Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I knew an old lady who swallowed a fly

I did something really awful yesterday and I need to get it off my chest.

I willingly allowed someone to accidentally swallow a fly.  Willingly and willfully.

A lady was sitting at a table at work.  She pulled out a donut.  She was talking to a couple of folks in the room.  As she was talking, she had her phone in one hand and the donut in the other.  A fly landed on the donut.  In my head I wondered if she would throw the donut away because the fly landed on it.  Then I realized that she didn't see the fly.  So then I thought, I wonder if she will see it before she eats it.  I wonder if she will shoo it away and eat it anyway.

After she finished talking, she raised the donut to her mouth.  By this time I was wondering which side of the donut she would eat.  The fly side or the clear side.  As it got closer to her mouth, I knew she was about to eat that fly.  I think it might have been stuck on the glaze.  Now I was completely fascinated. 

She put the donut to her mouth and took a big bite.  When her hand came down with the donut, the fly and the part of the donut it was resting on was gone.  She ate it. 

I said nothing.  She ate a fly and I let her.  I wonder if it was crunchy?  I wonder why I let that happen.  I can't even ask her what it tasted like.  What a waste . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

Black Writer's Reunion and Conference

Day 1:

I knew I should have blogged the night of the first conference day.  I always forget important stuff when I put it off.  But I shall do my best. 

 I went to "Learning to Layer" by Dr. Venise Berry who talked about avoiding some pitfalls new writer's have (e.g. lack of precision and clarity, unnecessary words, long words when short ones will do, etc)  I actively work on avoiding these things in my writing.  But I did learn something through the workshop,

Lesson 1:  Revise, Revise, Revise!  I think a lot of writing is "talent" but a good portion of it is hard work.  I try to rely on talent, whip out a quick 5 pages and expect it to be awesome.  Which in my opinion happens about 50% of the time.  I blame the instant gratification of blog posting and facebook where I post my stuff.  I don't usually go back to make it better.  I think this explains why even though I write some pretty good stuff, alot of the things I submit gets turned down.  I even submit stuff knowing I need to fix some things, but I submit without revising anyway.  It's a habit I intend to break.

At the conference there are basically two kinds of writers.  There are folks who write "urban fiction" and everybody else.  I'm not going to get into the difference between them because that would take a whole blog and I'm trying to be less verbose (lesson 1.5) but check out day 2 reflections . . .

During the workshop we had an activity where we had to build around a sentence.  The sentence was "This time was different".  Here was my layered paragraph:

Slumped over, legs askew nursing a bruise on her cheek.  She realized that she was surrounded by multi-colored daisies.  It struck her beautiful.  But this time was different.  This time the flowers were projectiles used to release rage.  Her husband had arrived home and caught her in a position that warranted the opposite of a surprise bouquet.  But now she was left alone, surrounded by flower petals still falling from her face and hair.  What a strange yet beautiful weapon.

I love writing exercises.  I'm learning to respect the craft more.  I am trying to delay gratification and resting on my random acts of awesome.  I'm learning that as confident as I am, I am still afraid to read my work aloud.  I am discovering I am a writing snob. I am learning that talking to folks about writing is just about the most fun in the world.

Day 2: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of the "Urban Fiction" Writer  Stay Tuned!