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with the hands of my ass (don't ask)

I forgot to even mention the rain last night. It seems as though it never rains all night anymore. I love nights when it rains all night, gently. It helps me sleep. And last night it must have rained from about two, when we went to bed, just about to dawn. I woke (from a big-budget nightmare involving a haunted house and demonic cats) at about 5:30, and the power was off. I'm not sure when it came on again.

Anyway, I'd meant to mention that this morning and then forgot.

Question: Why would anyone take a writing course from someone who is not, him- or herself, a very successful author?

So, by now you've probably heard that the California Supreme Court has declared the 4,000+ same-sex marriages from this spring legally null and void. I think we all knew this would happen. What's important is what happens next. And I have no idea what that will be. But if we can't get the Republicans out of the White House, it might be frelling concentration camps. Or at least state-sponsored mass sedation of those judged mentally ill. Here's my bit of "news pollution" for the day (the stuff about the California Supreme Court was on purpose): LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER: Bush to screen population for mental illness. I'm hoping this is a case of those curs'd liberal pinko commie fag journalists distorting the truth. Maybe Bush's New Freedom Initiative doesn't really call for psychological testing of all Americans (I admit I only scanned the lengthy progress report, and I couldn't find that part). I mean, this sounds wacko even for Bush. Doesn't it? Please?

Never talk about politics in the blog, Caitlín. Never, never. You know better.

I've reached the point with The Dry Salvages where I'm no longer fixing things, I'm merely changing them. That's not revision, that's just frelling about with words. I have lost perspective. It's time to let it go, whether I feel that it's ready or not. The last couple of days, I added maybe three hundred words of text. I have a handful of commas and hyphens I want Jenny to look at this evening, and then it goes back to subpress.

Tomorrow, Spooky and I drive to Birmingham, where a friend will be working on our Nebari wigs. We'll spend the night with my mother and head back Saturday afternoon.


( 10 comments — Have your say! )
Aug. 12th, 2004 10:52 pm (UTC)
Question: Why would anyone take a writing course from someone who is not, him- or herself, a very successful author?

As someone who just completed a MA in Creative Writing at a fairly small state college.... I've taken tons of such classes. I think it all depends on how the instructor approaches the class. Some were great because they treated it primarily as a workshop and they were merely the guide to keep us focused. But I also took a screenwriting class from a woman who's been trying and trying and trying to sell scripts for decades and, as she told us what MUST be in every single story line, I figured out just WHY she hasn't sold one in all this time (her vision is very limited). I decided that, other than learning the proper format for a screenplay, I shouldn't pay attention to a single word she said about writing.

I'll also say that one of my least rewarding classes was actually with one of our writers in residence. I was excited to take his short story class, but I walked away from it feeling like I'd not learned a single new thing about writing or publishing. Sad.

Of course, other writers in residence were fabulous and I generally preffered learning from published writers.
Aug. 12th, 2004 11:00 pm (UTC)
I took a college writing class with a decidedly low-list horror writer. He kept going on about "the thing at the center of the story," by which he meant an actual physical object. I think he believes every story should be "The Lord of the Rings."
Aug. 12th, 2004 10:57 pm (UTC)
I can't get the link to the "Life With Big Brother" story to work. (The server seems to be down.) But if it's a Worldnet Daily story, then it means the right-wing wacko conservative alt media may actually have woken up and remembered that it used to care about civil liberties and be skeptical of psychological professionals.

Of all the thing that Bush has done to warrant my fury, the worst is how he has turned the good conservatives, those who would actually work with the ACLU from time to time on civil liberties issues, into fascists. Most so-called conservatives have swallowed so much of Bush's neoconservative Kool-Aid that they can't even be bothered by Bush's budget deficits and new entitlement programs. If Clinton had enacted a drug benefit for seniors, they would have lit torches, armed themselves with pitchforks and warned on the White House like a mod out of a James Whale movie.
Aug. 12th, 2004 11:19 pm (UTC)
Question: Why would anyone take a writing course from someone who is not, him- or herself, a very successful author?

Possibly pragmatism; there are few poets who qualify as "very successful" in any sort of financial sense.

Possibly the difference in number of "very successful" authors and those who wish to take writing courses. (I'm sort of stuck on the definition of "very successful" here -- are you very successful? Is Poppy Z. Brite? Stephen King? Dean Koontz? Clive Cussler? Chuck Palahniuk?) In fact, it could be the differing interpretations of very successful -- I might find Writer X very successful for whatever reasons, and you might disagree, but I would still be happy to take a class from X. Also, some people take classes so as to be held accountable for actually producing a certain amount of writing in a given time -- like NaNoWriMo, but with a bill and a somewhat less hectic pace.

Let's see. And in college, there are always a few people looking to pad their GPAs.
Aug. 12th, 2004 11:37 pm (UTC)
Good points. For example, Koontz is successful in that he can churn out best sellers like some sort of machine, but I don't want to write like that. My own definition of successful involves more quality than quantity. (No offense to Koontz. He does write entertaining stuff, after all.)

And it is, indeed, difficult to find exceptional published writers who are willing to teach classes.
Aug. 12th, 2004 11:38 pm (UTC)
"I woke (from a big-budget nightmare involving a haunted house and demonic cats)"

It must've been the night for weird dreams about odd houses and pissy cats. I had a dream involving both. I tried to fend off the attacking cat with a piece of birthday cake. Mine looked more like an indie film.
Aug. 12th, 2004 11:55 pm (UTC)
Question: Why would anyone take a writing course from someone who is not, him- or herself, a very successful author?

To show off, for one thing. It also helps me to build a tougher skin, to learn how to ignore useless advice, and it helps me to not be lazy. Also, it's fascinating to see so many people who think they're literary aficionados because they've cobbled together opinions about writing that they don't understand. It's not an argument for a very extended venture into writing classes, but it can be instructive to see disasters resulting from people applying sometimes simple-mindedly erroneous theories without any clear understanding of them.
Aug. 13th, 2004 12:53 am (UTC)
Calif. here I come
"So, by now you've probably heard that the California Supreme Court has declared the 4,000+ same-sex marriages from this spring legally null and void. I think we all knew this would happen. What's important is what happens next."

The scary thing is in Calif. you can legally register as Domestic Partners with the Secretary of State...you pay the same fee as a marriage license and receive back a 'suitable for framing' certificate, stating you are Domestic Partners. Currently you only gain the right to visit your 'partner' in hospital, but I've heard from friends who live there and are registered, that as of Jan 1, 2005, certain financial obligations might pass onot a surviving partner. It always comes down to $$$ doesn't it?
Aug. 13th, 2004 02:38 am (UTC)
The first place I heard about the shrub article was here:


The way the Texas project works is that any teacher, police officer, or city official can report you for 'mentally ill behavior' and the white suits will show up at your door for a test. The small tests they do in your living room, but if they think your ill, they will take you away for larger tests and observation. My brother has five kids and they all had to be checked out by a psychologist before they could attend public school. They were previously home-schooled. They all passed, but some of the kids around here don't.

One of my nephew's friends was rather rowdy and was diagnosed with ADD. The suits put him on Ritalin. Then he really started acting crazy. Cutting himself up, nausea, narcolepsy, etc. His mother looked up a few sites that list the dangers of Ritalin and pulled him off. He mentioned it to his friends and by the end of the day he was in state custody. His mother had to sign a paper that she would give him the medication, and she got him back. The local police show up when it's time for him to take the meds to keep track. She split for Canada a month ago and no one knows where either of them are at.
Aug. 13th, 2004 01:03 pm (UTC)
It's a good thing you don't want to talk about politics, Caitlin, because I'm so angry at my state's governor, Jim McGreevey, who's trying to make himself sound like a hero for coming out while hiding the facts.

1. He pushed his resignation date to November 15th. This means that the governor's job will not be on the ballot this year, and that a man not elected to the office will hold that office for 17 months.

2. The aide that is suing him for sexual harassment was originally hired to run Homeland Security issues for NJ, even though he wasn't qualified for the job and wasn't even a US citizen. Currently, NJ gets less Homeland Security funding per capita than Wyoming, even though we share a border with NY and have a publicly identified terrorist target in our state (the Prudential building in Newark). Had McGreevey hired a competent official in the first place, maybe firefighters in Newark would have had training to deal with terrorist attacks by now (they haven't).

Part of me wants to feel bad for this guy; he's losing his job, his family (his father was visibly angry on the podium yesterday), probably his children (his first wife took their daughter to Vancouver, and I can't wait to see what his second wife will get in the eventual divorce), and his reputation. He's probably very alone right now. But I voted for this guy, trusting that he would do the right things for New Jersey, and he hasn't at all. I'll vote Democrat in the next election, but I'll be a lot more careful in the primary.

OK, I'll shut up now.
( 10 comments — Have your say! )