What I’m Reading This Week (4/6)

Okay, so I may be a tad bit biased in the fact that I’m reading through my own book this week…but don’t worry, from poignant essays on identity to notes from editors about poetry rejections (and plenty in-between!) here’s what grabbed my attention this week.


“What I’m Reading This Week,” is a collection of quotes, excerpts, articles, thoughts, images and ideas I’ve stumbled across in the last seven days, organized for your browsing pleasure. 😊 Here’s where you can find additional weeks.

If anything interests, excites, frustrates, confuses you, etc. feel free to leave a comment below and we can talk! (Love hearing from all of you!)

What I’m Reading This Week:

1. This awesome bulletin of essays on writing/characters/fiction writing, etc.

“I’m always thinking, What doesn’t the character know? Often, the tension that drives a story comes from the fact that the character is being kept in the dark about something, or is perhaps in denial. That’s a very powerful engine.”

Andrew Porter

“What most interests me is surprise, discovering a capacity for something—tenderness, violence, duplicity, hope—within a character that I didn’t expect to find. For me, this is profoundly different and infinitely more compelling than a character who “changes.”

Bret Anthony Johnston

“What has always thrilled and terrified me, in equal measure, about fiction is that if we do it well enough, we can have any kind of world we want. It is all ours to make.”

Laura van den Berg

2. This intriguing essay about ‘humanizing’ people in literature and what that implicitly means.

“In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that immigrants, documented or not, can be detained indefinitely without right to a bond hearing, I’ve been thinking a lot about the crystallization of an American second class and the way we produce and consume narratives about class and race generally in contemporary American literature. Specifically, what we talk about when we talk about “humanizing” marginalized people. Does the act of attempting to humanize anyone implicitly infer that they’ve been subhuman in the writer’s gaze to begin with?”

3. This powerful, personal blog post regarding a pending lawsuit between Puckermob and their contributing writers.

According to Nicole Clements, the author, her writing (as well as writing from many other contributors) have been used and shared without payment. As a creative and writer, I can’t let this go unshared. The writers have set up a GoFundMe account for their lawyer fees, and for the cost of a cup of coffee, you could really make a difference for their careers and futures.

4. This poignant essay “The Something I Am Telling You,” by Ellen Adams.
This essay is a previous winner of the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest (Non-Fiction), and tells the story of the narrator discovering a tumor in her brain with rawness, elegance, and bittersweet beauty. A powerful read.

5. This segment of editors explaining the whys behind poetry rejections.

“Try to think of finding a journal for your work as a process in which you have agency. Truly, carefully read the journals you’re submitting to as though you’re picking them. The close reading I think of as so important for reading submissions is also so important for sending submissions; think about places where your work could find a home, and think about what kinds of homes your poems dream of.” — Sumita Chakraborty

This is pretty applicable to all genres of writing and I appreciate the insight because it reaffirms what I personally believe in, as an editor myself.

6. And for some shameless self promotion… my book, Somewhere On A Highway.

I’ve been reading more excerpts/poems at my local Open Mic Nights (at Lazy Hummingbird) and doing some book giveaways! I’m really proud of this book, and it’s actually be out ONE YEAR this month!

I’d love to see what you guys think about the book – whether you’ve read it (and would you be willing to give it a review on Goodreads or Amazon?!) or you’re thinking about purchasing it (which you can do HERE) I’d love to hear from you guys.

Otherwise, what’s caught your attention this week? What have you been reading?

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