Archive for July, 2010

Posted in Tokyo, writing with tags , on July 26, 2010 by katekanno

Sunday was a busy writing day.  Finished the middle draft of a 7,000 word story, and helped my partner edit a research article on Asian American art.  Now, I’ll let the story sit for a few days before peeking at it and probably running from the apartment screaming.

I’m working at being more prolific, which doesn’t mean I’m allowing myself to write crap. I’m trying to focus in short bursts, get more on the page.

Got 3,000 words down today. Gibberish, but gibberish that knows where it’s going, kind of like a determined drunk, I imagine.

Am now heading to the Tokyo Hacker Space to try out a new writer’s workshop. The one I usually attend is on summer hiatus.

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On books and pretending to have read them.

Posted in blogging, books, education, ill effects of computers, memory, shyness, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by katekanno

I’ve always been inarticulate, particularly in groups when the social anxiety ramps up.  I have a tendency to lock onto some obscure, often not very meaningful detail, and wax incomprehensible. Summarizing is not a strong suit, and  I cannot, for the life of me, exude an air of mastery over anything so much as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Yet, what baffled me when I returned to the States five years ago, was how much that skill, online or off,  has usurped genuine knowledge. There seemed to be more value placed on knowing about something, more so if that thing could be dismissed with a clever reference to theory or more appallingly,  a wikipedia link.

Before the internet we called that jousting with a trashcan and a garden hoe.

Even worse is that it now gets the nod from self-help manuals like Pierre Bayard’s “How to Talk About Books that You Haven’t Read,” which Tracy Seeley, a vanguard in the slow reading movement, sees as a more sinister sign of our fraying focus.

Agreed.

And it’s phony as all get up, too.

I’m the first to admit that I’m as insecure  as the next person, but I’d prefer to use that anxiety as a guide. What haven’t I read? Where am I woefully ignorant?  And then I’ll go out and pick up a book, try to gain at least a meager grasp over what I know I don’t know.  It’s not a very efficient system, a little too random, but more often than not the serendipity pays off in ways that I would hope are more creative than the simple art of name dropping.

There’s hope after all

Posted in genre fiction, science fiction, Tokyo, writing with tags , , , , , , , on July 17, 2010 by katekanno

A blurry sign of encouragement.  I submitted two pieces to the Escape Pod flash fiction contest.

One of them made it through the first round. The other, at this moment, is in fourth place.  Regardless of whether I make it into the next one, it was a nice thing to wake up to. Even more impressive were the comments from members of the Escape Artists forum.  As a long-term participant of writers workshops, they are among the most insightful, focused critiques I’ve been lucky enough to receive.

I also got another rejection.  I’m getting tougher.

Tomorrow, I go to the Tokyo Writer’s workshop for one last meet up before the summer starts.

To be nitpicked is to be alive.

Hibernation over, hopefully…

Posted in blogging, lifehacking, Tokyo, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by katekanno

It’s been a long three months since I’ve posted. Getting re-acquainted with Tokyo a new job, as well as a few writing projects, have been part of it.  The other has been our new internet situation.

When we moved into our apartment, we had trouble accessing our WiFi. We fussed and moaned for a few days, and then realized —  wow! — We were so much happier without it.

I’ve been more focused than I’ve been in years, and have not only completed two drafts of my first professional script, but three short stories of which I’m truly proud. I’ve sent them off, received one very hopeful rejection email, and am happily waiting for the rest to circulate back through the ether.

I’ve finally, finally reached that point where writing is a happy compulsion. I knew it was there; it just needed one tiny inconvenience to nudge it awake — in this case it meant having to carry my laptop to the kitchen and hook it up to a LAN cable.  The old stand and surf also has an added benefit of making me more focused about what I’m looking for online.

Other people have more control over their online life. I didn’t.  And when you don’t have control, particularly in cases of technology, it’s sometimes best to downgrade. Throw a shoe in the loom, replace that microwave with a conventional oven. The food’s still there. It’s just better.