Grumpy Words

January 4, 2009

writerly resolutions

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Sorry this is way after-the-date, but I forgot how to post on the blog so please pretend it’s New Years Day again…

It’s Shira, your long lost blogger here (well, if writing two entries a year ago makes me a blogger…), but I plan on being very present in ’09!

My junior year craziness has made me lose sight of what it really means to write as a form of therapy, to write purely for the sake of writing, to write to make sense of myself. Without Morgan or Girls Write Now, I seriously fear that I would never take a pen to paper for the sake of original thoughts.

So, this new years, I am not making a self-improvement resolution (face it: those only damage the self-esteem of the creative); I am making a self-acceptance resolution. The act of writing allows me to accept myself as I am in the present, no strings attached. The reason I, as a writer, struggle with self-improvement resolutions is because writing is about documenting the past and present. Self-improvement is about being ashamed of the past, dumping it, and reworking the present to shape the future. But that is not how writers write. Whether it is fiction, poetry, or journalism, I do not write to predict the future; my writing unravels the future.

I did a few things here and there for New Years Eve, but nothing big and I was a little restless. Then, at around 11pm, I accepted myself. I accepted that I was inside on this freezing New Years Eve and that I was inside specifically to write.

The residue of trying to push unwilling words out from the keyboard when writing my application essays for a summer program, I was faced with writer’s block. Upon exploring my packed bookshelf, I emerged with my glorious copy of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Though I have read these pages before, they seemed like new possibilities when I perused them last night.

I chose the first writing prompt on Goldberg’s list of 15: Tell about the quality of light coming in through your window. Jump in and write. Don’t worry if it is night and your curtains are closed or you would rather write about the light up north—just write.

And that is just what I did. I wrote two beautifully pointless original pages in my relatively new journal (an amazing gift from my two great friends for my seventeenth birthday) and I understood what I needed to understand: that my presence lies on the page, that I have an amazing writerly support system in this book and in Girls Write Now. Knowing that I have this support to rely on, I can resolve to write for the present, to write for me (and, of course, for this blog of which I can hope for new readers).

Does anyone else have any readerly or writerly resolutions for ’09?


November 18, 2008

Finding time for fiction

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I never thought I’d say this, but…

I have too many books to read.

I know, it’s blasphemy. And it’s a good problem to have! But I’ve just been signing up for some new blog assignments for my corporate life, and most of them require me to read some awesome new books that are coming out early next year. Plus, a coworker friend of mine has a book coming out in March, and she’s just given me a hot-off-the-press copy. So my pile keeps growing, a nice blend of yet-to-be-released YA books, some highly-reviewed contemporary novels, and a bestseller or two.

In between them, though, I’m trying to write my NaNoWriMo stuff (uh…trying would be the operative word there), and to organize my “real” novels I’ve been working on for a year+, and now, I’m obsessed with villanelles and sestinas after Saturday’s Girls Write Now poetry workshop. It’s tough, y’all. There is no time to do all of this, but it’s all so amazing, that I’m trying my best.

I have a sinking feeling that I won’t get anywhere near the 50K word deadline for NaNoWriMo, though, but I had fun trying. Maybe I’ll post bits and pieces of what I’ve done here when the month is over.

June 20, 2008

Summer Reading, Summer Writing

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Shira here. My main summer reading tradition for the past 5 years has been Harry Potter. I’m talking the hard core over-excitement for the new book to come out that I just get too impatient to wait excitement. I then proceed to reread the books backwards until the new one FINALLY comes out. As for now, adios to Harry, Ron, and Hermoine for this summer. With the help of Facebook’s Visual Bookshelf (don’t laugh), I have created a list of my hopeful summer reads. Plus, with my I’m-going-to-Spain-and-therefore-have-no-cash issue, I  cleared my debt at the public library AND learned how to reserve books. This library need is heightened by the closing of my favorite local bookstore: Paperbacks Plus. It’s a sad literary fall to start off the summer with, though I encourage everyone to support it in its final days.  On my list for this summer are Sisterhood Interrupted by Deborah Siegel, young skin Wise Mind OLD SOUL by Amanda Diva, Daughter of York by Anne Easter Smith, and The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. In other words, a lovely mix of feminist lit and tudor novels.

I, like Morgan, also hope to WRITE MORE over the summer. Now that I am finally done with school and have over a week until Spain, I hope to immerse myself in my old and rough GWN portfolios to do some polishing, revising, and developing. If I get around to this between packing, shopping, and readying, I hope to drag all my unfinished pieces to fields of Central Park or Wave Hill. I am very excited!!! Also, I hope to start a chapbook with Morgan for the GWN summer project. Do you have an exciting summer writing itinerary?

April 16, 2008

The New York Times

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Girls Write Now was just featured in the NY Times – check it out here. A great read! 

Hello world!

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Welcome to Grumpy Words, a blog born out of our weekly meetings at a little place called Cafe Grumpy in Chelsea. Who are we? We’re Morgan and Shira, a mentor/mentee pair and part of Girls Write Now. This blog is a place for us to store some of the writing we work on together, expand on already-existing pieces or create new ones, and just generally talk about writing, books, and whatever else comes our way. 



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