Tag Archives: writing

Weekly rundown 1/23

Inspired by friendĀ Lindsay’s new posting style,Ā I’m shooting for a weekly update schedule to account for what I’ve been doing lately.

What I’ve been reading:

  • A Bug in the System, from last year’sĀ New Yorker. Food safety is so gross and fascinating, and this actually grabbed the part of me that’s interested in legal nuances, which is touuuugh to do. Bill Marler is one of those rare stories of someone who’s seized a legal specialty and has wound up doing sincere and needed heavy lifting in regulation reform.
  • The Last Days of Target Canada, amazing for its epic slow collapse as well as the multitude of things that went wrong, one right after another. How did they not know? It boggles the mind.
  • Again, on Lindsay’s advice in another post, I picked up the ebook Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Better, Faster WritingĀ by Rachel Aaron. Ā I am slowly preparing myself to tackle edits and (most definitely) rewrites on the Nanowrimo 2015 project, and I have realized that I need a tight set of strictures going into this. Good advice, and my thoughts on outlining (namely that it leads to books feeling like original 1960s episodes of Scooby-Doo) started to feel ready for a change.

  • This led me to find a copy of John Truby’s bookĀ The Anatomy of StoryĀ (it’s turtles all the way down when it comes to me and books, and do you see what I did there with the WorldCat record? LIBRARIANING!), which is like the Aaron book, but far more in-depth and with a greater variety of examples and things to consider.
    Continue reading Weekly rundown 1/23

Writing Prompt: Quarter, 1996, age 11.

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

The first coin I pulled was a nickel from 1964, so let’s have a good, firmĀ chuckle about me not being alive and move on to this quarter I managed to find that was made in 1996.

Pictured: not the actual quarter I found.

I always have to think hard about what grade I was in school for each year, because through some trickĀ of chance birth dates, they line upā€”first grade in 1991, second in 92. It’s easy to remember until I suddenly can’t think of whether I wasĀ entering those grades, or going out of them.

In the spring of 1996, I was leaving language immersion elementary school, where I had been with the same 23 kids for 6 years. I had been an exchange student to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the fall before, and had my 11th birthday miles and miles from home, a pool party with my host family and a Hello Kitty birthday cake with white frosting peaks. There was such a big deal made of our leaving 5th grade, I think mostly because we were all like siblings to each other, in the best and worst ways. We filled out questionnaires about ourselves, snapshots of our likes and dislikes at that age, and some PTA parent or another had them bound together like a unique class-only yearbook. I still have mineā€”filled with revisions to my original answers that I spent the summer carefully writing and scratching out, unsure what my favorite song was but pretty confident that it got frequent rotation on the local oldies station.

Transition to middle school was a different gameā€”surrounded by a whole universe of new people who hadn’t learned the names of human bonesĀ in Spanish. I remember taking other language classes by a quarter system (hey!) which meant the course was broken down into half-semester increments. I took French and German and liked them both for different reasons. I met Zannah, who sat behind me and was quiet and funny, and is living in New Zealand now. I met Judd, who had a disposable fountain pen, and somehow that changed my life. A girl with hair pulled back so tight I thought she must have had a permanent headache tried to bully me, threatening to jump me at my locker for some reason I don’t remember now, and I don’t think she lasted more than a year at that school.

There were good things and bad things, and I don’t like the number 1996 as much as I liked 1995, with its paradoxical evenness, but 1996 was alright.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”