


The theme of my 2013 National Poetry Month Project is 


"Common Inspiration--Uncommon Creations." 


Each day in April, I featured media from the Wikimedia Commons ("a database of 16,565,065 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute") along with bits and pieces of my brainstorming and both unfinished and finished poems.

I uesed the media to inspire my poetry, and I invited my students to use my daily media picks to inspire any original creation: poems, stories, comics, music, videos, sculptures, drawings...anything!


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25. Online Exclusive: The Facts of Fiction

In “The Facts of Fiction” compilation article in the September 2014 Writer’s Digest, physician, novelist and award-winning short story writer Jacob M. Appel schools writers on getting their facts straight when writing fictional doctors and patients. Here, in this special online exclusive sidebar we didn’t have space to print, he shares a quick cheat sheet to hospital wings and wards.

Time in the Hospital

Stat – Immediately

BID – Twice a day

TID – Three times a day

QHS – At bedtime

Places in the Hospital

PACU – Post-anesthesia care unit. Patients initially recover from surgery here, not in the operating room (OR) itself.

PICU – Pediatric intensive care unit

MICU – Medical intensive care unit

RICU – Respiratory intensive care unit

NICU – Neonatal intensive care unit, not to be confused with the Neuro ICU, the neurologic intensive care unit

ER or ED – Patients visit emergency rooms; these days, physicians prefer to think of themselves as working for emergency departments

 

 

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