Sunday, March 11, 2018

For the Writing Workshop: John Oliver Simon and Nicanor Parra; Margaret Dulaney's "The Child Door"; Latest Stance on Twitter; Ten Hands

This year I continue to post on Mondays, the second Monday of the month being dedicated to a post for my writing workshop students and anyone else interested in creative writing. 

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John Oliver Simon has passed away, a great loss to the translation and poetry community in California and abroad, especially Mexico. Read his obituary here.

Back in 2008, for Tameme, I published John Oliver Simon's translation of a chapbook by Mexican poet Jorge Fernández Granados, Los fantasmas del Palacio de los Azulejos / Ghosts of the Palace of the Blue Tiles. Read an interview with him about that here.

And over at her blog, Holding the Light, poet and translator Patricia Dubrava remembers Chilean poet Nicanor Parra.

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Some questions for you, dear creative writer:
How would you want your obituary to read?
What creative works would you be most proud of, and why?
Which ones would you not want to leave unfinished, no matter what?

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Playwright, essayist and mystic Margaret Dulaney's monthly podcast, Listen Well, offers her beautifully written and beautifully read personal essays. (Check out her book, To Hear the Forest Sing: Musings on the Divine.) Dulaney's latest offering, "The Child Door," should be of special interest for anyone who might need a nudge for their creative process.

> Click here to listen to Margaret Dulaney's essay, "The Child Door."

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For those looking to publish, I warmly recommend signing up for Jane Friedman's free and choc-packed-with-valuable information newsletter, Electric Speed.

You can follow her blog, too.

Her new book, The Business of Being a Writer, will be published this month by University of Chicago Press.

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See "Twitter Is" by C.M. Mayo
As I slog through the backlog of email and, concurrently, contemplate the transcendent role of technology in Far West Texas and American and Mexican culture and my life (e.g., last week's post, Notes on Stephen Talbott's The Future Does Not Compute), I've been noodling about social media, Twitter in particular.

Back in 2009 when it was sparkly new, I wrote a celebratory essay about Twitter for Literal. I stand by what I said; Twitter has its creative possibilities. But then as now, to quote myself:
Fster than a wlnut cn roll dwn t roof of a hen house, were gng 2 see t nd of cvlizatn
It has become increasingly clear to me that, considering Twitter's attention-fracturing, addictive qualities, and general yuckiness (hashtag mobs, trolls, etc), on balance, it's not for me.

In fact, I sincerely wish that I had never bothered setting up an account with Twitter in the first place.

But I have not deleted my account, cmmayo1, because, after all, I have a goodly number of followers and therefore, when I run a guest blog, book review, or Q & A, I will tweet the URL to that post as a courtesy to the author. And I know that there are still a few thoughtful, readerly and writerly souls out there, checking in on their Twitter feed, now and then, who may see such tweets and find them of interest and value. You know who you are.

[UPDATE JANUARY 2018: I dislike Twitter's attention-fracking mobdom intensely, however I have decided to keep the account @cmmayo1 to tweet as a courtesy to those writers who have given me a Q & A; as a courtesy to their publishers; and, when the occasion calls for it, which is very rare indeed, I'll tweet as a courtesy to my publishers. That's it. I prefer to invest what I think of as my "communication writing energy" in this blog, email and, yeah verily, snail mail.]

P.S. Everything I have to say about Facebook I said here.

P.P. S. Nicholas Carr has two extra-extra-crunchily crunchy pieces on Twitter in Politico, this one in 2015 and this one in January 2018.

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Today's 5 minute writing exercise is "Ten Hands":

Describe five different pairs of hands. (Some things to consider might be color; texture; shape; symmetry; condition; scars; tattoos; jewelry; etc.) For each pair of hands assign a name and a profession.

> Help yourself to 364 more free five minute writing exercises on my workshop page here.

P.S. As ever, you can find many more resources for writers here, and recommended reading on the creative process here.

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> Your comments are always welcome. Write to me here.