Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

Goodness me, I am chatty today.

Report: White House Knew About Levees. And while we're at it, Ex-FEMA Chief Shifts Katrina Blame to DHS. Of course he does.

A couple of interesting questions on Neil Gaiman's blog--interesting because it involves a skewed way of thinking that I see a lot:
1. Hi Neil, I just got rejected from a creative writing class at my college and wanted to know--has this, or anything similar, ever happened to you? I have this rather strong conviction that I am a writer, but if I can't so much as make it into a class, I'm not sure if I've got much hope of ever being published.

2. Anyway, with my writing, it's just seemed like one thing after another, and I have no one to give me input on any of it since I, quite literally, come from a family of engineers, all very concrete thinkers. My question is this: when do you just give up? I don't want to but it seems like the only logical thing to do. I'm so tired and frustrated with being deemed a failure. The one week I was actually able to give up writing was the most miserable week of my life.
Here's the thing, the thing that I think a lot of people (including me) often forget in their mad rush towards publication, validation, and hopefully filthy riches: No one can stop you from writing. If you have paper or a keyboard, you are in business. And if you want to write, you should write, and you should write for yourself, the things that you want to read and the stories that you want to tell, no matter what anyone else wants or tells you. Yes, there is a point in the crafting of a narrative where you do have to start taking an audience's needs into account, but if you're not writing for yourself first, because you want to and you need to, I'm not sure what the point is. If you say only, "I want to be a writer," rather than "I want to write," you're very likely doomed. There is no be, as it were--there is only do, and then you are. Getting into a class is only important if you need it for a degree; you can look for constructive criticism elsewhere (although yes, workshop classes can be helpful. But being kept out of one is not a death sentence). If you are not willing to toil in obscurity, to keep writing because you just love words and story that much, it may be time for you to quit anyway. So stop worrying about if you are a writer and who will let you be a writer and just sit down and write. And eventually you will write something that sticks with other people.

Trust me, I say this as someone who has been writing for more than twenty years (I think my first story was about a bunch of worms trying to escape a bait can. No, I have no idea where I got this from. I was six, and it was about ten sentences), and has written a lot of crap. I mean a lot of crap. Entire novels full of crap; reams of crap revised sixteen times over and diligently printed out and sent to embarrassingly large publishing houses and returned with polite form rejections. I think I just got started a lot earlier than most people, so I got most of my crap out of the way sooner. And I never doubted for one second that I was a writer, because it was all I could think about doing. By the time I was in second, third, fourth grade, I had this thing I liked to do where I'd write out my stories on notebook paper (college rule more closely approximated the look of lines in a real book than wide rule) and insert illustrations on typing paper and put them in a three-brad folder and paste an illustrated sheet of typing paper on the front, like a book cover. The folders with pockets were handy, because you could put the rough drafts in there. Granted, I used a lot of books I read as training wheels--half my stories inevitably sounded a lot like real books, only with the names changed and new! different! adventures. When you're eight and working in crayon, you can do that. And fortunately, I had the good sense, or the shame, or something, to branch further and further away from actual theft as I grew older. And I did write stories that were wholly my own as well. And I never doubted that I was a writer because it's what I did, not something people told me I could or could not be. There are things I have worked on for years upon years that no one's ever seen because I didn't think they were ready yet--they hadn't moved beyond the stage of pleasure-writing yet. And if you're not writing for pleasure, and then releasing the stories that become good enough into the wild, I don't know how you're going to hack the frustrations along the way.

Not that anyone asked me, of course.

Miss out on the imp sale last week? sunshine95 (who I can vouch for) is having one now. Fly, my pretties!

A few Lost things:

1) Hey, is this the tie-in novel they talked about selling? ("In the spring, Disney-owned Hyperion Books will publish its second Lost book, a novel written by the passenger who got sucked into the engine in the pilot. The passenger, Gary Troupe, had e-mailed a manuscript to his publisher, and another copy will be found on the island, Lindelof said. Who actually wrote the book won't be revealed.")

("Bad Twin"? That's the best they can come up with?)

2) Look at the book in Locke's hand. It's either a big ol' giant clue or a total fakeout. (Damn, Wikipedia has already catalogued its appearance in the entry for the story. And while we're there: has this been referenced on the show yet? Because I have a feeling it will be if it hasn't already.)

3) justjayj: "There's nothing like scarring your kids' psyches with your own fandom. My boyfriend's sister and her husband have nicknamed their new baby 'Turniphead.' I felt compelled to crochet about it." Now, that is just ridiculously cute.

4) Catch the extended version of the "Addicted to Lost" video that aired in the Super Bowl! Thank you, incredibly enthusiastic ABC email!

Ken and Barbie to get back together.
Thus the Ken and Barbie drama, which Mattel hopes will reignite interest in the brand. In February 2004, as every 5-year-old knows, Ken and Barbie called it quits. According to Mattel, which says it relies on customer feedback on its Web site to shape the Barbie-Ken narrative, Barbie was wooed away by an Australian surfer named Blaine.
Okay, number one: anyone who thought a doll named Blaine was going to do well needs to be fired.
Ken, heartbroken, traveled the world in search of himself, making stops in Europe and the Middle East, dabbling in Buddhism and Catholicism, teaching himself to cook and slowly weaning himself off a beach bum life.
Problem number two: when I played with Barbies, I loved to make up my own bizarro soap operas (cotton balls under a doll shirt = instant pregnancy. Crystal, the evil Barbie, would then try to send the good Barbie--I may have called her Kimberly, I'm not sure--and her yellow Corvette hurtling down the stairs. Yeah, that's right. Yellow Corvette. That's how old-school I am. None of that wall-to-wall pink shit for us, hell no). You are forcing way too much pre-written plot on these kids, which leaves them no reason to actually play with the dolls themselves, and moreover, it's not even a kid-friendly plot--it's a world-weary yuppie one.
Gone are Ken's outdated swimming trunks and dull T-shirts. Ken's new wardrobe will include cargo pants, a fitted suit with peak lapels and a motorcycle jacket. A facial resculpting, as Mattel calls it — Ken's first in more than a decade — will give him a more defined nose and a softer mouth.

"It's Matthew McConaughey meets Orlando Bloom," [new Barbie stylist Philip] Bloch said in an interview.
*facepalm* People, you are way behind the times. No one cares about Matthew McConaughey anymore, least of all little girls. Orlando Bloom is at least closer to the mark, and if this were 2003, I'd say you were genius. But it's a cold, cold, post-Elizabethtown world, and you're not. Seriously, you need to go focus-group a bunch of little girls and ask them who they think is cute. I mean, do with that information what you will--use it, trash it--but for God's sake, Matthew McConaughey? At least if you'd said "Justin Timberlake," you'd be in the right age group and I could accuse you of living in 2004.

(Why yes, I would consult for food, thanks for asking.)

Speaking of dolls: Another doll from my favorite repaint artist.

Students' Drinking Reported in Blogs. Coincidentally, my first glimpse of the internet was at a summer internship right after I had graduated high school, which means that I handily escaped ever making an idiot of myself on the intarwebs as a minor. 

Another literary sting, as reported by Making Light. A scam literary agency with more heads than a hydra (The Children’s Literary Agency! The New York Literary Agency! The Christian Literary Agency! The Poet’s Literary Agen--STOP LAUGHING!) opens a new branch, the Screenplay Agency. Enter an army of pissed-off screenwriters and their sockpuppets, submitting ringer scripts that no one would accept... and yet, the Screenplay Agency does. (“WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THIRTEEN TWELVE YEAROLDS FIND A RED BIKE AND A MYSTIC CRYSTAL OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL DOORS ONE DAY? AN DAVENTURE OF MISTICAL PROPORTIONS!” A positive review, is what. I shit you not.)

Warren Ellis needs a woman's touch for his new comic. Or rather, many, many women's touches. Far more empowering than it sounds.

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Tags: barbie, best of, blogs, bpal, dolls, katrina, lost, neil gaiman, new orleans, the secret life of dolls, writing

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