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Tag: writing

Book review: Push

Push: A Novel

Brutal, ugly, horrific. Eloquent, beautiful, inspiring. Those are the conflicting emotions conjured up while reading this novel. Sapphire’s thoughtful and innovative prose brings Precious Jones – an illiterate 16-year-old with two children from her father – to life, draws you into her tragic world and carries you through her journey of making her life her own for the first time.

Here’s the premise: “Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this “horrific, hope-filled story” (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.”

Similar to Hubert Selby Jr.’s Requiem for a Dream, Push ignores conventional grammar and spelling rules so as to give the reader a first-hand account of Harlem life through the eyes of Precious. This approach is extremely effective, and I highly recommend this novel. The story is grim and real, but incredibly hopeful. Certainly not for the faint-hearted, but a powerful testimony to the life-changing power of language.

News flash: Book release!

Last November, I received an email from two friends: Dave Lukas and Andrew Zahn.

“What if . . .

– What if three guys that never met in person collaborated?
– What if they all found something they were mutually passionate about and felt compelled to share with others?
– What if they wrote together online and created something hilarious . . . or poignant . . . or terrible . . . or amazing . . . or devastating? Or none of those things. Or all of them.
– What if we talked more about what it might or might not be?”
There was a catch: We had never met in person, and had no idea if we could even work together. Still, we gave it a whirl. Nearly a year later, we’re proud to present the fruit of our labor:

Man Speak Final

Man Speak is a sometimes-serious/sometimes-funny discussion of what it means to be a man today – written by three guys in three different time zones, all at three very different stages of life. It truly was an honor collaborating with these guys and am very proud of our work. We put in many, may hours of Google hangouts, writing assignments, revisions and subsequent meetings, and I hope you enjoy the resulting conversations.

Advice to writers: Write, don’t guess.

Don’t try to guess what sort of thing editors want to publish or what you think the country is in a mood to read. Editors and readers don’t know what they want to read until they read it. Besides, they’re always looking for something new.

– William Zinsser

Advice to writers: Read ceaselessly.

Hello, world. I’ve missed you.

I’ve definitely neglected this blog lately, and for that I am sorry. However, I have a (somewhat) decent excuse: I’ve been reading far too much!

Novels have taken up the majority of my time, but I also love reading up on advice from other writers. Today, I stumbled across this gem from David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker: Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Reading literature makes us better thinkers.

I stumbled across a fascinating study today, claiming that reading literature helps encourage creativity and “sophisticated thinking” due to fostering a growing comfortableness with ambiguity. Here’s the heart of the findings:

“Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.

Fortunately, new research suggests a simple anecdote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Editors can be your best friend.

A year ago, I wrote a post called “Everyone needs an editor – including me” which (to my delight) sparked some great conversation about the process of refining the storytelling process. Today, I stumbled across this short, simple video clip which, although it refers to film, does a great job explaining the symbiotic relationship between editors and content.

Perhaps more than anything, it drives home the point that writing and telling stories is not a one-person process. And that’s what I love about editing: working together to see the larger vision, identifying (and removing or revising) any content that takes away from that vision and refining the content into a beautiful story. I count it a great privilege to play a role in this process.

 

Shameless self-promotion: I love editing. Hit me up? 🙂

Be a sublime fool.

To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.

You must write every single day of your life.

You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, it’s true.

What projects are you working on? What future works are you planning out?

Insta

Feedback is humbling and rewarding.

It’s humbling and rewarding to hear people interact with the story, characters and themes contained within Eastbound Sailing. Here’s what Lisa Taylor had to say:

“I received [Eastbound Sailing] in the post yesterday, but was unable to begin reading until my lunch hour today. Eight chapters in, I left the book in the car so as not to get caught reading at my desk. In the 2 hours since arriving home I have completed it. Not because it is frothy, cotton candy fiction, but because i was ensnared by the first page. Chapter after chapter beckoned me to come in further. Until tears stung in my eyes and pain stabbed at my heart. Read the rest of this entry »