Canadian Library Month: Keep the Inspiration Going

It’s Halloween. It’s also the last day of Canadian Library Month. After the events pass, and we move into November, libraries will continue to do what they always do, depending on who they serve. They will provide access to resources, programming for those who need it, and information to those walking through the doors. Sometimes it’s to those clad in pajamas, sipping coffee from the comfort of their home.

People try to frame libraries in dollars and cents. It’s the symptom of today’s society to put things, and people, within a profit margin. What use are you? They ask What can libraries produce?  Libraries create a democratic society. They created writers, thinkers, and community. Libraries, like the downtown branch here in Winnipeg, see the price paid by people cut off from school libraries in their youth. Those same people come to public libraries feeling welcome for the first time in their lives. It’s why these same libraries, like Edmonton Public, expanding outreach services to connect people to social services along with reading materials. The price of doing otherwise makes the dystopias of Collins, Roth, and Huxley look like Disneyland.

Amid the databases and non-fiction books, fiction proves the best weapon against ignorance. (Yes, you read that right.) Ken Robert’s report, one I mentioned earlier this month, discusses the shift from consuming information to creativity. It’s not learning things by rote stimulating creativity, it’s reading a novel outside of one’s own experiences, perhaps sparking the next great idea:

People are increasingly aware that creative works feed creative minds and creative minds
are highly valued. (Roberts, 11)

What libraries advocate goes beyond bricks, books, and budgets. It does to the heart of what it means to truly be a democratic society, a place with access to information, innovation, and invention no matter a user’s background.

Off the Wall Offerings: Kindle release and What’s Next (Confirmed)

 In the Woods is Now On Kindle!

After converting our file to an ebook-friendly format, In the Woods uploaded to Kindle this week. The book retails for $3,99, and the cover photo links to the Amazon for easy browsing/purchasing. Off the Wall still has copies of the paperback version for $18.95, and at last count we had less than 20 copies left.

We learned a lot from writing and publishing this anthology. It’s one thing to write the stories, take the photographs, and compose the haiku. It’s quite another to take all those pieces and format it for e-book, or an Expresso Book Machine. The result for this process: Priceless.

What’s Next for Off The Wall?

We liked doing theme anthologies so much, we’re doing another one. This time we will go the e-book route, and we already have a theme:

Dystopian Stories

Look for details as we edge closer to our proposed Spring 2015 publication. In the meantime I hope people have enjoyed our collection, and feel inspired to get together with a group, and do one of their own. Why? It’s a bit like being in a band. We jam together, then go off to make our solo albums, and then come together again. It’s a way to keep the creative pump primed.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Chuck Wendig

I’m saying, sludge yourself into the ass receptacle and peck keyboard keys like a hungry chicken until it makes words. Tap tap tap. Click click click. Or pick up one of the tools used by our distant ancestors — it is a tube filled with the liquid black souls of all the animals we’ve made extinct — and use this “pen” as a scribe would to etch scribbly heretical word-shapes onto dead tree pulp.

In other words: shut up and write.

via Shut Up And Write (Or: “I Really Want To Be A Writer, But…”) « terribleminds: chuck wendig.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Jack Kerouac

Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
Submissive to everything, open, listening
Try never get drunk outside yr own house
Be in love with yr life
Something that you feel will find its own form
Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
Blow as deep as you want to blow
Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
The unspeakable visions of the individual
No time for poetry but exactly what is
Visionary tics shivering in the chest
In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Like Proust be an old teahead of time
Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
Accept loss forever
Believe in the holy contour of life
Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
You’re a Genius all the time
Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

via Jack Kerouac: 30 Cool Tips.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: George R.R. Martin

“The best writing advice I had was [in] ‘Heinlein’s Rules for Writers’ by (American science fiction author) Robert A. Heinlein. His first rule is that you must write, and I was already doing that, but his second rule is, ‘You must finish what you write,’ and that had a big impact on me.” – George R.R. Martin

via These Writing Tips From George R.R. Martin And Robin Hobb Are Just Epic.

Midweek Geekiness: Hobbits, and Heroes, and At-Home-Sick Oh My!

The sage advice series I put together last week to experiment with the sticky-post widget on WordPress. Good thing too as I am at home sick with pneumonia since October 20th. After a week of antibiotics, I have two puffers to open up my airways. Trust me, people take breathing for granted until they have trouble doing it. Two weeks ago I answered the phone at work, winded by a short distance from one side of the desk to another. The co-worker remarked about the state while I just thought need to go to the gym more…so out of shape.

I sit at home reading or sleeping. I did re-watch Series 1 of Sherlock. I also surfed Tumblr as the secretly 15 year-old woman I truly am. Oh my what things have emerged to dust off a Midweek Geekiness Post.

Marvel Causes Mayhem

It started with a ‘leak’. Marvel intended to release the trailer for Age of Ultron during yesterday’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, the trailer leaked and Marvel decided to release the trailer rather than take the clip down. They even has a cute tweet about it:

I have to tip my hat to Marvel’s public relations department. The planning that must have gone into leaking the teaser just right, then putting out a high-definition version on Marvel’s YouTube video, and saving the party scene only heard at Comic Con for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes an ingenuity making Tony Stark proud. They stoked the anticipation, a fire already banked thanks to the audio clips from San Diego, the ones Marvel really did take down. (Trust me I tried to make a post around it, and the clip would be gone by the next day.)

The teaser already has millions of hits, the party scene exclusive clip already amassed over a million views on the official YouTube sight. Add the announcement about the slate of phase three films through to 2018, Hawkeye FINALLY having lines, and another clip floating around the internet about the ‘Civil War’ storyline between Captain America and Iron Man we now have full-swoon mode.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Exclusive Clip

The seeds of the Civil War storyline, now part of the third Captain America film, can be found here. Hopefully, Marvel can leave it alone as it makes me want to see the film even more. The clip also excited fans on two levels:

  1. Captain American (Chris Evans) breaking the log in two
  2. Hawkeye has a farm (eieiohhhhhhh)

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Lev Grossman

But I bristle whenever fantasy is characterized as escapism. It’s not a very accurate way to describe it; in fact, I think fantasy is a powerful tool for coming to an understanding of oneself.

via Confronting Reality by Reading Fantasy – The Atlantic.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Rainbow Rowell

That’s why I eventually decided to try NaNoWriMo—to fast-forward through that desperate, blank-page phase and get to the good stuff. I told myself that it didn’t matter if my first draft was bad. All my books have required major revisions, anyway. And even if NaNoWriMo was a complete waste of time—if I ended up with a chaotic mess—a month isn’t much time to waste. (Not compared to the five years I worked on my first novel before showing it to anyone.)

via National Novel Writing Month.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Stephen King

In a class situation, this is very, very hard. That fearlessness always comes when a kid is writing for himself, and almost never when doing directed writing for the grade (unless you get one of those rare fearless kids who’s totally confident). The best thing—maybe the only thing—is to tell the student that telling the truth is the most important thing, much more important than the grammar. I would say, “The truth is always eloquent.” To which they would respond, “Mr. King, what does eloquent mean?”

via How Stephen King Teaches Writing – The Atlantic.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Margaret Atwood

Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visualization of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

via Bring Pencils on Planes, and Other Writing Advice From Margaret Atwood – The Atlantic.