You gotta know who you are

Okay, I can’t take full credit for this idea. While checking out J.M. Reep’s blog, which can also be found on my blogroll to your right (Juvenilia), I saw this great word cloud that he had generated from his novels. The folks over at Wordle have created a way for you to stylishly see the prominent words of any piece of text in a clever little cloud.

What have I learned? I say book to much. I always thought my focus was more on short stories and there we go with book and books in huge letters. Of course, I’m not helping matters right now by saying that over and over but you get the idea. Enough talking, check it out:

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See ya next time. Same Bat-time, same Bat-station.

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Fiction by Request

Ask and you shall receive. Writing fiction for myself can be a difficult process. I have a bad tendancy to dislike something three or four pages into it. I am currently working on a piece but it’s been taking longer and longer. This go on and on, but anyway here is a story I finished writing about a semester or two ago. I have my issues with it, in fact I don’t even have a title, but I do think this is a decent story.

Maybe you guys can add a title for me. Also, please bring on the criticism. You can only become a better writer by opening yourself up to the criticism of others. Enjoy.

Also, if anyone has any stories of their own they would like to “submit” to my blog I will gladly post them. Having online workshops placed between my posts would be pretty awesome. Pretty awesome indeed.

Pardon my Dust

I’m going through a bit of an image crisis. Not really. Now that this project is starting to take off I’m trying to refresh the look a little bit. Anyone reading tonight, bear with me while I work this all out.

I was going to go with one of those cheesy 90s animated gifs right about here, but I like to think this is a slightly more classy publication.

Order of the Albany Cycle

I dug around the internet and it turns out that “Ironweed” is in fact the last book of the series. Let this be a lesson for me, and for people reading to always check your facts before you print them. Good thing the teacher for my editing class doesn’t read this, I think that would have been an automatic F.

The worst part is, I wrote an awesome “Star Wars” joke and now I can’t even use it. To make up for it here is a list of 278 lines from “Star Wars” with one word replaced with the word pants.

One last though.

While thinking about my previous post I noticed that two of the books I suggested are parts of series. I wanted to mention that they stand on their own perfectly well. “Ironweed” is the only book I read of the series and it still ranks as my favorite read.

This week I’m going to try and remove a bit of my social life, leave the xbox off and deliver you guys a bunch of high quality reading. Or I’m going to spam a bunch of crap to pad out my post count. Whichever. Keep it classy.

Recommended Reading

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite reads. Yes, this is a short story writer giving off a list of favorite books (pretty much all novels) but I think all manners of quality writing can be influential. While I have read many great books, this is the list of ones that stuck with me the most, the ones that are easiest to remember and have the greatest impact on my opinion and style. Amazon links are provided in case any of you are so inspired to give them a read, you won’t be disappointed.

Rabbit, Run

The first of John Updike’s Rabbit series and the first book that I gave any consideration as an adult. In a way, I’d say all four books are recommended, but if I had to pick one, it would be this one. The first reason being my own knowledge of life. Harry Angstrom (or Rabbit) is 26 in this book, fairly close to my own age. The characters felt so much newer, so fresh. It could be argued that the quality of the writing improves, especially on the last two books of this four part series (the ones that won Pulitzer’s) but everything about this book has a youthful immediacy that really gripped me.

The Road

The next of Cormac McCarthy’s books to be made into a movie (coming soon at the time of writing this), an intense and harrowing journey across post-apocalyptic America. What I loved so much about this book is that it could be called science fiction, but instead of trudging on about the back story of what happened, or putting in strange technology, this book is focused on exactly what the two main characters are: survival. If you’ve seen No Country For Old Men and remember the scenes of no dialogue where the characters were making tools or healing themselves then expect things like that, but on a grander scale. It’s utterly depressing and uplifting at the same time.

Ironweed

William Kennedy’s third book of his three part Albany trilogy is the best. I remember reading this book and thinking how perfect it was within itself. By that, I mean each word is in perfect order. Each sentence is in the exact place it belongs. By far my favorite book. If you read anything on this list, please read this book.

It appears that Ironweed is the third book of the Albany trilogy, though I’ve gotten information saying it was the second. If anyone knows the correct order, that would be much appreciated.

Sorry for the downtime

It’s been an unusual emotional time for me. I haven’t blogged enough and I apologise of the lack of updates, especially after getting people to blogroll me and everything. For a little fun though, I’m going to post a recent conversation I had about the nature of art. Though I was talking to a painter, I think this can apply to writers just as well. Think of this as a, “What is art to you?” Let’s watch (it cuts in mid conversation, after I was shown a Jackson Pollock painting) :

ninjanick04 (11:00:23 PM): it makes me see a waterfall cascading through a busy forest

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:00:35 PM): ha there ya go

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:00:40 PM): and honestly…

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:00:46 PM): paintings like that and paintings like mine…

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:00:49 PM): i dont see things in them

ninjanick04 (11:00:55 PM): really?

ninjanick04 (11:01:03 PM): then what do you see?

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:01:41 PM): just amazing, beautiful art… something that is so dear to my heart that i dont really know words good enough to explain it

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:02:05 PM): its probably the closest ill ever feel to a higher power

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:02:14 PM): ive seen my fav painting in real life

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:02:24 PM): and that truely was like seeing god

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:02:32 PM): amazing in every way possible

ninjanick04 (11:02:34 PM): that’s awesome

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:02:58 PM): those paintings and art to me in general is just… home

ninjanick04 (11:03:00 PM): i sorta get like that when i’m reading a really good book

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:03:04 PM): the best place to be

ninjanick04 (11:03:30 PM): but it’s not quite the same, as going and seeing and experiencing an original work of art

ninjanick04 (11:03:32 PM): like you get to do

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:03:43 PM): right

ninjanick04 (11:04:30 PM): you have to have some sort of response from the painting, like maybe a concept or a feeling comes from it

ninjanick04 (11:05:15 PM): like the one i sent makes me think of tranquility but it also suggests… i’m trying to think of the right word

ninjanick04 (11:05:37 PM): it’s like looking into space but suddenly you can see everything all at once

ninjanick04 (11:05:40 PM): ha

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:05:47 PM): maybe tranquility emerging from a dismal situation

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:05:56 PM): thats what i got

ninjanick04 (11:06:24 PM): but you don’t do when you look at art?

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:06:33 PM): what?

ninjanick04 (11:06:53 PM): like, find images or at least emotions and thoughts

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:07:04 PM): for me its more emotions

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:07:07 PM): than pictures and images

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:07:13 PM): im gonna say something

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:07:22 PM): and it might sound slightly offensive but i dont mean it that way

ninjanick04 (11:07:29 PM): ok

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:07:35 PM): i think

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:08:50 PM): if you view art that is so subjective, like pollocks splatter paintings, and if you are an artist, espcially a painter, you dont get lost in the pictures, or images, you just automatically feel what the artist ment, and in that moment, that second… theres a connection from viewer to painting… and if it works right… its the most peace you can exerpience

ninjanick04 (11:09:47 PM): do you think that maybe there is no original meaning?

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:09:57 PM): maybe there’s not

ninjanick04 (11:10:11 PM): or perhaps there were multiple things that the artist was feeling when they created the picture

ninjanick04 (11:10:24 PM): it could be a flurry of emotions

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:10:29 PM): right

ninjanick04 (11:10:43 PM): i’m not challenging your statement

ninjanick04 (11:10:46 PM): just exploring it

ninjanick04 (11:10:58 PM): and it’s not offensive

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:11:02 PM): good

ninjanick04 (11:11:12 PM): you’re trained to know better

ninjanick04 (11:11:16 PM): just like me and writing

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:11:22 PM): well

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:11:24 PM): idk if its that

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:11:25 PM): but

ninjanick04 (11:11:33 PM): well, you’ve trained yourself

ninjanick04 (11:11:38 PM): i don’t mean literally

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:11:39 PM): its just

ninjanick04 (11:11:48 PM): train was a bad word

ninjanick04 (11:11:57 PM): but… i know what i mean

ninjanick04 (11:13:22 PM): as a painter, you have the expierence. you know what it is like to go through the process, to place your emtions out there. and you’ve studied enough art to know good from bad and to understand the concept better because you’ve been there yourself

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:13:25 PM): its an unspoken language, we artists speak, ya know? its just… a language of emotion and feeling… one that reads through paintings and sculptures… books, movies, music… everything and it all kinda connects to make a universal code for all artists

ninjanick04 (11:13:53 PM): i don’t know if i consider myself an artist

ninjanick04 (11:13:58 PM): do you?

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:14:00 PM): i think you are

ninjanick04 (11:14:27 PM): i’ve never explored those ideas or thoughts

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:14:31 PM): well

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:14:32 PM): i mean

ninjanick04 (11:14:36 PM): the universality of it

ninjanick04 (11:14:52 PM): there is certainly a common understanding though

ninjanick04 (11:15:05 PM): of people that are passionate about creating

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:15:21 PM): you dont need a certificate to certify you as an artist, its just loving what you do and if youre creating something if youre being artistic through your medium of choice and if it works for you and its your passion then you are an artist

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:15:23 PM): right

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:15:44 PM): i use a brush, you use a pen

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:15:48 PM): its all relative

ninjanick04 (11:16:25 PM): yes, but sometimes writing can get so technical. it does require training and guidence

ninjanick04 (11:16:46 PM): and even then dan brown goes off to be a best seller

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:17:20 PM): “When I say artist I mean the man who is building things- creating, molding the earth- whether it be the plaints of the west- or the iron ore of Penn. It’s all a big game of construction- some with a brush- some with a shovel- some choose a pen.”

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:17:39 PM): plains*

ninjanick04 (11:17:44 PM): who said that?

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:17:47 PM): guess

ninjanick04 (11:17:53 PM): pollock?

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:17:56 PM): indeed

ninjanick04 (11:18:29 PM): interesting. you have a very zen almost spiritual concept of art

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:18:58 PM): so it doesnt matter ya know? fuck best seller lists and oprah book clubs, if what you create gives you happiness and peace and keeps your passion thriving then you are an artist

DrugsxPeacexLove (11:19:04 PM): i do

Sorry for the graying, that’s just the dumb way I set up my aim text. Coming up we have a few new lit mag reviews, I’m going to try for an interview and I’ve been working on an original piece that I’ll share some of with everyone. Until next time, see ya space cowboys.