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Showing posts from March, 2017

Book Review: Selection from House of Stone

In my creative writing class we read a selection from House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid. In Chapter 9 “ Mr. Chaya Appears”, we are treated to a vivid rendering of a time and place that doesn’t exist the same way anymore. Shadid says of it, “in the time of the Levant there was freedom to savor the worlds of others” and that it was “a realm where imagination, artistry, and craftsmanship were not only appreciated but given free reign.” The story told in the selection is a quest to locate antique floor tiles which are routinely being stripped from houses that are being demolished. The author goes through a long process of hunting down and haggling over the original tiles, including some more ‘back alley’ routes. Eventually though he must resort to buying some handmade reproductions to stretch his supply. I found the mixing of the original richly patterned antiques with the plainer reproductions to be a very smart and practical decision, but …

Book Review - Three Tides - Part 2

I find it difficult to sum up the first chapter of Three Tides; Limping Through Europe. I think, to be honest, it’s mostly because of the jumping around through places and times. By the end of the chapter, the jumping makes some sense. You can see more clearly at that point the threads that run through, mentally, and tie the tales together. But during the read, I think it can seem confusing – though it didn’t help that I had a headache while trying to read the first half of the chapter.

Pineda tells about a trip through Europe, planned to attend a couple conferences, with the intervening weeks needing to be filled. Pineda fills those weeks by visiting old friends and seeing sites, most of which are places she has seen before and have meaning for her. More than once she notes that she has a feeling this might be the last time she gets to visit a certain beloved locale. But there is also, interspersed, tales from her childhood, about previous times she had been in one of the locations sh…

Book Review: Selection from Create Dangerously

In my creative writing class we are also reading selections from various other publications. This week our selection was Chapter 1 from Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat. In the chapter, she talks about certain parts of her Haitian background. She describes disturbing political incidents which occurred during the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier, particularly the executions of Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin. She explains the significance of the event for her by saying, "All artists, writers among them, have several stories - one might call them creation myths - that haunt and obsess them. This is one of mine."

She discusses, in depth, the chilling effect such times had on art, artists, and the sharing of stories. She describes a sort of cultural oppression that went hand in hand with the physical political tyranny of the regime. On oppression which vilified such accepted classics as Camus and Sophocles. She talks about how plays would be put …

Book Review - Three Tides - Part 1

In the Creative Writing class I'm taking at the moment We've just started reading Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being by Cecile Pineda. I decided I'd review it, serially, as we read it. This week, we read the Introduction and Forward only.

So far, Pineda has described her writing process as encompassing 3 basic parts: Emptying, Gathering, and Making Something. She apparently intends to expound on these concepts in the ensuing sections, mostly, or partly, through memoir, I believe. Certain phrases stood out enough for me to highlight them, mostly because I loved them. 

Phrases like, "No one can teach anyone how to write. Someone can teach you how to spell ..." "Writing takes forgiveness ... At first, it just needs to be allowed to do what it's doing ..." and "The how of what artists do is never easily explained. Even artists themselves find the alchemy of their art inexplicable." stand out as some of my favorites.




Upcoming Review: 3 Paid Promotion Services I'm Trying

In a bid to get some eyes on my new book, Freaky Shitty Things, and Men I decided to try a few of the paid promotional sites I've encountered online. I chose these three on the basis of liking the services they offered and the prices they were asking. Seeing as how I am just dipping my toe in with paying for promotional services I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg.

Digital Book Today | Promote My New Free Book program - I'll be having a free weekend soon on Amazon. So, this seemed like a good thing to try to get some attention during that time frame. They have an option for promoting your book if it's a certain length and has a certain number of reviews on Amazon, but I didn't meet either requirement, so I did THIS VERSION. Cost: $15 - I will let you know how it goes after the promo is over. Books & the Bear | Social Media Promotion - It's a basic social media blast, designed and implemented by them, and sent to their audience of 210,000+. Average clicks…

Book Review: You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)

I downloaded You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins on Audible the other day while battling a cold. Topics covered in the book include the motivational (picking yourself and not waiting for someone's permission to call yourself a writer) to the practical (the importance of building a platform and a brand). While I admit some of this was just common sense, some of it was genuinely new and helpful information for a self-publishing newbie like myself. And even the parts which weren't particularly revelatory, were still important on the level of reinforcement. Sometimes it helps just to be given that "just do it" pep talk one more time. I can't say that I would turn evangelist over this book, but I would definitely recommend it.