Week 2: In better writing news...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week 2 of the semester proved to be far better than week 1--even though I got almost no comp reading done.  I finished Millennium Hall on Tuesday and have yet to pick up another comp book--mainly because I was far too busy reading something more interesting and inspirational.  Which brings me to my list for the week:

1)  Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games series.  Is it strange to be thankful for another writer's books?  I don't think so.  Not if they're brilliant and remind you of why you wanted to be a writer in the first place.  We all need that kind of kick every once in awhile, the kind of read that makes you go, "This.  This is what I want to be doing.  Creating this."  Not that I want to write a book exactly like The Hunger Games, but I want people to feel something when they finish reading.  I want them to take that feeling with them, to reflect on it, to feel changed forever.  I finished Mockingjay, the third book, on Friday, and I'm still feeling its effects.  After I finished, I cried.  I actually cried twice, once while reading and once when finishing, and I honestly cannot say if I've ever cried when reading before.  I think I might have cried when Fred Weasley died, which would make sense, because reading this book was very much like reading Harry Potter 7 to me.  I finished both books in just one day (just as I finished both of the earlier Hunger Games books), but I had to take breathing breaks throughout because I was so stressed out.  The ending, to me, was perfect, and it left me breathless, and empty, and exhausted, and, as Chantel put it, heartsick.  My heart is still aching, even two days later.  After being immersed in that world for two solid days (I read Catching Fire on Thursday), it has been difficult pulling myself back out of it.  That's the kind of impact a great story can have.

2)  Overcoming writer's block.  Thanks to Mockingjay, I've been able to work through a few of the issues that have been nagging me in The Novel.  I actually opened the file yesterday for the first time since school began and read it straight through.  And you know what, I didn't hate it this time.  And I even figured out what to do.  So I made a few revisions, changed a few lines, and I'm back in the game.  And it feels SO GOOD to be working on it again.

3)  Publication!  Last week I blogged that I'd received four rejections.  This week I had no rejections and one acceptance, so that's a pretty successful week in my book.  On Thursday I received notice that my story "Skin Deep" will be published in the October issue of Blue Crow Magazine, an Australian journal that publishes fiction from around the world.

4)  Finishing my justification.  In one draft.  My dissertation director attributes this to my creative writing, and she's probably right.   The comprehensive exams justification is something my department makes PhD candidates write to "justify" their reading lists--why they've chosen these lists, these texts, these time periods, etc.  Basically you just make stuff up about how these texts will help with the dissertation, teaching, job placement, future course planning, etc.  I wrote mine Monday night and she approved it Tuesday, changing just one word.  I can definitely live with that.

5)  Living in a college town.  This is probably the first time I've ever admitted to liking living in a college town. I'm forever complaining that the town is too small, that there isn't enough to do.  BUT what we lack in recreation and entertainment, we more than make up for in our choice of international restaurants.  Seriously, it's amazing that a town this size has so much to choose from.  This weekend I've been to an Irish pub, a Greek restaurant, a Cuban restaurant, and had Chinese take-out.  I may never eat American food again.  (Oh, wait, I take that back, because on Friday Kellye and I had lunch at Nathan's Hot Dogs.  That's right--we have a Nathan's in the student center now.  Nathan's less than 500 feet from my office=awesomeness.)

6)  And finally, rain.  It's been raining off and on all weekend, and it's raining outside my study window even as I write this.  I love the rain--the way it smells, the way the air feels after a storm.  And how it makes me feel like curling up with a good book--or with my computer and doing a little writing of my own.


Tawnysha Greene September 3, 2010 at 9:05 AM  

Congrats on the acceptance! That's awesome!

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