Creepy Writers

Orson Scott Card gives me the creeps.  But Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books.  What to do?!?

Back in my immature, naïvely intolerant youth, when an aspect of an author’s personal life offended me, I stopped reading that author.  Thankfully I’ve grown up and can see that the pleasure I get from reading a book is entirely my own and has nothing to do with the author.

Recently, DC hired Card to write some new Superman stories for an online comic book.  Card’s backwards-minded politics angered members of the LGBT community who requested DC remove him from the project.  DC responded: “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.” (Source: USAToday)

I applaud DC’s decision to keep him on the project.  Orson Scott Card is an idiot with his personal politics, but he is still an imaginative, creative and prolific writer. (Of course – the project is on hold at the moment because DC can’t find an artist willing to work with Card – which makes me laugh.)

I firmly believe that once a creator has created something, and released it to the world, his association with it is over. Done. Complete.  And yes, I will spend money on it.  I am paying for the pleasure I receive from the book, and as compensation to the author and the editor and the publishing company for their efforts.

On the other hand….   In my recent attempts to re-read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, I ran into a problem.  The creepy relationships between old men and young women and the constant discussions of sex and free love make the book completely unreadable by modern audiences.  The author’s personality and politics are so tightly weaved through the narrative, it is impossible to separate creator from creation.

Card may go down in history as a man with bad politics but he will still be thought of as a great writer.  Heinlein will only be remembered as a creepy sex addict.

Something to keep in the back of my mind as I write…  I must make sure my creation has its own voice, a life of its own, separate from me.  To do otherwise is to risk a creation that will only appeal to people who think exactly the way I do. And that would make for a very small audience.

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/daily-prompt-art-appreciation/

Cover of "Ender's Game (Ender Quartet)"
Good Book, Creepy Author
Stranger in a Strange Land cover
Creepy Book, Creepy Author

Wake Me When It’s Over

Spring for You is not Spring for Me

You Revel in the scents of Flowers, while I Sneeze

You raise your naked Face to the lengthened Light of the Sun, while I Hide beneath a coating of SPF 100

You point out the Beauty and Rebirth of every new Leaf and Bud, while I wallow in the Pain of a thousand pollen Needles embedded in my Sinuses

Spring for you is Not spring for me

I clutch my Wheezing chest and squeeze tight my Watering eyes

Wake me when Winter is come

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Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica) - geograph.org....
Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica) – geograph.org.uk – 1439272 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Poetry Writing Month is nearly at at end. To celebrate it, try your hand at some verse.

Re-Re-Read

English: Illustration by Hugh Thomson to Jane ...
Illustration by Hugh Thomson to Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, ca. 1894. Mr Collins protesting he never reads novels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revisiting a beloved book is like going home after a long journey.  My own life experiences in the interim color the familiar words on the pages, reanimating and enlivening the familiar descriptions and characterizations.

I know these characters and I miss them if I am gone too long.  Yes, the journey they take never varies, and yes, I know it all turns out well in the end, but that does not in any way diminish my enjoyment of the shared experience.

Lizzie Bennet always ends up with Darcy, but that knowledge, knowledge that Jane Austen had herself by the way, only makes her harsh treatment of him in the beginning of the book more amusing.

In Dave Duncan’s A Man of his Word series, the main characters end up happy and healthy and even married at the end of the fourth book.  The trials and tribulations they encounter prior to that resolution define the people they become.

It is like thinking back on your own life and remembering the decisions and choices that lead you to where you are now.  With hindsight, it is easy to see why you did what you did, even if at the time your lack of full knowledge hampered your decision-making process.  In re-reading a well-known story, I can see, with further clarity each time, how the writer crafted the hurdles to form the characters final incarnations, just as I can see how the person I am now is directly correlated to the person I was then.  By analyzing and revisiting the past, we learn and practice for the future.

However, the best reason for re-reading a book I love is to learn how to write like that too.  Many manuals on the writing process advise wannabe’s to copy passages of writing they admire, to learn how the authors did what they did.  Re-reading these books has taught me that the writing I admire most focuses on character development.  And I think you will find in my writing an emphasis on character, perhaps to the detriment of setting or scene.

When I re-read my work, after time apart from it, I want to feel the same sort of familiarity laced with new revelations that I admire so often in other’s works.  Maybe by reading Pride and Prejudice for the billionth time – something of Jane Austen’s incredible characterization skill will finally sink in.

Reinventing Myself… Again

Hello World,

I’m starting a new adventure, would you like to join me?  I found this magical world near my home where, for a small fee (averages out to $15 dollars a day for desk space and internet access and coffee. Cheaper than an afternoon at Starbucks) I can pretend to have a job.  A nine-to-five job with co-workers and a lunch room.  But NO BOSS.  So if I want to spend the whole time just surfing the web I can, or if I want to write ridiculous fiction, I can do that too, or I could do work that I’m actually getting paid to do.  Anything goes.

You are wondering, I suppose, why I wouldn’t just do this at home, as I have done for the past ten years of my life.  Well, being home alone and working in your pajamas (or less, depending on the weather) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  First of all it is Lonely.  While I don’t enjoy being in huge crowds of strangers, I do tend to lean more towards the extrovert side of the spectrum.   And frankly, after too much time alone, I start to go a little crazy.  My boyfriend has no problem with that life.  He hides out in his studio all day long, surviving on cigarettes and coffee with no human interaction at all – unless you count listening to books on Audible.  While he is very tolerant of my frequent interruptions, I feel like a bored little kid, stuck in the middle of summer vacation, whining about having nothing to do.

lonely
lonely (Photo credit: Vermario)

Today is my first day at the ‘office’ as I will choose to call it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ve already had three short, friendly conversations with my ‘coworkers,’ got a tour of the kitchen and the coffeemaker, and I’m having no issues concentrating amid the background noise of ‘other people’s business.’  So far so good.

I see some very productive days ahead…

What do you think of my idea to pay money to work away from home? Is it the way of the future, or is it a waste of money?

I hope to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

P.S. I started a new page called Feed Me (see the tab above) where I am going to start recording all the things I watch or read or listen to during the day that move or inspire or amuse me.  Since I do spend so much time ‘surfing,’ I’ve had a few friends ask me to help them find all the really interesting stuff that exists out there…

Back In The Saddle Again

Forgive me WordPressians for I haven’t written a word.  It has been 12 days since my last post.

Wow, this is hard to start.

I went off to work twelve days ago and returned yesterday. I thought I would spend all of today catching up on my WordPress reading and writing. But I am only now (at 6 pm) sitting down at the computer.

No, I wasn’t busy, not any more than usual.  I have plenty of things to talk about, so that isn’t the problem.

I am out of practice.

It might take 30 days to make a habit, but apparently not nearly that long to fall out of one.

I forget why I thought I was good at this.

Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.