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.

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

This Blog Was Written By a Woman?!

Just for fun, I tried out this Gender Analyzer and it says that both of my blogs – this one and my cooking blog were written by a woman. Funny… All this time I thought I was a man. Just for kicks I tried a few of my friend’s blogs – apparently we’re all women (or we write like women?) despite our actual genders.

So this got me to thinking: is there actually a difference between men’s and women’s writing? I’m not sure I believe that there is.

People have argued that women’s and men’s speech is different. In addition to claims that men use humor more often than women and that men interrupt women more frequently than women interrupt men I found a lot of people who asserted that women use more qualifiers like “sort of” and “I think” when making assertions, more polite phrases like “would you please,” more emphasis words like “very” and “really,” and more tag questions in their speech. Several people asserted that men’s language is more clear and assertive than women’s language, which is more passive and “implicit.” The broad theme here is that men’s language is supposedly linked to competition and dominance, while women’s language is linked to submission and attempting to create a community of relationships.

I’m willing to believe that this is true sometimes. I’m not willing to believe that this is universally true, since to me it seems offensive and stereotyped. I don’t think men are all competitive jerks constantly interrupting people, and I don’t think women are unclear and submissive in their speech. I’m sure there are people who fit these stereotypes, but I’m equally sure that there are lots of people who don’t (since apparently I’m one of them).

Ok, so assuming I buy into the idea that men and women have different speech patterns. It seems plausible (though it’s not nearly as extreme and pervasive a difference as the theories I read seem to think it is, but whatever). Would this difference actually translate into people’s writing? Well here’s where it gets tricky. I’m ignoring poetry in this argument since I think it’s such a completely different genre that it would need its own argument. In a work of fiction I’d have to say no – you can’t tell the author’s gender by their writing (at least not if the writer has any skill). Whether the writing is feminine or masculine would depend on the narrator of the story. You wouldn’t write a story with a five year old first person narrator the same as you would a story with an omniscient narrator. Gender is similar – you wouldn’t write a story with a male narrator exactly the same as you would a story with a female narrator. Ok, so what about other sorts of prose? I don’t think essays are particularly gendered, since the nature of the genre doesn’t allow for many of the supposedly gendered speech patterns. Scientific writing certainly isn’t. This brings us to blogs, which is what started the topic. If a person’s gender was to influence their writing anywhere this would be the genre for it, since the narrator and writer are the same person. I’m willing to believe that a person’s gender could be visible through their writing style. Clearly mine isn’t – or maybe those detectors just aren’t strong enough to tease apart female and gay male?

What do you think?

Published in: on May 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm  Comments (4)  

Very Useful

If you’re a writer, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been dazzled by a project only to drop it when the writing gets tedious. You’ve sat down to write and waited for inspiration to strike, but when it did, you were easily distracted from the task of writing so you never got much written. Fear not! There is a cure! It’s called Write or Die and it’s the most useful website I’ve ever stumbled across. You just go there, type in a word or time goal, and set it to whichever grace period (Forgiving, Strict, or Evil) and level (Gentle, Normal, Kamikaze, or Electric Shock) you want. Then you start typing in the box provided. If you stop typing and pass your grace period, various things happen depending on your level. On “Gentle,” a pop-up appears reminding you to start writing again. On “Normal,” the site plays annoying chipmunk-esque music until you start writing again. On “Kamikaze,” your work begins to erase little by little until you start writing again. I still haven’t figured out “Electric Shock” mode yet.

This may just be the best thing for writers since the invention of the pen! Here’s the site address:

Write or Die

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

NaNoWriMo!!!

For those of you who don’t know: November is National Novel Writing Month. What does that mean? That means that I (and many many others) will be spending the month attached to my pan and notepad attempting to write a 50,000 word (175ish page) novel in 30 days. That’s about 1667 words per day. Right now it’s day 3 and I’ve written about 6,500 words so far. That means I’m over 1,000 words ahead of the curve. I’m hoping to keep ahead so that I can skip a day if it becomes absolutely necessary.

I’m giving you the link to the NaNoWriMo website. Bear in mind it is running very slowly due to the amount of people trying to log on at any given time:

NaNoWriMo

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 1:52 am  Comments (2)  

Writing and Publishing

Publishing is the scary, daunting part of writing. It’s sort of like college, in that you freak out over applying and hope with all your might that you get accepted. Then once you are accepted it’s not as cool as you expected since you aren’t one of the big names on campus. Since the acceptance process is grueling and I’m certainly not a big name, I’ve decided to put publishing out of mind for a while to focus on writing without the pressure. With that (and a few other things) in mind, I now have a daily schedule that includes an hour of writing time. I’m making a rule for myself that, at bare minimum, I HAVE to write for the entire hour – even if it’s pure drivel. Wish me luck!

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 1:18 pm  Comments (4)  

Writing Group

My friend Meg is starting up a writing group.  The first meeting is next Thursday at 8:00pm at Diesel Cafe in Somerville, MA.  So far only three of us but I’m excited since I don’t know many other writers and the ones that I do are mostly located far away from me (Paris, Madrid, Montpelier, New York City).  I haven’t met the other girl yet but Meg is delightful and a wonderful poet who I’d love to spend time exchanging ideas with.  Having new people look at my work might be inspiring.  Besides, I need to get out more – I’m much too introverted for my own good.

Published in: on June 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm  Comments (3)  

Success!

I got published!!!

Or rather, I will be published as of July/August by Agenda Poetry (http://www.agendapoetry.co.uk/). I just got an email from the editor accepting two of my poems (Ghost and Ocean) for their online broadsheet for younger poets and artists. Hoorah!

I’m extra-excited about this because Ocean is one of the poems I was pretty much convinced I wouldn’t get published. It’s a 3-page poem and long poems aren’t very popular right now. Also, when I was editing my Senior Project, Carolyn Forché told me she disliked the formatting of the piece as a whole. I disagreed with her and kept my formatting as is, but I’ve been a little nervous about it since then.

Published in: on May 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm  Comments (12)  

Someday They’ll Be Sorry…

Poetry journals that have rejected me so far:

Poetry

Brilliant Corners

West Branch

The American Poetry Review

Poetry journals I’m still waiting to hear back from:

War, Literature and the Arts

American Literary Review

Poesy

Relief

Image

Artful Dodge

Ascent

Cimarron Review

Fence

I know for a fact that I’ve passed the first review at two of these places because they have online tracking. Also, some of these journals are almost a month late getting back to me, which I’m choosing to take as a good sign. My goal is to send out the next round of applications by the end of next week. I’m very glad I made a spreadsheet to keep track of this.

Note to aspiring poets: MAKE A SPREADSHEET TO TRACK YOUR SUBMISSIONS!  That way you’ll be able to navigate the craziness with minimal pain.

Also, my goal for the remainder of April is to work on one of my fiction projects for at least half an hour every day.  Baby steps…

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 12:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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)  

Dry Spell

How come?  I got promoted at work and I’ve been trying to expand/rekindle my social life.  Unfortunately the combination of the two means that I have next to no time for writing.  And of course, when I do have time I’m so tired I just go to bed (we’re talking earlier than 8:00pm, which is kind of ludicrous).  Hopefully things will calm down by next weekend so I can get in some writing during my weekend off.  I need to push myself so I start writing every day because, at this rate, my novel is never going to be finished.

Published in: on March 21, 2008 at 6:40 pm  Comments (7)