Archive for ‘Writing’

Friday, July 18, 2014

This is What it Feels Like

by Leanne Yong

Tartan surfacing on athletics track

This is what it’s like to be ‘strong’ and ‘confident’ and ‘capable’.

I am in a runaway car hurtling down a road. The accelerator is stuck to the floor, and the brake is loose beneath my desperately pounding foot. My hands are tight around the steering wheel. It presses against my sweaty palms as I jerk it one way, then the other, praying my grip doesn’t slip and I careen into a pole, or a barrier, or heaven forbid, another car.

All I want to do is close my eyes and scream. I wish I could. But I have passengers in my car. They hold on tight, grit their teeth, and tell me what an amazing driver I am. They how glad they are that I’m behind the wheel. All I can think of is the impending crash, the high-pitched sound of tearing metal, the car and the passengers in a jumbled, screaming cacophony.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Cycle

by Neil Fein

Hardcover book gutter and pages

How can I improve my writing? It’s a common question. There are a few things you can do:

Reading

Reading and writing is a cultural conversation. People write books to say something. Other people read those books and a few of those write books in return.

As has been pointed out many times, you should read. You want to write books and stories and contribute to the cultural conversation? That’s great! Read a variety of books in different genres, from different eras. Pay attention to what you’ve read, internalize it. This is exactly how native speakers learn the language.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Beautiful Trap of Belzhar

by donnaleemiele

Project 50 - Day #1 (Moleskine)

Meg Wolitzer is revealing herself to be a terrifically nimble, as well as prolific author. Since 2011 she’s published The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, an acclaimed middle-grade novel, and The Uncoupling and The Interestings, both for adults, following a career that’s spanned over thirty years so far. Forthcoming in September 2014 is Belzhar, Wolitzer’s foray into the young adult world, a novel that explores the boundaries of physical and emotional reality.

Why a young adult novel following the success of The Interestings? That was my one question to the author as I stepped up to have my advance copy of Belzhar signed at Book Expo this summer. “I was inspired by John Green’s Looking for Alaska,” she said, not offering further explanation, obviously knowing that I would now tear into Belzhar the moment I got home and not stop reading until I discovered what, exactly, she meant. I was not disappointed to find that Belzhar delves into the difficult territory of teenaged mental illness and grief. The novel is also fueled by the budding beauty of young humans finding themselves through relationships with others.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Boys and Girls

by Sara Goas

Notepad Art

If I ever have a second baby, I hope I’ll have the patience not to find out ahead of time whether it’s a boy or a girl. Team Green, as they call it these days.

You see, when my husband and I found out two years ago that we were expecting, we were only too happy to share with friends and family that we were having a boy. What followed was a barrage of blue teddy bears, football onesies, and statements like: “No tea parties in your future” and “Boys are awesome… but your house is going to be dirty.”

One older male relative said that he couldn’t wait to teach the new baby how to kick a soccer ball. I nodded politely and added that for my part, I couldn’t wait to read a book with my son. To which Older Male Relative smiled and sadly replied, “You’re having a boy. He might not like that.”

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reaching Out in Melbourne

by ednatru

Melbourne, Australia :: Webb Bridge

Written by Edna Truong.


There are so many communities, groups and other individuals out there to support writers, and all you really need to do is reach out and know where to look. Writing can be a lonesome task, but it doesn’t have to be. Not all the time.

Melbourne, dubbed one of the Cities of Literature by UNESCO, is where I call home. Upholding its title, the city stages many national writer events, conventions, and competitions. It’s also home to many organisations, groups and associations, as well as writers from across a range of platforms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What’s With All the “Giver” Hate?

by Sara Goas

Abandoned

On my first day of school last year, the students in one of my all-boys classes asked if we would be reading The Giver.

Published in 1993, The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of my all-time favorite books as a teenager. I read it in eighth grade, and then again in high school, and then again whenever I had some downtime during my college years. I’d been delighted to learn, upon taking my first middle school job, that The Giver was part of the curriculum for my seventh grade students.

So when the boys started asking about the book, I mistook their curiosity for literary enthusiasm and broke from my first-day script to tell them yes.

They erupted in groans. “Do we have to read it? The kids who read it last year said it was really bad.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

Radio Dreams

by ednatru

Radio

Written by Edna Truong.


My tutor asked, “has anyone heard a radio drama before?” The room was hushed, eyes darted left and right, then downwards. Only a handful nodded their heads. I sat with my eyes wide open, eager for the tutor to explain further. Of course, I belonged to the majority of those puzzled, staring students who did not know a jot about what that question meant. The tutor smiled, almost mischievously, and nodded knowingly, like he had expected our reactions. He talked about the decline of radio and its potential for growth in the creative industry. He pulled out a neatly stapled wedge of paper.

“Our next assignment will be to write a radio drama script. I’ll play a few as examples.” For the next ten minutes or so we sat in our seats and listened. One of them was a fictional story set in ancient Samarkand. I was truly and utterly intrigued. Laugh if you like, but I’d never come across anything like this before. I hadn’t even known radio dramas existed up till then. I screamed in my head: What have I been missing out on?

That was three years ago.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Life Lessons (and Lesson Plans)

by Sara Goas

Classroom

As of June 19th of this year, I am no longer a teacher.

I have been a professional educator for seven and half years. Now I have no classroom and no current contract. And this isn’t just a matter of summer vacation either; I have no job to go back to in the fall, and no plans to look for one. I have no professional plans at all right now, in fact. And this is terrifying because, back when I was a teacher, planning was what I did. Planning was my secret weapon.

I chose to walk away from my current teaching job because I want to take some time to focus on my family and my son. This is, after all, what I told my supervisor and my students when it was time to explain that I would not be returning the following year.

My supervisor, a mother herself, tried to be supportive. “I know that you will eventually have a long and full career,” she said, shaking my hand. “You, my dear, are an English teacher.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

One of the Cool Kids

by Leanne Yong

drinking water

When I was at school, I never wanted to be one of the cool kids. I simply didn’t care. I had my group of friends, and that was enough. We were the ones who hung out in the library or raced straight to the computer labs at lunch. We were the ones who did the after school activities like building Lego robots or doing advanced maths. On our last day at school, when the graduating class is allowed to get away with pranks, we were the ones putting up signs on the water fountains saying “Beware of Dihydrogen Monoxide contamination!”

Sure, there were the people I admired–authors, artists, and so on–but it was more that I appreciated their work than the actual person. But I can confidently say that no, I never truly felt any compulsion to change who I was and what I loved because I wanted to impress someone or be friends with them.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Failing Loud and Proud

by Leanne Yong

Day 61 / 365 - Writing Scathing Notes

I attended a panel at a writers’ festival today, and I heard something that really struck a chord with me.

“Don’t compare yourself to other writers,” one of the panelists said. “In this age of social media, where everyone celebrates their successes publicly, it’s easy to just see those. No one blogs about their failures, only their successes.”

In light of that, I want to write about my failures. I want to make them public, celebrate them, let everyone know that yes, it happens.

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