For nearly 18 years, Tolkien has been my literary idol. His words are lyrical and intellectual and as poetic as prose can be with neither rhyme nor meter. His stories are epic and astounding, digging deep into the nature of temptation and good and evil and capturing the heart and hardships of medieval adventure, swords and sorcery. His trilogy has become the standard by which all fantasy trilogies are judged, and it’s to his level of exquisite storytelling that I have long since aspired to achieve.
And I’ve realized now that while his tales may stand the test of time, and may be the most classic of all fantasy stories, not all within his tomes should live so long.
If I were Alice, I’d have exhausted my share of Drink Me’s and Eat Me’s with all the time life has made me feel bigger or smaller than I am. It’s a part of growing up (thinking you’re bigger than the world, to learn you’re not) and becoming an adult (thinking you’re too small for survival, to learn you’re not so small at all), but if I’ve got one thing on Alice, it’s all the Read Me’s piled up around me house.
On my nightstand. My coffee table. My kitchen table. The bookshelves. The floor.
Books abound, beneath my TV, beside my couch. It’s a glorious feeling.
Except all that Read Me is getting a bit too much to swallow. Would it be too apt a metaphor to say I’ve got the words stuck in my throat, sentences strung around my molars and tethered to my tongue?
So it’s been a month since I wrote last. And it’s been a week since I got home from Teach for America’s summer training, called Institute: a non-stop five weeks full of professional development (of questionable efficacy), lesson planning and execution, and getting to know my first class of students. It was intense. I’m still recovering.
Which means I’m still processing everything I learned and everything I experienced: It was information overload to its finest, and now that I’m “back in reality,” in addition to making sense of everything, the confusion is compounded by the quest to secure housing in Milwaukee, planning my move in two weeks, and arranging visits with my friends in North Carolina before I leave. It’s been incredibly overwhelming.
I intend–and we know what we say about intentions–to share my thoughts on Institute more fully at a later time (after I’ve considered more deeply what I’m willing to share, and what’s in my best interest to keep private), and with all the uncertainty in my life right now, it’s difficult to articulate any amount of profundity on current events.
So to write something, I’m writing a post on words–in particular, the words I’m reading.
The five books I’m presently reading–and what the rest of this post is about.
I was hanging around the guilds on HabitRPG when another user gave a heads up to queer writers: Have you heard about Strange Horizon’s “Our Queer Planet” issue?
The sci-fi e-zine is hosting a celebration of queer identity, specifically looking for “work that explores intersectional queer imaginaries and experiences around the world,” with an emphasis on stories set on Earth (timeline variable). So I looked through my past fiction, and some of my best sci-fi stories feature gay male leads or gender-non-binary aliens–but none of them take place on Earth.
So, I decided, I’ll just have to write something new.
But then, I asked myself, what’s queer literature?
It’s Valentine’s Day, and since my husband-to-be and I are still some 1600 miles apart and both generally loathe the holiday anyways, I figured I’d play around with some of my other loves–such as my love of books, both writing them and reading them.
Because, honestly, who wants a box of chocolate when you can be given a book?
National Novel Writing Month. If I’ve written about it once, I’ve written about it a hundred times (or at least annually since I began blogging). It’s the one time each year I allow my writing to take center stage (how’s that for mixing metaphors?)–often, though reluctantly, at the expense of my other obligations. So far, I’ve won NaNoWriMo every year.
And this year will make ten consecutive wins. If I manage to make it.
I recently republished one of my first serials on the Writingwolf: a superhero origins story called “Super.” It had started as a simple prompt–if you had superpowers, what would they be?–but ended up inspiring an entire world of characters.
Let’s be honest, many of them existed long before the prompt: I watched X-Men cartoon growing up, and the idea of having superpowers always fascinated me. So, naturally, when I started writing about superheroes, the floodgates opened and an army of characters began fighting for a place in this fictional world I was creating.
Some of them were granted entry. Others were given tickets and a place in line. And then, for over three years, they waited patiently. That waiting ended in 2013. But at what cost?
It’s been a year since this blog was reborn, the seams between its faces undone stitch by stitch: In an instant, The Writingwolf: Words & Wonders became solely dedicated to nonfiction, while Silent Soliloquy was born to be a library of all my fiction and poetry.
My blogs have only flourished since then–my audience has grown, my writing has improved, and now more than ever, I’m producing regular content on both blogs without needing to link them back and forth for traffic.
Now I’m ready for a new change, the next step in the Writingwolf’s life cycle.
I want to write more. Short stories especially. But a long story takes a long time to write–so do short stories, but brevity makes the challenge more approachable–and the alliteration? Why, that’s wonderful.
A couple week’s ago, the Daily Post challenged bloggers to attempt flash fiction, and when I came across it this week, I decided I should get back into it–I’d attempted the art form years ago, but gave it up in favor of verbose, flowery prose.
It’s hard for me to be laconic.
So at least for the summer (until I’ve got my series up-and-running), I’m challenging myself to post a short short story every Friday–just so I can call it Flash Fiction Fridays! Well, that’s not the only reason, of course, but it’s certainly exciting!
It won’t be easy, and I’m looking forward to all the comments and critiques I can get to help refine my skills and improve every week. Luckily for me, I already had a piece on hand that I wrote this semester for my poetry class: the challenge? Write a shocking story in prose.