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Weekend Reading: What Writing Programs Ought To Teach You When They Teach You About Writing
What Writing Programs Ought To Teach You When They Teach You About Writing
by Jim Berhle
March 29, 2013
The best #realtalk is also the funniest… from the one-of-a-kind mind of Jim Berhle:
I made an extra $7,000 or so on my writing last year. Above and beyond the work I did at the bookstore and the library. Pretty good. But now it’s almost April 15th and I will soon have to rob a bank to pay my taxes. I forget every year about my taxes until my father, a former IRS employee, reminds me. I spent that $7,000 mostly on sports jerseys on eBay. Those can not be claimed as a deduction on any line of the current US tax code. But robbing banks isn’t so hard, you just write a little note to the teller and pull a Yankee cap all the way down. No one would think it was me because when would I ever wear a Yankee cap? It’s just ridiculous: I like the Mets and Red Sox. No, I will not resort to crime. Sometimes I will tell my therapist, I am writing something new! And she will say, how much are you getting paid? And I will say, I was told she would pay me in those long Indian burrito things from that place on Amsterdam Avenue. And she will nod and go back to her crossword puzzle. My failure to live in the real world possibly stems from the fact that I rode a wave of silliness through my 20s and 30s and now am just an old guy living in a dreamworld of nonsense.
An accounting class for writers would first show writers what American money looks like. President Washington on the front, pyramid and eagle on the back. This class will tell you what to tell the Huffington Post when they ask you to blog for them for free. Great exposure, though! This class will be essential because student loan payments never go away, like Nuclear Herpes. And without money, a writer withers on the vine like some kind of grape gasping for the sun. You can’t write if you can’t eat. And when I told my father, after paying $300 to Kinko’s to free my photocopied zine from Kinko’s jail, “you have to spend money to make money,” what I think I meant is “you have to have money.” Which segues into our next class.3. GRANT WRITING
Weekend Reading: Feels Blind
by Emily Gould
May 10, 2013
Last weekend I talked to a friend who has a books-related job. This woman wants to be a writer. I mean, she is a writer, but not of books, yet. And she’s not exactly, at this particular moment, on a career track that will lead her closer to the goal of writing books. She is really young and has plenty of time to swerve. But at some point she’ll have to make a decision about whether she wants to continue to work at her fulfilling, stable job that she’s great at or write books, because there isn’t enough time in the day, no matter how early she wakes up or how late she goes to bed or what kind of productivity-enhancing software she installs on her laptop or how much hygiene/fun/personal life she neglects, to do both. Or enough time, I should maybe say, to do both well. Some people are superhuman and can do both well. But such people are very rare, and that pretending they’re anything but rare just makes everyone else feel bad, so let’s actually just pretend they don’t exist. They functionally don’t exist. She told me it’s taken her a long time to figure out that she carries around a lot of resentment towards people who make their entire living by writing. Although she has a close relationship with at least one such person, and so she knows firsthand that making your whole living that way can make you crazy. So it’s not like her resentment is predicated on a fantasy: she knows both ways of living have their pitfalls/can make you crazy. But the bottom line is that one way of living results in books and the other, mostly, doesn’t.
When I was her age, the age she happened to be turning on the day we had this conversation, I thought that making my living exclusively by writing was the goal of my life. Or if not “exclusively,” primarily. Dimly, and without ever lingering in thought too long about the specifics, I imagined teaching, being a teacher almost exactly like my least-engaged college professors, the ones who showed up to workshop with a large coffee and some xeroxed Raymond Carver stories and then sat there for two hours while their students talked, sipping the coffee and sometimes nodding. The rest of my time would be spent alone in a library or a home office, some room with a computer, a desk, a chair. I would write novels and then, later in the day, make dinner. Maybe sometimes if I felt like it I’d accept an assignment from the kind of magazine no one really reads but that basically exists to pad the bank accounts of already-rich writers, travel and specialized beauty magazines, you know, ”[So and So’s] Wacky Adventures In Bangkok,” ”What [Whoever] Really Thinks Of Several Slightly Different Spa Treatments.” I’d slide on up into that echelon effortlessly. My inherent greatness would be recognized and one day I’d wake up and just find myself there. I mean I’d also have published novels, in this fantasy. The parts of this fantasy that pertained to my personal life were just as inchoate and illogical. I thought and maybe (cringe) even said out loud, “I’ll have my first baby after I finish my first novel.” As though those were two goals you could easily work towards simultaneously. As though they were not two distinct and unrelated life paths…
Keep reading: http://www.emilymagazine.com/?p=898
Weekend Reading: On Writers, Marriages, and NYC/LA/SF
On Writers, Marriages, and NYC/LA/SF
In this blog post from 2008, patron saint of writer rants John Scalzi elaborates on his scandalous advice regarding money, relationships, and leaving town: “Marry (or otherwise shack up with) someone sensible with money, who has a real job,” and “Unless you have a truly compelling reason to be there, get the hell out of New York/LA/San Francisco.”
Find someone you like, heck, even love, and about whom you think you’ll feel similarly 25 years from now. Marry ‘em if you want (or can, since some people can’t marry who they want even if they want, which sucks), or don’t. If they don’t have ace financial skills, oh well. If they do: Bonus.
That said, “love” is not the same thing as “long term committed relationship.” That being the case, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that when it comes to long-haul relationships, it’s not outside the realm of acceptability to consider other factors aside from the love issue, when it comes to deciding whether to bind your life to someone for years and years. I love my wife to bits, but other factors of compatibility (including the fact she was excellent with finances) constituted the tipping point for the actual decision to get married. Conversely, there are other folks in my life who I could very easily see myself in love with but whom I wouldn’t want to marry, because of some fundamental disconnects in personality, worldview and compatibility (note well that the problem child in those relationships should not necessarily be assumed to be the other person; I have my bad points). I love these people and am attracted to them, but the other factors weigh against a bonding relationship.
Read the whole thing here: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2008/02/12/on-writers-marriages-and-nyclasf/ and Scalzi’s general “advice to writers” post that started it here: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2008/02/11/unasked-for-advice-to-writers-about-money/ .
The Solar System Sampler, and other Awesome Things
Looking for some interesting reading or a new project this weekend? Here are some of my favorite crafty things from the internet this week.
The Solar System Sampler:
Image copyright Museum of Children
I don’t think there are many outside of the sampler-stitching or history-loving communities that realize how vital samplers were to the education of young women in centuries gone by. It’s easy to dismiss this, if the only samplers you ever see are of flowers and trees. Don’t get me wrong, I love those samplers as well, but it’s pretty hard to deny the fact that these girls were doing more than “wasting time stitching” when you see a sampler like this.
If you are interested in samplers and their history, the blog post on the Museum of Children’s website has some great info, and includes links to other samplers in their collection (if you love samplers, prepare to drool!) And a hat tip to Slate for publishing the article that lead me to the post in the first place - it’s nice to see discussion of samplers and their meaning on a non-craft website!
And speaking of crafts on non-craft websites, the Wired UK website posted a how-to article on making an 8-bit quilt! I have to be honest, I have no idea what possessed them to post it, since I don’t really read the magazine any more (and it certainly seems lonely on their site), but hey, I’m all for anything that gets more people crafting. Geekcraft has exploded over the past few years, and if that’s what keeps handcrafting alive, then I say pass the Mario chart! (Honestly, I’d say pass the Mario chart in any case :) )
For my fellow crafty geeks (and non-crafty geeks), Crochet All The Things posted this set of amigurumi Avenger Snails that immediately made me realize that I desparately need a set of amigurumi Avenger Snails - perhaps for my birthday?
Over on my Facebook page, Sandy shared a photo of her Year of Specialty Stitches SAL progress, which I am super excited about. (What can I say, I love it when people stitch with my thread!)
If your needle is craving a new project, the internet did not disappoint this week - Belinda from Blue Ribbon Designs re-released one of her free charts, A Friend Indeed, and Maja of The Snowflower Diaries blog continues to post awesome free charts. I think she’s released 8 or 9 at this point, and I’ve snapped up each one as it has come out - lots of spring and Halloween stuff!
It’s been a big week in the shop, with both March’s new releases coming out on Monday (so much silk!), and the release of my Love thread pack yesterday. You can see everything in the New Releases section of the shop - grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you must) and check out the rainbow of new colorways I have for you :)
Okay, that’s a lot to get through, but you have a whole weekend to do it, right? :)
“my hope is that i will never make you feel excluded because you’ve seen a brief joyous moment in time captured on my small portion of the internet. even though you probably rationally know this, if you’re feeling down it’s easy to forget that life is very often much more complicated than you could ever imagine. not just for me, but for all of us. ”—
This awesome article on the pressures of social media.
Worth checking out.
Weekend Reading: Reagent - Lithium Aluminium Hydride
Reagent Name: Lithium Aluminium Hydride
Molecular Formula: LiAlH4
Main Role in Organic Reactions: LiAlH4 acts as a reducing agent in most of the organic reactions
1. Reduction of carbonyl compounds to alcohols
2. Conversion of Alkyl Halides to Alkanes
3. Conversion of Alkyl Cyanides to Primary Amines
Mechanism of Action:
LiAlH4 is a source of hydride (H-) ions. Hydride ions produced by the reagent act as nulceophiles and attack the electrophillic centre in the reactant bringing about either nucleophilic addition or nucleophilic substitution depending on the nature of the reagent. In case of nucleophilic addition the salt formed is given acid treatment to release the alcohol.
Mechanism for its reaction bringing about Nucleophilic Addition
Mechanism for its reaction bringing about Nucleophilic Substitution
Related Reagents: NaBH4 (Sodium Borohydride) is also a reducing agent which is similar in action but less reactive than LiAlH4.
Question: Can you explain why NaBH4 is less reactive than LiAlH4?