Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 1, 2017 - 7:03pm

Hello All,

Since there are a lot of new faces in here, and some old ones, like myself, I was wondering if we'd all like to meet in this space to talk books and craft and projects and futures at a scheduled time. You know, like in the old days when we chatted with each other and had to constantly refresh the page to see if there was a response.

So my proposal (yes, so soon), is to plan a day and hour when we would all come together to talk randomly and wildly about random stuff and get acquainted. Simply post a few times that you think you'd be able to do this, and we just see how that goes. It doesn't need to be a 100% agreement. Just a few people who feel like using this space to actually chat and get the most bang for our buck.

 

Saturdays between 2pm and 6pm; Sundays between 12pm and 4pm; Weekdays between 10pm and 12pm.

Again, just a thought, not a requirement, just a way for people with shared interests to talk about those interests.

lorettapolaski's picture
lorettapolaski from Indiana is reading The Honest Spy December 1, 2017 - 7:23pm

Hi, Jose. I am generally sleeping as I work nights but I will happily jump on later to see what's going on!

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions December 2, 2017 - 5:33am

I'm in Tokyo, so can't always do the maths of your time, but will happily use your space, as I like the concept of chatting more on writerly shit... and read something today (your last night, technically) that I thought was worth sharing with fellow writers.

In a Hannah Tinti interview on the Rumpus, she mentions that, as a writing excercise, she draws a picture every day. It's usually a doodle of a monster, that begins with a random squiggle. It sounds like she draws a random squiggle, then draws something from it, usually a monster, where she'll "imagine where the eyes should be, the teeth"--as an excercise to get more comfortable ceding control to the subconscious. She credits Lynda Barry with the concept.

For some reason, I love this idea. I'm fascinated by the role of the subconscious in the writing process, and where creativity comes from, and how different the process might be for every writer. 

I'm not quite addressing your concept, just wanted to share, and see if anyone had any thoughts on the topic. How does it work in your writing?

To time stamp this, I'm several beers into Saturday night, your future, and yes, Miami beat Clemson...

(And to address your concept, if people choose a time, I'd make an effort to contribute.)

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 2, 2017 - 8:55am

Something akin to that doodle monster process is often how I begin writing fiction or poetry. Much of the time, I don't have a topic or particular plot in mind. I might have a genre or idea for structuring I'd like to try, but the specifics come as I go along and find them. Sometimes I don't imagine individual items to include in the story or poem. Rather, looking at what I've already written, I see places where something should be. I find an X-shaped hole and then I craft an X to fill it.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 2, 2017 - 9:08am

Regarding specific events in the time and space of my writer's life, there aren't many. I haven't written much lately. I almost entered a few of my favorite unpublished poems into a contest. I receieved a credit company gift card as a work bonus. I tried to use it to pay the entry fee and it was not accepted. (I know the balance was still good. I think the submissions manager just doesn't accept that brand of card.) I could've paid the fee using my personal bank card, but I balked at the idea and the deadline passed.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 2, 2017 - 12:44pm

I'm in. 

The weekdays are probably the best for me. But I'm open to any of the times you suggested.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions December 2, 2017 - 5:35pm

jyh, that's kind of how it works for me. One of my close friends is a prolific, self-publishing writer, and several of the blogging personalities of that world adhere to a speed/flow writing technique as the only way to channel the true, unadulterated subconscious YOU. Some of them don't even edit their work.

I'm the opposite, though. I get words down, then grind and grind until new things kind of appear. I also, as you mention, believe in rereading what's there for clues of what the story wants to say.

However it works, for me it's the deepest pleasure of writing, when something just occurs, unplanned, and is better than anything you ever could have thunk.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 3, 2017 - 9:50pm

DE-HIJACKED!

Let's do it. Meet up in here, do it somewhat-chat-style. Saturday?

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 4, 2017 - 1:56pm

Saturday at ...6PM EST?

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 5, 2017 - 1:20pm

I'm in. I'll be here. 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 7, 2017 - 7:49pm

Why not do a disqus thing?

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 8, 2017 - 8:11am

Because that's classist, Thuggish. Classist!

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 8, 2017 - 7:11pm

I'm more able-ist than anything...

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 9, 2017 - 10:15am

T-minus 5 hours and counting...

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 9, 2017 - 3:20pm

I'm here! Where's the rest of you jokers?

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 9, 2017 - 3:27pm

I'm terrible at starting a conversation. That's why I make such a good community manager!

I guess I'll just tell a quick story I heard this week, and if you come in, do the same. Just a couple lines, something you heard that was funny or interesting.

I was listening to a guy who started a small hop farm. They had to put up a lot of poles to string up wire (hops grow upwards, sort of like grapes), and when they were working, people kept pulling off the highway to ask what they were doing with this huge field full of poles. The best part, this farmer said, was when people wouldn't just say "What are you doing?" but when they would say "What are you doing..." and then take a guess before the farmer had a chance to answer. 

His favorite was, "What are you making out here? A stripper agility course?"

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 9, 2017 - 6:18pm

That's an absolutely horrible joke. You should be ashamed. lol

Sorry for being 3 hours late to the gangbang. I had student papers to grade and respond to.

I'll be checking in regularly for the next 3 hours or so as I read and drink. 

It's snowy here in Boston, so my job is literally to read and drink.

As far as funny stories.....

It's an old Buddy Hackett joke, you can find him on Amazon Prime video for free.

He's in front of the crowd and asking people questions. Hackett's an old crude comic who played the Vegas scene back in the 50s and 60s. Was on Carson lots of time. But he's on stage, cursing, making crude jokes, and talks about this couple and one other person who get stranded on this island. The married couple is an older man and really young attractive woman. The other guy was a deck hand on the ship, young and verile. 

Well the deck hand says he's going to climb this tall tree to see if he can see somthing. He does, and when he gets up there, he looks down at the young couple. He yells down to them, Hey, what are you doing. Stop screwing. This aint not time for screwing. He yells for a while, and then comes down.

The old guys what were you yelling. He said, I thought you two were down here screwing. It looks like it from way up there. Seriously, go take a look.

The old guy climbs the tree, and when gets up there, he looks down and says to himself, well what do you know, it does look like they're screwing.

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 9, 2017 - 10:08pm

Bwaha. I like it. 

Boston, eh? I feel like Boston has an underrated level of shitty weather. But you're right, it's great for staying inside and getting shit done.

Are you still in your MFA program? How's it going?

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 10, 2017 - 5:09am

I'm still in my MFA program. Just finishing off my 3rd of 6 semester. It's going ... fine. Everything is fine. 

I'm just a military vet. I grew up in the south. I just don't gel well with the majority of personalities in this town. Everyone acts like the blue collar stiff and professor and defender of the world. Like, I get that this town has lots of good sports teams, lots of good colleges, and home of the Boston Tea Party, but I can't really keep up with their personality shifts in a single conversation. 

"I'm just the every-person, down on my luck, also I know about everything and why the system has placed me here, I march every weekend for different causes, I'm pretty sure that sly glance is harassment, Patriots!, I love vets, fuck the military industrial complex, I have PTSD too, have you been to the museum of contemporary art, so good, brunch time, I'll have whiskey, but the $40 dollar a glass kind, my stomach doesn't do well with the cheap stuff."

But surprisingly, my military personality is too harsh for people here, and I should change so they don't feel offended. Anyway, just not my kind of town.

And the majority of those personalities are in my MFA program, so it makes it difficult to interact.

 

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 10, 2017 - 12:41pm

That's shitty. I hear what you're saying. My sister went to college in Boston, and I think she's got some of that.

One of my good friends, and a guy I roomed with for a few years, was a Navy vet. He could be abrasive, but I liked him a lot. He was a really good friend. He had no problem telling me when I was being an asshole, and he was usually right, but at the same time he was one of the most loyal people I knew. I don't know if the personality took him towards the Navy or if the Navy swung him that way, but either way, he was different. 

I've got this new buddy who joined the National Guard, which he likes a lot. I was sort of surprised he talked about it in such glowing terms until I found out his previous jobs were in a mine and at a slaughterhouse (no kidding). He took a slaughterhouse job to pay back his student loans. It's one of the higher-paying but shittier jobs in the area I live. 

I feel like one of the good things about the MFA would be that you'd (hopefully) end up with a lot of folks who you could get along with. Does it make it tough in class to feel like the interactions suck, or is it fine in terms of getting work done? 

I don't think I ever asked, did you go military to go to college, or did you go military and then decide to go somewhere along the line? 

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 10, 2017 - 7:20pm

Military first to get away from family, then college came up.

I have a few good people in my program that I'll certainly be loyal to and go out of my way to help them, I'm not sure I'd get the same in return. It's just the point of the times. Military people are thanked, but asked to change so the civilians don't have to be confronted with abrassive personalities. They like what the military gives them, just not the type of people it produces to get that job done. 

Anyway.

Back to writing....

lorettapolaski's picture
lorettapolaski from Indiana is reading The Honest Spy December 11, 2017 - 11:35am

Jose, sorry you don't care for Boston. I'm assuming your job or your MFA program took you there. It's a place I'd like to visit sometime. Tell me about your MFA. I haven't really given much thought to ever getting one but would love to hear about the curriculum and what you're getting from it.

Loretta

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman December 11, 2017 - 12:49pm

Military people are thanked, but asked to change so the civilians don't have to be confronted with abrassive personalities. They like what the military gives them, just not the type of people it produces to get that job done.

I live in a town with a world-famous slaughterhouse. Everyone hates slaughterhouses. Everyone hates when animals aren't treated with as much respect as we'd like. Everyone hates that the jobs are dirty, difficult, and dangerous. But everyone likes to eat. Everyone hates factory farming, but they're also unwilling (and unable) to pay for beef that's $12/pound. Everyone hates genetically-modified organisms, but they love living in affordable housing in new subdivisions, which means ag land is shrinking and becoming more costly all the time, which means a lot more has to be grown with a lot less input.