Thursday, November 20, 2014

Yeah, I Decoupaged a Typewriter

In general, I’m a big fan of the Olivetti aesthetic. The Lexikon 80, the Lettera 22 and 32, are sleek and gorgeous, and the Valentine romps in my dreams like a far-too-expensive lover.
I’m far less enamored of the boxy look of the Lettera 33, and the Lettera 31 (aka The Dora) is downright ugly, especially in the all-too common putty color. I picked up a Dora last year some time, cleaned it up and freshly beribboned it, and was sad to see it’s also not a spectacular typing machine. It works, sure, but it feels cheap. I’ve heard similar things about the action of the Valentine, but at least it’s nice to look at.

So, I took my Dora and decoupaged it.

I’m also a big fan of the work of mystery dean Robert B. Parker, and I have a bad habit of picking up extra copies of his books whenever I see them on the used-book racks and bins. I decided to dedicate the Dora to Parker (and name it after him) by adorning the thing with pages from two of my favorite Spenser novels “Ceremony” and “Taming a Seahorse,” both part of the April Kyle trilogy.
Take pages, add Mod Podge, and -- tah-dah -- a somewhat more interesting typewriter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Queen City (NH) is Having a Type-In!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

On Writing: 15,000 Down, 35,000 More to Go

Nine days into my first NaNoWriMo with a typewriter, I've learned a few things. One, I am possibly the worst typist in the world. There's not a paragraph, nay, not a sentence, without some kind of egregious typo. Secondly, I find it a lot easier to get into the fabled "zone" on a typewriter. I turn on some jazz, make a cup of tea, and crank out page after page of (slightly garbled) fiction. 
I banged this out on an Olympia SG1, the "Mercedes" of desktop typewriters.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

On Writing: Back in the Saddle ... Again

The first step in solving a problem is admitting one exists, and I see, by the dates of my last half dozen posts, that I have one. Or several.
I haven’t written much in the past twelve months. I have had a ton of ideas, but few have made it even partially onto the page. My Duotrope submission tracker has gone cold, and there’s a thick coating of dust on my guitar. The state of this blog speaks for itself.
I'm using this 46-pound machine as a life raft. Wish me luck! (Picture is from the Machines of Loving Grace website.)
I have the usual excuses: I got busy. I got sick. Blah-blah-blah-life. All three are true, but I let those excuses get in the way of the work. Maybe it was unavoidable, maybe not. It’s as hard to tell from the Look-Back End as it was from the In-The-Midst-of-the-Muddle View.

Friday, December 20, 2013

On Writing Repost: The Creativity Equation

I teach creative writing at a large public school, and there's not a day that goes by when I don't hear one student or other whinge about “not being creative” or not knowing “what to write about.” On those occasions I give them my patent-pending Creativity Equation: Character A plus Situation B equals Story, which is greater than the sum of A plus B, or A+B=S>A+B.
This equation falls under the nonlinear algebraic subgroup “magic math,” which most students are not familiar with. So, I dumb it down to an axiom: Creativity is the ability to link two points into a not-yet existent third. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Teaching: A Little Slam Action

I stole these slams from my fourth-block creative-writing class. They did all the work. I just pushed "record."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

On Writing: Why the 'Why Write Project'?

My life has been full of them since my last post. The quiet little role I anticipated at the NewHampshire Writers Project has expanded, as has my work with the Amoskeag Journal. Meantime, I spent the summer revising a novel, plunking away at short stories,  revising my website, and puttering around the house.
Oh, and I now officially collect typewriters and became a biographer of literary rock star Wiley Cash.
The day job got back in full swing come August, which claimed about two-thirds of my time and energy.  Unlocking the door to my classroom (and a tired and bleary cheeseburger break with my wife) was the impetus for my latest brainchild, The Why Write Project. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Blues: Seven Days, Five Books, Some Other Stuff

I closed the door of my classroom approximately 168 hours ago, and it will remain shut (barring trips back for reference material) until August 26. Since the door closed I've hosted one barbecue, attended one wedding, attended one Makers of Manchester meeting, met one Rhodes Scholar for a beer, spent three days in curriculum-development workshops for a new Freshman Writing class, shared one KC’s Rib Shack platter with my wife, slept about fifty hours, started breaking in a new messenger bag, played three hours of (mostly losing) poker, watched three episodes of The X Files, wrote a couple of thousand new words of fiction, plowed through the new Rolling Stone and Poets & Writers, and read five books.
I feel pretty good about the week, but I have a mixed reaction to the books.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Writing: A Story’s Story

This week I have a story running in Fiction Vortex, a new publication interested in SF and fantasy of a “literary” bent. They’re nice folks, and I like the (twice-weekly) stories they’ve published thus far.
My story is called A Feeble Gleam of Stars, and it’s been around a while. I dug through my flash drive and Google Doc files to try to figure out how long. Note: To avoid the possibility of spoilers, read the story before you continue this post.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What I'm ... (May 24, 2013)

I’ve been on a “dirty realism” kick this month: Charles Bukowski’s Ham on Rye, a bunch of Ray Carver short stories, and The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake. I’ve long been a fan of grit -- as any oyster can tell you it’s the only way to get a pearl – and stories of doggedness.  Life’s default is “not pretty and generally unsatisfying.” Happy endings and happiness itself are fleeting.  We can learn a lot from fiction that refuses to sugarcoat that, while still revealing the pearls -- the shiny bits that make it worth the work.

I picked up Michael Chabon’s The Wonderboys for $1 at the supermarket donation bin the other day. So far, so good.

I also received my contributor copy of Something Wicked Vol. 2. It looks good and, may I say, there’s something mightily satisfying about seeing your name in an other-published book. You can get the ebook (published by Random House Struik) on Amazon  or preorder the paperback via Barnes & Noble. I haven’t read it yet, but I have looked at the pictures. Did I mention every story has an illustration?

I’m still punching and scraping my way through the latest revisions of Leaving Home. I have vowed not to write anything new until I get that together, revise the synopsis, and get the book back into the ring. You can do it, Rock!

Listening to: 
The new Bowie album.
A chum recommended the new Daft Punk, but I gave up on it and listened to Parliament instead.

Batman Beyond … In the future, Batman is still around, but he’s a kid in high school. Great visual style plus crusty, old Bruce Wayne.

HiCu – Magic Hat’s cucumber/hibiscus ale. In a summer variety pack near you. Light and weird.