30 in 30: Day 10 (in which I ramble off into existential bullshit about the nature of writing)

A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. The book was assigned for a Creative Writing class I had back in 2004 (Hi, Vinnie). I took one look at it and rolled my eyes, thinking Whatever, I’ve been writing for years. What can this book possibly have for me?

Let it be said now, I was a fucking idiot when I was 17.

Goldberg’s book provided invaluable insights on the process of writing. I didn’t even think process was important, but the book made it clear that it was all there is. End result is nothing. Writing is life. You must live it.

I devoured the book. I read every inch of it and implemented practices from it into my life. It helped my writing grow in leaps and bounds.

Now, six and a half years later, I’ve pulled the book off my shelves again. I’m going to reread it. Implement the practices again, with six and a half years of knowledge added to my brain since the first time I read it. See what changes. See what I didn’t remember so well. See what I never forgot.

Being a writer is a neverending career. You never hit some imaginary level of “Grand Illustrious Master of the Pen” and then you’re done, no more advancement to go. There’s no level caps, and your achievements are more like Feats of Strength*** — they’re personal, things to look at and think “Yeah, I did that.” A lot of other folks — except your writer friends — won’t care.

And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. Writing may make you a hermit. What are you going to make of that? — that’s the question. (Shakespeare had it wrong.)

What I’m going to make of that is some damn good stories. And poems. It’s not about outward recognition — yes, I’m nervous when I do put my stuff out there, and that’s part of the process too, that trial by fire of can you stand by your work enough to put it out there and take the criticism, but that’s not why I write. It informs my writing and makes me a better writer — I never would have won the Slam had I not lost it first. But it’s not why I write.

I write because I have fire in the head. And I’ll burn if I don’t let it out.

Until later,
-your drugged up on painkillers Katje

 

***Yes I know I play too much WoW shutupshutupshutUP.

30 in 30: Day 09 (in which I hold back a rant and finish quickly — really, this is the first time that’s happened!)

Best scene ever

WARNING: MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS FOR KUSHIEL’S DART AHEAD.

(You’ve been warned.)

(Seriously, don’t read any further if you don’t want the ending of Kushiel’s Dart spoiled for you.)

And again, we explore my hopeless romanticism.

Continue reading “30 in 30: Day 09 (in which I hold back a rant and finish quickly — really, this is the first time that’s happened!)”

30 in 30: Day 08 (in which I’m just asking for some hatemail)

A book everyone should read at least once

The Bible.

I know, I know, it’s a total fucking cliche, right? And you never expected this from your favorite Witchy author, right?

I’m sorry to disappoint.

BUT.

Nearly everything in English literature is based off ideas found in the Bible — or based off a rejection of those ideas. Only in more contemporary work are we seeing people really start to move away from that influence. Reading the Bible — or, hell, reading the Cliff’s Notes version, for those of us who are not terribly masochistic — can deepen one’s understanding of favorite poems or stories in English lit.

Not to mention, reading the Bible will prepare you SO well for any English lit class you take. True story. I was there. And I was one of the few people in class who actually knew the Biblical stories being referenced in the stories we were reading — and I’m a Pagan.

So, seriously, if you appreciate literature and you want to deepen that appreciation, or if you’re about to take an English lit class and you’d like to be the smartest asshole in class (as I  am), I recommend reading or at least familiarizing yourself with the stories in the Bible. Another good option is the Classical myths, which are severely under-taught in schools, in my opinion. You know what, fucking read both. You can’t go wrong with that. Also Greek myths are full of great stuff like rape and incest and shit; real edge-of-your-seat thrillers. (The Bible is full of that stuff too, by the way.)

Not only that, it’s awesome to have actually read the Bible so when those door-to-door jerkwads* come by to tell you about Jesus Christ you can tell them off, cause I guaran-fucking-tee you you’ll probably have more knowledge about the book than they do at that point.

And if you are of the Christian stripe and you haven’t read the Bible**, you should so you can tell off that dumb Pagan kid who thinks he knows more about your religion than you do.

*I’m not religiously intolerant; I’m “Coming to my door at 8am on a fucking Saturday” intolerant.

**Seriously, guys?

Also, yes, I’m aware that the Old Testament is also known as the Torah and it is the book of the Jewish faith, and that the New Testament is really the Christian part. Those two books are usually referred to as “The Bible”, and that whole thing is used as the basis for Christian faith by most Christians, and that’s what I’m getting at here.

(Also, Rabbis don’t come to my door at 8am on a Saturday and ask if I’ve heard of the Shekinah. Though I will admit that would be pretty awesome if they did.)

30 in 30: Day 07 (in which I talk about those tricksy MFWs)

Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise

I honestly can’t think of a plot device employed by “way” too many books that I otherwise enjoyed, so I’ll just go with one that seems pretty common with, I don’t know, all the genres I’m into (not just books).

MAGICAL FUCKING WEAPONS!

The main characters aren’t powerful all by themselves, you see. They have to have a magical fucking weapon in order to get the job done. This is a very common plot device, not only in fantasy, but also in anime and manga and other shit I read or watch. Hells, sometimes it’s not magical but super-advanced science…which is magic, by the way.

COME AND GET YOUR MAGICAL FUCKING WEAPONS!

Rhapsody has her Daystar Clarion, a sword forged from a star. Ashe from the same series has a sword whose name I can’t remember that allows the user to breath underwater (much like my BOP Hydrocane in WoW). Many animes or mangas have some sort of magical fucking weapon (MOON PRINCESS ELIMINATION). Arthas has Frostmourne (hells, that magical weapon is like, the whole POINT of the story!).  Gaius Baltar has his cock that makes women’s spines glow red (now THERE’S a magical fucking weapon, eh?).

Even I have used this plot device (magical weapons, not Baltar’s cock). I have a magical weapon that doesn’t like to be touched by any save his mistress. Kind of kinky, I’m not going to lie.

So next time you pick up a book, take a look around for that MFW. It may be in the corner, hiding, not wanting you to see it…or it may be taking its clothing off and prancing down the street screaming “LOOK AT ME, I’M A MAGICAL FUCKING WEAPON! WOOOOOOOOOO! RUMSPRINGA!!”

30 in 30: Day 06 (in which I quickly get distracted just thinking about a certain Shalador Warlord)

Favorite book of your favorite series OR your favorite book of all time

My favorite series is The Black Jewels Series (not Dark Jewels, which it is commonly known as because the Pit of Voles had it listed as such, no doubt so they could get around the fact that the author explicitly requested no fanfiction be written at this time — now I see they’re being more brazen about it, bless their little hearts), by Anne Bishop. I’ll read anything she writes, honestly, and the only things of hers I’ve yet to read are The Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady. Mainly because of time and money.

My favorite book in the series (so far) is The Invisible Ring. Jared is just totally fucking dreamy; I almost want to jump into the book and jump him.

And yeah, that’s it. Fucking Jared. Goddamn hotness of EPIC PROPORTIONS.

I’ll be in my bunk.

30 in 30: Day 05 (in which I rag upon Eragon so hard I make him bleed from inappropriate places)

A book or series you hate

Oh man. This one is almost too easy. (I say ‘almost’ because there is a book/series that I actually hate more than the one I’m writing about now…but as I haven’t actually been able to bring myself to read the whole thing, and as there’s a lot of virulent hate for it already, I figured I’d go with the lesser-hated series.)

Eragon. Or the Inheritance saga, whatever the fuck. Has to be the worst writing I’ve ever read in my life. After I finished the first chapter I felt like someone had hit my head with a sledgehammer, repeatedly. Paolini was in high school when he finished the book, and you know what?

It shows.

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30 in 30: Day 04 (in which I’m late with the post but feck off it’s my birthday :P also I talk about Glenraven)

Your favorite book or series ever

So, I’m late with this post, but I figure y’all can fucking deal with it cause it’s my birthday today. (I’m 24. It was a frackin’ awesome day.)

My favorite book or series ever. This is a really, really hard choice. I have so many books that I just love to death and will read again and again. If I have to choose just one, however…

Glenraven, by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Holly Lisle.

Now. I will add, as a disclaimer, that is has been years since I read this book and I don’t recall all the details. My copy is, well, you guessed it, in a box somewhere, and I haven’t had a chance to unearth it and re-read it yet. However. I’m just going to say, in general, why I love this book so much. There are two reasons.

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30 in 30: Day 03 (in which I review PORN — I mean, part of the Kushiel series)

The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months

This one is harder to answer because I’ve read fewer books in the past year than I usually have. (Yes, you read that right.) Most of the books I’ve read have been non-fiction, which usually means that I haven’t actually finished them yet. And I have trouble picking a non-fiction book as the “best” that I’ve read, because that’s not how I measure their worth — I measure their worth in how USEFUL they are to me (also what KIND of useful — Silver RavenWolf’s books are good as doorstops or toilet paper, so are a lesser kind of useful than ones I’d actually get good knowledge out of…also SRW’s books could probably be classified as fiction, so I guess it’s sort of a moot point).

So. I haven’t read that many fiction books in the past year. That I can remember. I actually don’t really remember much from week to week.

Which means I’m choosing a book I just finished, because it’s fresh in my mind and it’s by one of my favorite authors. Kushiel’s Justice, by Jacqueline Carey.

Continue reading “30 in 30: Day 03 (in which I review PORN — I mean, part of the Kushiel series)”

30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)

Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

I’ve been putting off writing this post, because I was playing World of Warcraft. (You thought I was going to say something thoughtful or poignant, didn’t you? Silly. You should know by now.)

Truth is, there are a lot of books that I wish more people were reading and talking about — they range from actual literature to my own to feminist theory. The one I settled on is a piece of fiction.

Continue reading “30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)”

30 Books in 30 Days: Day 01 (in which I vehemently bash Acorna’s bloated corpse)

In the interest of whipping myself to blog more, I have stolen this meme from my friend Boudicca. I’ll try and do this within a month; of course I’ve chosen the worst month possible. But whatever; it should be fun.

Oh, and these posts are going to count for my GYWO, as they are not normal blog posts but an ongoing journaling project. (I’m not cheating; I’m being creative with the rules.)

Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)

This is easy. The Acorna series by Anne McCaffrey. The unicorn girl needs to die.

Acorna the Unicorn Girl was great. It was fun, and well written, with lovable characters. She’s a fucking unicorn girl! Awesome! She’s got a horn and shit! Super-awesome!

The first book made me want to read the second, and the third, which were also good. After we found Acorna’s peeps and it becomes apparent that she’s not just a freakish mutant, I think, “Yeah, okay, we’re good now.”

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.

Continue reading “30 Books in 30 Days: Day 01 (in which I vehemently bash Acorna’s bloated corpse)”