Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Computer Viruses and a Stolen Guitar

Yay, I battled a nasty computer virus and won! Seriously, this thing was not going anywhere. It's called Skynet (Yes, it's named after the fictitious organization in Terminator.) It would sit on everything we opened and sloooowwwwitdownnnnn. Plus it kept inviting it's annoying friend viruses over to mess up the place. We bought and downloaded Spyware Doctor, which we read can get rid of this particular menace. No luck. I tried working with one of their online helping geek guys. We read all kinds of posts about getting rid of this thing. Finally, I went to the Microsoft website and used their Windows Live One Care Safety Scanner and it took care of it. (knock-on-wood)

My wayward daughter popped in unexpectedly with her boyfriend whom I call Bane. She said they were just picking up a few things. Well, one of the things they picked up was MY GUITAR! Jeez! They swiped my guitar. What's up with that?!?!

Okay, back to rewriting (aka- jabbing, poking, beating the heck out of) chapter 37.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I gots me first rejection letter today. I expect I'll get one for every query I send out, if I'm lucky. Apparently not all agents send them. They just toss your letter (or email) into the rubbish bin and get on with their day.

Even though it was expected, it's hard not to take it personally. It's not unlike watching your kid left out of the game the other kids are playing. My characters have been hanging around in my brain for almost a year now and now they've been officially rejected.

A while back I read an article about every basement needing a first novel. I don't have a basement, but I suppose a garage will do.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Query, Hubris, and Humility

I sent two query emails to two separate agents. Then I said to myself, "Now just sit back and wait 'til the rejections come in. Then you'll be a real writer." :p

Then I got a reply from one of them. My heart practically beat itself right out of my chest. Visions of an ecstatic agent flashed before my eyes eager to read my ms.

I clicked on it and guess what. Just a form note sent automatically saying she can't wait to read it and she may or may not get back to me within six weeks.

Plunk! My heart dropped to my knees.
Guess I have a bit of hubris on my nose that needs scraping off.

So, I decided it's time to read the Litany of Humility .

Lime Ridge Walk





















The girls and I went up to Lime Ridge this morning. Golly, it grew hot early. Here are a few of the pictures we took. Someday somebody will have to teach me how to lay the photos out in my blog more artistically. They seem to just plop hither, thither, and yon.










Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fantasy

My friend Randy brought an article to my attention:
Why Fantasy and Why Now by R. Scott Bakker

We commented back and forth a bit on my last post, but I had a lot to say on the subject (surprise surprise) so I thought I'd take it to a new post.

Mr. Bakker seems to be mainly talking about fantasy written since the Enlightenment period, but there's been fantasy prior to that. But I do agree with his comment about wish fulfillment in a modern scientific society and defining good and evil. Science can't do that.
While science can tell us the "what" about nature (meaning life, the universe, and everything), it doesn't tell us the "why."

I don't agree that fantasy is a rival or even a companion of religion, at least not in the sense he means. Fantasy, I think, comments about human nature, human culture, and how to rise above those things. It allows us to stand apart from our real world (by substituting a fantasy world) so that we can see and evaluate as an outsider. The struggles depicted in fantasy stories are basically the same struggles in real life, but they are filled with symbols or archetypes that stand for real things.

You can view a fantasy novel as a model for a real struggle. You can study it, learn from it, be inspired by it and take that experience into your real life. And because it's all symbolic, it's a model that can work for many people who lead vastly different lives. This is the reason myths and legends are so readily passed down through time and from place to place.

For more on this topic, I recommend Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories" and Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With A Thousand Faces."

Monday, June 8, 2009

My sister gave me Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water. I can't say I dived right into the book, favoring escapism rather than philosophy lately. But I did fall in one day and I've not been able to claw my way out. It's now joined the precious troop of books who bare the marks of my devotion. That is, it's full of pencil scribblings.

Yes, dear friends, I write in books. I underline, write brief comments, list favorite page numbers with notes in the back. I should be an index writer. (Indiceographer?)

But back to Walking on Water- It's about writing (as well as other art forms) and about Christianity. She seems to see all art as Christian art. I get where she's coming from. God is the author of all things, therefore He is reflected in all things. I am reminded of From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics by Louis Markos. He writes that "pre-Christians and non-Christian pagans are capable of perceiving, at least in embryonic form, some of the truths revealed in Christ."

Or is it merely a matter of the eye of the beholder? When I was a Lit. major I could pull symbolism off the ingredient list on the back of a cereal box. Now that I'm writing a novel, I see parallels to my story all around me. (I've also spotted more than one of my characters on the street. It's true. I'm not crazy.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why a Fortnight of Mustard?

For reasons I will not mention, I'm relocating to a new blog. I hope it won't be bombarded by insults from a certain bane that recently entered my sanctuary. I cross my fingers that certain somebodies won't even be aware of the existence of A Fortnight of Mustard.

Why "A Fortnight of Mustard"?
It's merely a random pairing of words within eye-shot of my computer, but it's adopted a meaning. Or perhaps I've discovered the meaning. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. (I don't recall the verbatim Bible quote.)

Then my sister gave me a ball of mustard-colored yarn. "Knit a prayer," she said. And so I begin. Perhaps it'll take a fortnight to come to fruition.
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