free idea x 2

speculative fiction about a society in which there are no contests of any kind.

here’s another one, how to make some money learning something new. offer a class people pay for in a thing you want to learn — you are not an expert but you are “expert adjacent” and you learn together. like for me it would be a class where we all learn to make radio documentary/audio/podcasty pieces– I have never done it but I know a lot about storytelling and I have listening experience… I guess I’d need a TA who could learn tech.

Actually, those ideas are not that good. So, yes, totally free.

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character and stuff such as action

I can not even access content until certain aspects of form are resolved. With genre some of those considerations are in place and as a fiction writer I was always not taking for granted a lot of what most workshops did. It takes a long time for me to find form as an aspect of engaging content, the initial content, which changes or gets specific as form takes form. So it often feels like I can’t really think about characters except as placeholders, or meaning/implication in any significant way until I have a lot of other decisions made. Characters have to arise and resolve from the writing by feel perhaps more than any other element. It’s almost the opposite (not reverse I don’t think but my bad logic stutters here) of “character is action” but with the same result.

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I watched the first season with fascination during a time a few years ago when I was spending days in a mental hospital visiting someone I love. Recently, I watched most of the rest of it– well, I watched some and read some summaries when I started getting weirded out by what I was seeing. I imagined writing the story of homeland: a tv show that runs for five seasons rooting for the cia and killing off its brown cast members. It gets embarrassed when set designers call it racist in Arabic graffiti they can’t read and attempts to change the politics of its story in response b/c embarrassment is the most powerful force in tv America. ie Even when its topics are mental illness and terrorism, it’s embarrassment that ends up mattering to the people who make the story.

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About novel and the underglaze of reference and the theoretical. An ongoing uneasiness and sometimes terror of not knowing and not understanding and being uninterested in or incapable of understanding in the ways that variously exist or are performed by scholars in my life since college and in the culture of the department I’ve worked in for 14 years. It is related to the way I’ve always felt one foot in and out of mainstream literary when opposed to so called avant- grade traditions (it’s so nice to have it so publicly pointed out how exclusively white-male that tradition has been described as and how false that is and like slap on the forehead no wonder I was always not really feeling wholly part of either– one was so straight and aesthetically choked and one was filled with boys I thought I should want to date but just couldn’t actually bear and then within each, this or that book I could love, this or that tidbit of a life story I could connect to in a direct way, and therefore claiming as my ground indirect connections to everything and that forming my aesthetic and probably my politics too)  but over time those categories feel increasingly blessedly irrelevant to a visible chunk of culture— other in-betweenies. But simultaneously as I see a potential home for me among writers I see it less in my job and worry about its role in my work. I am not sure how swank hotel maps these concerns but I know it does and I don’t know if that makes it a better or worse book than it could be. My job is my way to have money and such a large part of my way to have interactions with people. What does that do over time?

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thank the good lord above

for editorial comments.
since a good meeting last week  it feels like I rewrote the hell out of the first chapter– which I think I first wrote in 2010? And rewrote 2-3 times per year ever since?– this time in concentrating on a methodical, what I hope reads like pulsing progression forward through the front-story with very clear dips into the past, very clear past-pushing-into present. I also was able to pull out a lot of the passages that have always felt were merely “explain-y” and trying too hard and filled with details I was never that into that I am now hoping were actually distracting. My plan is next to move on to the Frank chapter and take it OUT of his perspective, and continue focussing on a kind of “river with eddys” image of time instead of the conceptual knot or bow I’ve been after.
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tv sincere

could I ever write something like poems (but not poems) for/to television sincerity by which I mean the kind that can only be produced within or b/c of the layers of banality and scriptednesses– I saw in your eyes that there was weight in your shoulders…

but more than malaprop, and uninterested in irony for itself, and what– ok– more bachelor– what it does to a person who is born into and then cultivates a generic tv body/physical form– and then learns or adopts the character and language over a lifetime of earnest ambition–

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a description

thinking fairly regularly about this peculiar, formative, and possibly ruinous reading habit I developed as a child of skipping names and dates. Can you believe it? Something in my brain rejected the abstract at such a basic level that I just didn’t or couldn’t feel like I was comprehending my reading unless I ignored those elements– which I think just took a lot of brainpower for me. I have very clear memories of skimming them– casting them aside as I went through a sentence in fonts I can easily picture. Memorize, was the feeling– I did not want to interrupt my reading to memorize. Names and dates do get in, cumulatively, but do not get in unless embodied or repeated– ie get in iteratively–or as an effect of being central or core enough to the whole reading experience that I /understand/ a name or a specific time marker. I have basically no cognition of names and dates as containers of meaning, and find the very notion of, or sense of anticipation of the effort of retaining them mildly but distinctly physically repulsive.

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I can’t tell if I’m sad or my shoulder just hurts. Sent ms to agent to send to editor to see. Don’t know how I feel about the book vs how the book is to/for me, so don’t understand how this feels, to show it to the people I have in the industry with these confused feelings.

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people taking pictures in museums

Used to enjoy, for spectacle and imagining the lives of people beyond to me, the people in museums taking glamour shots of each other from “fashion” to porny fashion. I think there is some kind of custom where a guy and a girl go on a date where the activity is “you dress up sexy, and I’ll take your picture with a real camera.” Then they go somewhere with a view or the museum. This different museum-photo category from ‘me with art’ vacation people. But they are starting to just really piss me off, like breeding cats for decor.  I think my mood about it is linked to the anti-gay-cake-maker-as art and the white house asking for the van gogh and being offered a gold plated toilet.

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audiobook scorecard

Stopped listening b/c the reader was so bad and then bought the book: The Abundance, Annie Dillard

Stopped b/c didn’t trust the translation on the sentence level: The Vegetarian, Han King. Should I try it again? At least the sentences unfold at a pace that suits the audio form…

Stopped listening for several reasons that don’t mean I won’t try to read it on the page at some point but I’m really more interested in the stories: Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders, read by a celebrity cast.

Finished with frustration with book: Station Eleven. Seriously, that’s all that happened with that premise? I am sure I will meet her someday and feel lousy for hating this book so much but there it is– why should I feel social anxiety just b/c we probably have friends in common? Plenty of people who might like me as a lunch date would probably hate my books and it doesn’t bother me in any important way at all. But what a narrow view of the world to be so prized by so many. Also the YA book The Giver, which I kept listening to b/c a friend who I admire said it was so important to her but I just hated it.

Stopped listening with frustration with book: Fifteen Dogs, Andre Alexis. I loved the first pages, was interested in the premise, appreciated the sentences and wanted to be in them, thought the reader was terrific, but omg GENDER stuff I couldn’t get around hearing simple and boring misogyny, and so many other smaller-scale choices that frustrated me about what to assume versus disrupt about natural vs cultural behavior.

Finished with gladness for having listened: Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer, The Sellout, Paul Beatty, The First Bad Man, Miranda July, Btwn the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Chandler the long goodbye read by Elliot Gould– not the stupid dramatized version everyone gave more stars to– Gould was great.

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