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Messages - Jmack

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Writers' Corner / Re: Poems and Prose-Poetry here!
« on: January 14, 2018, 12:50:10 PM »
Another poem:

The unexamined life is mostly what I've got
So fuck you Socrates
Tell it to a sperm whale
Tell it to my feet walking
To Schroedinger’s Cat
To the dust of a distant disaster
that lights this sunrise

Spoiler for Hiden:
I need a different word than “lights”. The illogic of it interferes with the image. Hmm. But then, maybe that’s part of the point....

Writers' Corner / Totally not worth it’s own thread, but...
« on: January 14, 2018, 12:33:51 PM »
I couldn’t remember where to put a question like this.

Does anyone know the right words for the rope end or loop that lifted a door latch, and which could be pulled into the house if strangers weren’t welcome, or left dangling if they were?

I’ve read about this in the context of the pioneer days in the American West, for context.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Writers' progress
« on: January 14, 2018, 12:31:18 PM »
Stephen King is my perfect example. I read “Salem’s Lot”, was scared out of my knickers and completely swept away. Read a ton of King since, though nothing like his full catalog, and nothing of his has grabbed me again like that.

I find something similar with music. The first thing I hear from a new artist is revelatory. The next is a development from that, and (almost) never mind-blowing. Getting mind-blowing from a work further down in time is a wonderful thing. (Time relative to me, that is, I knew “Tommy” for years before I ever listened to “Quadrophenia.” Tommy precedes Q by a few years in time but by decades for me. Q = mindblown. T = ?meh?)

Writers' Corner / Re: Poems and Prose-Poetry here!
« on: January 14, 2018, 12:21:14 PM »
@ScarletBea: there’s two parts of truth in what you say. I have been in a more stressed and negative space the last while than I want to be. Regarding writing, poetry is, for me, a very different mode than fiction. I can approach my story writing with confidence and joy, when I’m not frustrated about the lack of time I have/make for it. Poetry brings out this self-absorbed, morose me that I dislike.

Which, @The Gem Cutter, moves toward the mood and notions underlying my poem. I remember in college acting class how we had to break into small groups and develop dramatic scenes to improvisation for the class. Invariably one group (at least once, mine) would do a dramatic scene about students unable to develop a dramatic scene.

When I write, it often rises from a single phrase or sentence, and I follow it to see where it leads. In this case, my poem led me to write about having nothing of any real consequence to day except for self-referential and self-pitying clap-trap.

Ironically, I like the poem.

Meanwhile, TGC, you have the right parsing of the second stanza. There is for me, also, a weight to the idea of drawing water/energy/meaning/creativity from a well. To draw up only words is to have only words and not the richness of them. Not their mission or their impact.

As far as the negative space on white, the image in my mind was of the paper being real (or the iPad screen) while the letters/words are subtractions. Not raised on the paper, but subtracted from it. I like the image though because it allows the reader her own space for understanding. Your connection to photographic negatives is lovely and unintentional on the part of the poet.

The word “deep” is not ringing true. The idea of scraping a brush against dried out paint is closer to what I was reaching for.

OMG, this is getting long.

But I want to say how much I admire Scott’s approach to poetry. I’m going to play with other paths as well as what comes most easily.

Just returned from a trip to Washington DC to visit my nephew and his gal. Had a great lunch, then visited the National Geographic Society museum. Saw a fascinating photo exhibit that communicated a great deal about the nature of animals, their individuality, and the need to treat them with respect. Especially hippos surfing in the ocean. And saw a 3D, interactive exhibit on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

There was a bookstore, too......

“Milk and Honey”, poetry by Rupi Kaur
“Barsk: The elephant’s graveyard”, a SF book
“Yiddish for Pirates”, a comic adventure related by a parrot

Which means I probably now have over 200 unread books  8)

Writers' Corner / Re: Poems and Prose-Poetry here!
« on: January 13, 2018, 11:40:40 PM »
I dip my figurative pen
Into the well
Of nothing to say

Or, words,
But only about myself
Negative space
On white

Writers' Corner / Re: Poems and Prose-Poetry here!
« on: January 13, 2018, 02:07:58 PM »
@Bradley Darewood and @The Gem Cutter:

I’m all in. And as much as I love SFF (or should it be FSF), I love words and our community interactions more.

Scott: I’m in awe. As usual I will be reading your poems aloud to others and bragging that I know you.
Bradley: Loved the prose poem. Talk about capturing a character and a conflict in a few words!

So, now I have to join in. Tomorrow or tonight  :)

Watched “Bright” last night on Netflix and had a great time. Incredibly unoriginal in so many ways, but so well done! Will Smith played this actor named Will Smith, I mean, played this cop who has an Orc partner. The Orcs are discriminated against because they sided with the Dark Lord 2,000 years ago. In one night they end up on the run from rogue cops, rogue magic-using dark elves, crazed gangs, and an Orc mafia.

A hoot.

@Eli_Freysson: I love it when you confirm my image of Icelandic education as something akin to constant inebriation. (But what a lovely story.)

@ScarletBea: I can totally see why that program would be riveting but disturbing. Just remember: you survived and you continue to survive by the grace of your doctors, your heart, and fortune/God/fish. Yes, the new normal. Until it’s not.

There is only one rule - the work must be entertaining. So sure - have spaceship sounds in space, swords of light that do not pass through each other, alien races with predictably identical personalities from one to another. It's all good - so long as it's good.
Hence The Rule of Cool and its cousins, which are to the arts what the Special Forces saying is to war: "If it works but it's stupid, it isn't stupid."

Quite off-topic, but I love the advertising motto: “it’s not creative if it doesn’t sell.”
Applied to writing, none of it matters if it doesn’t excite.

Writers' Corner / Re: Post-disaster first chapters
« on: January 09, 2018, 02:16:15 AM »
I love Gemmy’s Advice about developing the story more. I’ve read about authors who only understood where to start a story after they’d written much more than they might decide to put inside the “frame” of the book.

I’d say, stop worrying. I might even try writing the disaster itself, and then see how the post-disaster feels.

@Lady Ty:

I had a history teacher in the mid ‘70s who flew in the first.ying fortress bomber during the War. He would take a model of the plane and “fly” it around the room going “vrooooooom”! The most mild-mannered guy you’d ever meet. We called him Gunner Gus.

My wife’s uncle was with Patton at the end of the war, and helped to free at least one concentration camp. Up to a few years ago, the survivors of his company met for the occasional reunion. Another incredibly mild0mannered guy. (I realize I’ve mentioned him before.)

There’s an allure of the “good war”. Your father’s reticence is only one reminder that no wars are good, even if good can happen in and even, sort of, through them.

Jury duty was a bust. No one saved, no one punished.  >:(  ;)
They pleaded out before we ever saw the inside of the courtroom.

Which all to the good for getting home before the ice storm and getting back to work.

Yes, @Eli_Freysson, a quaint little ice storm  :P ;) ;D

Jury duty today.
Unsure if this will be hours of boredom or not.
Full report later.   ;)

Writers' Corner / Re: A breath of fresh air
« on: January 08, 2018, 11:51:52 AM »
Rascal, I'll go to your original question.  What would I consider to be fresh air?

I've been playing with the idea for a while of a story about the "unimportant" people living their lives at the edge of great events.  And rather than having one of them as the great hero hiding in a humble home, the great hero is almost off stage.  I think of this like the sample you give of Tolkien, where the magic is not big and bombastic, but just there.  So the great events are just there, and people still have to live their lives.

Not suggesting you use this for your Alchemists/Shapers revolution, but revolutions need common people.    Maybe someone stumbles into the middle of things, someone with no great power, and they have to figure out how to come out the other side with their skin and soul intact.

I think eclipse loves thread resurrection because he gets to see the big red warning box every time he posts...

I have the exact same sentiment-- I hate when it feels like the world just exists to serve the protagonist and all the unimportant people are... unimportant.  I have a theory about limited third person being a contributing factor in jingoistic megalomania/nationalist exceptionalism :)

I tried this with my first draft of my current WIP-- the heroes are on stage, but the main characters are not the heroes exactly. I didn't quite pull it off.  Many beta readers felt the side characters being way more interesting than my MC, that to make him interesting he needed to be good at something and have some agency.  So yeah there's probably a way to do it, but I wasn't successful.

The approach I think can work is to give the “unimportant” person a challenge and goal that are important to himand compelling to read about, while the big canvas stuff happens in the background or slams into his story in important and frustrating ways. So your MC has agency and is interesting while remaining “unimportant.” You can decided how adventuresome is the MC’s story, how relevant it is to the more global-level conflict, and how critical or just f-ing random are the collisions.

In one story I’ve been thinking about for... oh... 40 years... an innkeeper is trying to survive during the Seibert of his city. A prince of the kingdom is hiding in the city and finds his way to the inn. But the story remains about the innkeeper, and the prince comes in and out of the tale. The innkeeper never knows what’s really happening in the big events; that’s not his story. Until the Seibert and its horrors and conflicts slam into him. Still, he solves nothing large for the Seibert; the focus remains on his own struggles.

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