What I’m Reading: God is Dead, 1

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Sweet cover design. Neat concept. Not 100% original as a premise.
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This might be the end of the world but at least I’ve got this tube top. Also who wears fishnet arm warmers? This was published in 2013. There’s no reason for fishnet arm warmers. Bonus: Her role is that of armed personal assistant to a bunch of old genius atheists who call themselves The Collective. This is my first hint that I’ve just stumbled across /r/atheism’s clandestine fantasy file: The world is being overrun by religious idiots, and it’s up to us and one poorly dressed sexpot with guns to stop them.
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Women as status symbols … just because.
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And who doesn’t enjoy a little chortle over the machismo of the U.S. military?

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But I do love when the Hindu gods show up.

On the other hand, it’s fiction. I will at least leaf through the second issue in the comic shop.

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What I’m Reading: I Love Trouble, 1

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OK, so I mostly picked it up for the cover design. You know you love that typeface and those colors.
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I don’t know how to take a picture of paper quality, but I really like this paper and the art style.
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The main character, Felicia, is someone I can at least relate to a little bit, what with being female and liking to drink on planes.

I’ll probably buy the second issue when I go to the comic shop again. It’s like $3. Why wouldn’t I?

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What I’m Reading: Ada by Gertrude Stein

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Ada
by Gertrude Stein

Purchased at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, MD.
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I don’t want to ruin it by trying to tell you about it.

I think it’s about finding a way to love and be happy. The writing is hypnotic, and Stein’s sparse language points out just how much we don’t have to say. Every time a character says nothing, they say everything.
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The artwork throughout is beautiful, but I want you to see that for yourself.

 

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Weekly Assignment: Just Start

START Great Lakes Naval Museum April 24, 201013

Once upon a time, I had a really sweet client who knew I was a writer and would occasionally ask how my writing was going. I didn’t really think he grasped what it meant to be a writer (because I am a snob), so I would always answer in some short, generic way that discouraged him from asking too many questions. I’d say, “Oh, it’s going OK. I’m doing a little freelance work here and there, but nothing very interesting.” Once, I told him I was working on a book and he told me he always wanted to write a book.

“Why don’t you?” I asked.

“I know it’s crazy, but I’m afraid I would get a deal where I have to write like two or three books, and I’d get writer’s block for the second book.”

RUN Great Lakes Naval Museum April 24, 201015

I actually laughed (again, because I’m kindof a jerk). That would be a lovely problem to have, but his real problem was that he talked himself out of starting.

Just start, guys. You don’t know where it’s going to lead. You might not even finish the project, much less get a contract and earn money for it. Publishers aren’t exactly handing out multi-book contracts like candy these days. The world will not know to miss your creativity if you never try.

If your fear is that you won’t be able to finish the project, try and set that aside long enough to start. You will start many many projects in your lifetime, and not all of them will get finished. You may find that the project isn’t what you thought it would be. You might put it aside after only a couple hours of work. But the sooner you start, the sooner you can find out and, if necessary, move on to the next one.

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Weekly Assignment: Read Out Loud

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One of the most self-indulgent things I love to do is read out loud. I do it sometimes just to hear my own voice. When no one is in the house but me and the cat, I take my favorite books and pace around the living room reading as though I had an audience hanging on my every word. This takes reading and writing out of the realm of a purely mental exercise and makes it a multi-sensual experience, engaging the ears, the breath, the voice, and even the full body as I pace, book in hand.

My poetry teacher in college said that at the end of each semester, after all the finals were taken and graded, she would go back to her apartment alone and read all of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl out loud. Personally, I love to read from ee cummings’s i: six nonlectures, but also anything by Ginsberg or the other beat poets works really well. I enjoy the sound of my own voice, the way words have a different effect hanging in the air and echoing off the walls than they do just lying there on the page. Furthermore, with a poet like cummings, hearing the words out loud makes them make more sense to me.

This week, take one of your favorite books and start reading out loud. Not sure where to start? Try anything by Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein. Maybe a favorite spiritual reading or a speech by someone you admire. Or use your own writing — reading your work out loud is a great way to figure out where the little phrasing snags are and smooth out your rhythm.

Luxuriate in the sound of your own voice. Feel the power of the spoken word. Notice whether you seem to take on the qualities of the author or narrator you’re speaking for. When I do this, my cat always comes to listen, and he expresses a clear preference for certain poets — he hates Marianne Moore, or at least the way I read her, but he rather enjoys Sylvia Plath.

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