Saturday Show and Tell – a showcase of things each week that lit up my brain and fired my imagination. Enjoy!
I had a setback with my book, Ferals & Blights. After reading several essays on white writers including diversity in their characters, I realized that despite trying hard to avoid pitfalls, I had stumbled into one. As it was originally written, my book contained a subjected race saved by a character from the oppressive race. That’s not what I wanted to say, but somehow that’s what came out of my subconscious.
I cried a bit and wallowed in my fear of failure, and then the next day got back to work. I rewrote the last five chapters and fixed it. I’m not sure the new ending resonates the way the first one did, but like being attracted to ‘bad boys’, I’m not sure I trust my own instincts anymore. I am continuing to edit from first to last, and I have a call out to beta-readers on critters.org. That will give me time and space from the new ending, and when I get there in the process, I’ll be a better judge of how it plays out.
A thank you to all who offered me support online when I realized I’d need to rewrite. It made a difference in my ability to move forward!
In better news, I sent out January’s Patreon poetry postcards! I had a bit of trouble with ink smudging, but learned from it, so February should go more smoothly. The poem was a long one, and it was a trick to fit it on, but I wanted to be sure the patrons were happy with their first one. Overall, the experience felt right & was what I was hoping for when I started it.
As I shared last time, my reading habits are changing in 2017 to longer works and re-reads of favorites. That brings me to The Showing –
Deathless by Catherynne Valente
Chapter Four – Likho Never Sleeps may be my favorite chapter in a book ever. Ms. Valente gave me nightmares with her creepy and powerful portrayal of the widow next door. When I was about ten, I was expected to visit an elderly woman every day who lived in the tiny attic apartment at the tippy-top of our complex. It was dark up there, the stairs narrowed and sharpened as you went higher, and Mrs. L was all skin and bones. I was convinced she was a witch, but I was always on the lookout for witches so that’s not surprising. This chapter is all my fears rolled into a dark ball of hard terror. The fear of a child who must do as she is told, even though her very bones are telling her to run.
“Widow Likho said nothing. She turned around and walked slowly down her hall, her black dress trailing behind her like a stain. She pushed aside the curtain that divided her room from the next family’s, and Marya crept in behind her, hoping only to be invisible, for the old witch to take a nap while Marya read until she could politely leave.” (pg. 46)
Hieronymus Bosch – Garden of Earthly Delights
I’m trying to include art history in my daily creative life for the new year. This book by Hans Belting has fabulous enlargements of the seven-foot high triptych, as well as being an examination of the possible meaning, allegory, symbolism, and history of the work. For instance in the center panel, there is a dressed human, while all the others are naked. In the right-hand panel, the armored ink holder has a severed foot dangling from his helmet, which is the emblem of a professional beggar. It’s observations and explanations like this that make the book fun.
Rabih Alameddine’s Twitter Feed
Have I already shared this with you? It’s possible, because it’s wonderful. I’ve taken to ignoring the posts all day, and then at night in bed I open his feed and scroll through all the artwork. It’s a beautiful way to relax before I fall asleep (except when he does masks or other creepy stuff). Mr. Alameddine is an author (Hakawati, The Angel of History, An Unnecessary Woman, etc) who uses Twitter throughout his writing day to post artwork and poetry that feeds whatever he’s doing. Kind of like Show and Tell, but daily. It’s lovely, and I know you’d like it.
What sparked your creativity this week? How is your new year shaping up?