Finally Published

The article I wrote for www.interfaithfamily.com has finally been published. You can find it by clicking on the link below:

My First Purim

I’m happy the article was published, and the editor wrote me an email asking me to write another article for them so that’s exciting. Looking back at the piece, though, I’m not satisfied with it. I feel like the quality of my writing is poor. I tried to take a conversational tone and that certainly worked, but there are multiple places where I didn’t word things the way I would like to have worded them. This dissatisfaction is probably because the article had such a long span of time between the writing and the publishing and I’ve grown as a writer since then. At least that’s what I’m telling myself so I don’t give up on my work.

Advertisements
Published in: on February 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm  Comments (1)  

I’ve been writing

And not posting ūüėõ

I got offered $100 to write an 800 word essay for a website. I should be getting the author contract today. I’ll post about it when the contract has been signed.

In other news, I read an interesting article on why first-time authors are typically in their 30s: “Why New Novelists Are Kinda Old”. It made me feel better about my slow progress as a writer.

It also linked to a site (herewith a list of reasons books get rejected, explaining that getting a reply takes a long time because of all the rejections. Presumably, if you wrote a good book/poem/whatever it would take longer for you to hear back than if you wrote something that went to the trash heap immediately. I choose to take this as a good sign since some of the journals I submitted poetry to took FOREVER to get back to me – well past what was indicated in their posted timelines. I read the list, and I’m assuming I’ve been rejected for reasons 8-13:

8. Author is working on own problems in the book.
9. Book is dull/flaccid/underperforming.
10. Book has been done already.
11. Publishable book that they don’t see why they should publish.
12. Talented author who wrote the wrong book.
13. Good book that house won’t get behind.

I’d like to flatter myself that it’s #13 but who knows? I do know that I can write reasonably well so I’m sure it isn’t reasons 1-7. Guess I just have to keep working!

Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm  Comments (2)  

On Writing and Working

If you ask me – the hardest thing about being a writer is working a full-time job while you’re getting started (and possibly forever). I’ve got both a full-time and a part-time job because I work in the nonprofit sector so I’m underpaid and I’m unwilling to fall into the “impovershed writer” stereotype. The thing is, when you’re working 60-hour weeks with literally no days off it’s incredibly hard to find the time to write. In the last month I’ve written all of one terrible poem and a few paragraphs on one of the novels. It’s bad. My new plan is to clear out a time for myself to write every evening (or every morning on the days I have a night shift at work). I’m also setting myself specific deadlines for when I have to have things completed (a chapter, a certain number of poems, a certain number of words etc.) and reward myself when I complete them. The other great idea I had is something that I did in college – carry a tiny notepad and pen in my pocket so I can write whenever I have an idea.

If you write, how do you do it? When do you find time? Do you have a set routine or is it more sporadic? If you do have a set routine, how do you make yourself stick to it?

Published in: on July 3, 2009 at 2:13 pm  Comments (2)  

Amazon.com Censoring GLBT Books?

Post by author/publisher about the situation.

List of books that have been censored.

Post by author whose ranking was removed.

Call to boycott with phone numbers of customer service and board of directors.

The Amazon spokesmen said this was a “glitch” in the sales rank feature and they’re working to correct the problem. I don’t know if I buy that – this whole thing seems fishy to me. I’m boycotting Amazon until this whole “glitch” is fixed and we get an explanation.

Edit: Apparently they’re censoring books on disability and sexuality as well: LOOK.

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 1:22 am  Comments (3)  

Twitter Fiction

I hate twitter. I make no secret about that. I have no desire whatsoever to read inane posts about the minute details of people’s lives. I deal with that sort of thing enough when I live through the more boring parts of my own life. I can’t stand the fact that people can now export their twitters into their blogs because it means that to find the meandering, thought-provoking posts I love I have to wade through lists of mindless tweets. For similar reasons, I also hate facebook status feeds. If I want to know the minutiae of someone’s life, I ask them. I don’t want it popping up on my screen in feeds and blogs where I didn’t expect or desire it. The entire thing seems very hollow to me. I could follow someone’s tweets for an entire year without feeling even remotely close to them, whereas having one deep conversation with someone or following their (thoughtful) blog can foster a much more substantial connection than seeing them every day.

I read a New York Times Magazine article that explains how twitter, facebook feeds etc. can create a state of ambient awareness that makes people more connected to each other. I’m skeptical, but here’s the article:

NY Times Magazine Article

However, that’s not the point of this post. In the Jan 16-22 issue of The Boston Phoenix, there is an article titled “Novel Idea: Twitter Fiction, Post-Modernism, Post by 140-Character Post” that I found interesting. In the article, Mike Miliard talks about people who are writing novels with twitter. Some of those people are writing novels together, one tweet at a time. Now this is an idea I actually like. When I was a child I used to love telling group stories. My friends and I would sit around and make up a story together, each person contributing a chunk and then passing the job to the next, until we had reached the (usually crazy) ending. In recent years, I’ve tried doing this in livejournal comments and the results were similarly entertaining. I don’t anticipate joining twitter anytime soon, but perhaps my next blog post will be a group story…

Boston Phoenix Article

Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 10:30 pm  Comments (4)  

Writing About Sex

I’m currently working on Rearrange The Sky and getting stumped somewhere pretty unexpected. Sex. Now, I’d like to think I know a lot about sex since I’ve had a lot of sex. [If you’re my mother: I was just kidding. I’m still waiting for marriage.] Despite this fact, I seem to have trouble writing about sex. And since I’m writing a quartet of love stories this is becoming a bit of a problem. I can’t avoid sex altogether because it’ll start to seem unnatural. Besides – it’s kind of important to my plot! I feel like I’m performing a delicate tightrope-walking act. One misstep and my characters have fallen into a bad porno full of terrible clich√©s, another misstep and they’re back in 6th grade health class with its clinical language. Not to mention the difficulty writing about sex with trans men when the common terms used for their anatomy are often seen as offensive and upsetting to the men I am writing about.

What do I do? I’m at a loss. I’ve been reading as much porn as I can get my hands on (purely for research purposes of course) and it hasn’t helped much. I even got my hands on a copy of The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers by Elizabeth Benedict. It’s a good book, but I still feel like my sex writing is horribly mediocre. The biggest problem? I haven’t found much to use as an example for my writing. My sexual pairings are:

1. trans man on hormones with top and bottom surgery and cisgendered man with cerebral palsy
2. trans Daddy on hormones with no surgery and cisgendered boy
3. non-transitioning male-bodied genderqueer and pre-everything trans man
4. femme trans man on hormones with top surgery and non-transitioning genderqueerish female-bodied butch

The mechanics alone are enough to make my head spin, and then when you bring in factors of race and gender and privilege etc. it’s enough to make me want to scream. Perhaps that’s the point. Transfolks navigate a lot of difficult spaces – particularly where sexual intimacy is concerned. Sex with a trans partner is usually not an easy and unthinking “insert tab A into slot B.” It’s complicated. I want this book to show those complications but I also want it to show the beauty and sexual creativity that can result from them. I want this book to show my characters – trans men/genderqueers/men with disabilities/men of color – as whole people with average sex drives – not as the sexualized creatures of porno or the tragically celibate figures of medical textbooks. Unfortunately, as often happens with sex, my head is getting in the way. I’m so worried about how to write that I’m having trouble letting go and allowing things to progress naturally.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm  Comments (2)  

I’m Back!!!

A lot of stuff has happened since my last post. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had any time to post in here. I’m not going to give a full update on my life, but I will share the most important news. Ren and I are engaged! How did it happen, you ask?

Well, we were in Rockport, MA sitting on a big rock eating pizza and talking about the litter and how fucked up it was that people are destroying the world and ways we could be more eco-friendly. The area was full of tourists – there was even a man playing the accordion for tips. Then the sun started setting but there were clouds in front of it. I expressed disappointment about the lack of sunset so Ren said “I think I know something that will make it better. Will you marry me?” and he whipped out a cute but hilarious cupcake-frosting-pink pinkey-finger ring (the real ring was delayed due to the construction on our street). I was too shocked to respond. Instead I started laughing and crying at the same time and then we started kissing. We were instantly interrupted by an old man yelling “Get a room!” He was countered by another old man who yelled back “Leave ’em alone! They’re happy!” so he turned away disgustedly, mumbling something about fags. After a few minutes, Ren said “Was that a yes?” and I realized I hadn’t actually accepted the proposal. Whoops! So I accepted and we hugged again and decided to head home so we wouldn’t scandalize the homophobes.

Published in: on August 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm  Comments (2)  

My Workspace

It has occurred to me that I haven’t posted here in a LONG time. Since I don’t have many updates to give about my writing (it’s going slowly and the rejections keep coming) I’ve decided to post a picture of my writing space:

My Workspace

I took this picture right after cleaning off my workspace.¬† It usually doesn’t look that pristine. That lace thing on the right-hand side of the picture is a window with a view of a tiny bit of lawn, a stone wall, and our neighbor’s house. The “Someday They’ll Be Sorry” wall is a collage of all of the rejection letters I’ve received. I’m beginning to think making that collage was a stroke of brilliance because posting my rejections has become a very cathartic action for me. It’s almost exciting to see so many up there because it’s proof that I’m a real writer (only real writers get rejection letters, right?). The bulletin board contains important notices, online passwords, business cards, and random fun things like a fake rose from my friend Kim and the hot pink bracelet one of the kids at work made for me. The poster above the bulletin board is the Ten Commandments. The computer is my dad’s old computer that he gave to us for free when he upgraded. The speakers, mouse and printer are all Ren’s. You can’t see under the desk but there are two file boxes – one for my writing and one for everything else I need to file. The rest of the room is Ren’s art studio so it’s filled floor-to-ceiling with his works-in-progress:

Corner

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm  Comments (3)  

Inspiration Strikes Back

Finally!¬† I’m in Florida with my boyfriend and his family for Passover.¬† It’s my first break from work since I got promoted and I didn’t realize until now how¬†thoroughly my stress level was¬†affecting my writing (and everything else).¬†¬†My life had gotten so crazy that I¬†wasn’t even dreaming at night.¬† Now that I’ve had two days off in a row I’ve started dreaming again, andof course I’ve launched myself back into writing.¬†

I’m working on a short story that’s expanding so rapidly I’m worried it’ll turn into another novel.¬† I don’t know if I can afford to be working on three novels at once!¬† This was supposed to be a crazy detour to circumvent writer’s block and now it’s turning into a frightening monstrosity.¬† The story is set¬†in a Christian nation-state with gender outlaws, a¬†reincarnated diety, an underground network of vampires,¬†and a werewolf FBI agent.¬† I’m a little worried that everyone who reads this will assume I’m on drugs.¬† For the record, the only thing I’m addicted to is chocolate.

I’m also trying to talk my boyfriend into helping me create tranny greating cards.¬† These would commemorate trans* milestones such as starting hormones, having surgery, changing your name, and changing your pronouns.¬† I’m sure people would buy them.

And on a less inspiring note, I’ve started getting back rejection letters from the poetry journals where I sent my work.¬† I’m looking at it in a positive light, though, and am getting ready to send my poems off to my second tier of journals.¬† I WILL get published!

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 6:00 pm  Comments (3)  

1 h@7e 7h!$ $0rt 0f 7yp1ng!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!11

There are few things on earth that irk me more than leetspeak (aka “1337” aka they style of typing I just used in the title to this post). My partner Ren says that this form of typing began because people did not want what they were typing to end up in search engines. That’s all well and good – I mean, with Google becoming more ubiquitous I’m sure everyone would like a little more Internet anonymity. I still fondly remember the early days of the Internet when I used leetspeak to type things my parents couldn’t read (muahaha). BUT people aren’t really using leetspeak as a code anymore since everyone gets it now (even my Internet-challenged parents). Now people use it because…? Who knows! There’s no point now. The point is gone. Which means that if you’re typing in leetspeak you’re behind the times and you need to grow a brain and get with the program. Or, if you insist on typing in 1337, do it with intention. Go and visit this website or this website so you know the history of your language.

Also, if you’re already fluent, you can search Google in leetspeak here and if, like my parents, you’re lost and want a translator go here.

Side note: Ren thinks I should delve deeper to discover the reasons I hate leetspeak so much. I don’t have to delve because I already know why I hate it. I hate leetspeak because I’m a grammar snob and I view it as a bastardization of the beautifully pure English language (or something like that). Actually, I find leetspeak kind of interesting. It’s just that it really annoys me that so many people do this for no reason and seem to think it makes them cool.

@LL c0mm3n7$ t0 7h1$ p0$7 mu$7 b 1n 7337 or 1 w1LL d3L373 th3m!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!

Translation: All comments to this post must be in leetspeak or I will delete them!

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 2:22 am  Comments (6)