Out the Window

Hurricane Andrew was easily one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I had only just moved to Orlando, Florida and found an apartment when it rolled right through town. Over the next 4 years, hurricane season in Florida was something of a let-down after the sheer awe-inspiring force of nature that was Andrew introducing me to my first storm season.

 

Out the Window

Ebon storm clouds advance

Across an azure canvas

 

Perilous beauty.

Where Have All the Good Authors Gone?

No offense to Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins or E.L. James, but I really wish someone would come along and create a literary phenomenon that was so big, it simply wiped them from the map of literary discussions. I am getting sick and tired of hearing about the repressed sexual anxieties of Bella Swan, the emotionally wishy-washy, child-slaughtering Katniss, and the sadistic woman-beater Christian Grey and his brain-dead punching bag of a wife Anastasia. Just listing the characters I feel like I need to scrub my brain with bleach. I feel dumber now than I did five minutes ago just for realizing that I’ve spent enough time with the material to actually know such details. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have read the Meyer books, the Collins books, and the first James book. I will not be reading the second and third – my brain can only handle so much abuse.)

I mean, Harry Potter may not be the most exquisitely written works of English literature, but at least they are infinitely more readable and enduring than 50 Shades of Hungry Eclipse Games. I considered using this entry to actually explain how far the world of literary excitement seems to have fallen, but a fellow blogger, Alice, has already spent many, many pages on demonstrating just how bad things have gotten. For those who love witty snark, you should really get over there and check it out. She does a much better job of deconstructing the insanity than I ever could.

Anyway, I’m off to go find some more vintage Bradbury or early King (whose novellas are incredible). Maybe reading enough well-written literature will help to sooth the scars inflicted upon my brain from all the scrubbing I had to do after reading E.L. James.

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year everyone!

Oh writer’s block, how I’ve missed you. (Not really.) It seems like it was only last week that we parted ways. (More like yesterday.) But you just keep coming back for more abuse and punishment. Don’t you know by now that I will not be daunted by you? (Except for the fact, that I haven’t written any of the stuff that actually needs writing.)

It’s amazing how I can sit at my desk with no specific purpose and type out page after page of material each day, but when it comes to an actual specific project, I can’t seem to get beyond a few lame sentences. Maybe it’s the pressure of the competition. Or maybe it’s simply that I need to start finding new approaches. Whatever it is though, I need to get with the programme and figure it out. I have my fiction writing portfolio coming up in May, and my composition needs to be polished to perfection. The number of students accepted to move on in the programme at school is a relatively small one. So I can’t afford to louse this up.

Bugger. Here I sit, trying to decide what in the world I should write to present to the committee. The problem isn’t in a lack of ideas. The problem is in a lack of ideas that produce what the committee considers acceptable work. But then I start to overthink things and get sidetracked. Either I develop a wonderful idea that is simply too long to present, or I wind up slipping back into the old dilemma of wondering how to please committee members that are less interested in good, entertaining  writing than they are about a writer’s ability to follow a set formula.

One thing I have been considering for this blog is to try my hand at a serial piece. I’ve been considering picking one day out of the week and making that the day for posting an on-going serial novel. I feel that trying to tackle such a project might help me. If nothing else, it will get me in the habit of writing to a deadline that is more immediate than most I am used to. Not only that, writing such a serialization will get me in the habit of writing shorter pieces, something that I am in considerable need of practicing if I intend to have any hope in moving forward in the Creative Writing Programme at school.

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, it seems to me there is no time like the present. Such a project will give an intellectual and creative goal to match my physical one. Only a year ago I was fit and at least somewhat trim. Now I feel like and am starting to look like a sumo wrestler. This is simply unacceptable. So it’s a New Year’s double-shot; not so much a resolution as much as simply a new programme of study. While I’m re-honing and toning my body, I will be doing the same for my creative mind. Sundays will be my weekly check-in. Starting next Sunday will be part one of my new serial novel. This should be interesting.

When a Word – Isn’t

Every once in a while I find myself being surprised at the simplest things. Here I was, sitting down to write tonight’s blog when the squiggly red line jumped up beneath one of my words, mocking my lack of a complete mastery of English spelling conventions. Grimacing, I did what most people would do. I right-clicked the offending word expecting the haughty, all-knowing dictionary within MS Word to correct my misconception. But then, nothing happened. No suggestions popped up. Huh. Well then, maybe my spelling isn’t as bad as the dictionary was hoping. Maybe I had found yet another word missing from that glorious database of words that has saved innumerable college term papers from failing marks. So, not to do things by half measures, I decided I best make sure my spelling was correct still. Maybe, the way I was spelling the word was so far from the real thing that the spell checker simply had no idea what I was getting at.

I take my writing seriously. I’m rather proud of my spelling prowess. So when I come across a case like this, I don’t mess around. I go right to the definitive source, one of my favourite “books”, the Oxford English Dictionary. Surely this bastion of linguistic knowledge would comfort me. This, pinnacle of vocabulary authority would surely confirm my spelling and score yet another victory for the literary mind over the not-insubstantial, (in fact, quite impressive) spell-checker. Except, well, it didn’t. It wasn’t that I had misspelled my word, it simply wasn’t there. I checked by spelling. I checked by root word. I even checked in the thesaurus and (silly me) I even consulted another dictionary! Nope. So there I sat. Stumped.

Huh. Go figure. I did a quick search using ye olde Google. Sure enough, I found the word used in all sorts of titles and sentences. I asked around with others. Yup, they knew what the word meant. But according to the experts, those linguistic professors that are the Popes of the English vocabulary, it isn’t. So there you have it. Epiphanal is not a word.

Epiphanal: adj. Marked by the presence of epiphany. “He had an epiphanal moment.”

Epiphanic is a word. Though, to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I actually ever heard the word used. I know that its meaning is similar to the one I had in mind for epiphanal. But in all honesty, outside of literary theory, I’m not sure I have ever heard it used. Huh. How about that?

So here I sit, having what is apparently not, as I had thought, an epiphanal moment. Perhaps I am having an epiphanic moment. Or maybe it’s just a moment of stark clarity and depressing realization all rolled into one. But more on that later. I have laundry to finish.