Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

Archive for the ‘LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL’ Category

Two Southern Gingers: Coming to a Theater Near You!

I am happy to announce a separate blog which shall motivate and inspire me to update this one more often. Two Southern Gingers in the Big City is the internship blog I’m writing with Ashley Poston.

In our supreme humility, we have mapped out all the bizarre things that would have to happen for this blog to turn into a movie.

  • We would have to get lost in the subway system and wind up somewhere bizarre and/or dangerous and perhaps have someone come to our rescue.
  • We could take a taxi to the wrong location and walk home dramatically in the rain.
  • One of us, and one of us alone, could get a book deal, leaving the other out in the cold.
  • The other (Ashley) could fall in love, creating balance once again.
  • The one who fell in love could fall for a fellow Random House intern, or an intern with a competing house, or a model.
  • My fiance could show up and surprise me. In Central Park.
  • Lost of other conflict-driven things we’d rather not speak of.

Let me know if you can think of any more! Here’s a picture of us failing to hail a cab.

What I learned about storytelling: Making things out to be cinematic is funnn.

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A BOOK-LOVER RIGHT OF PASSAGE

Reading Atlas Shrugged.

Tis an arduous and intimidating journey of 1167 pages, more if you want surrounding criticism. I’m plugging away at it presently, and you know what? I have a love-hate relationship with it. Here’s why.

My LOVE for it is comprised of its respect for the reader – a respect easily misjudged as disrespect in its mind-directing, even hypnotizing narrative techniques. Ayn Rand expects her reader to be intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated to his or her own life, and this is evident in the way she tells the story. John Rogers said in a blog once, “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” I think, had Ayn Rand heard this criticism, she would have been delighted to have been understood so well. Atlas Shrugged is a strange fusion of utopian and dystopian narrative and the oversimplification that comprises this strangeness is obviously fantastical.

On this level, it’s a fantasy novel. Ayn Rand always claimed to write for herself – She is her own reader and that is why her reader receives the respect of great expectations. Of course, her writing would be her fantasy.

She was far too intelligent to have been deluded into believing that the realm she envisioned was realistic; its purpose was a fantastical forum through which she could explain very realistic (in the reality-relevant sense of the word, not in the feasible sense, necessarily) ideas and ethical postulations.

Reading such a novel at fourteen and failing to distinguish the fantastical and the realistic elements would most certainly be dangerous.

So with John Rogers’ words I completely agree – yet not with his tone.

My HATE for it is comprised of its AWFUL HORRIBLE TERRIBAD DREADFUL ~LENGTH~. And yes, I know Ms. Rand would have rolled her eyes at me for my saying so.

SOUTHEASTERN WRITERS, I MISS YOU!!

I missed the Southeastern Writers Conference this year. Money and time restraints would not allow it. Nonetheless, I feel the need to shoutout to the many people with whom I have spent wonderful trips to St. Simon’s Island.

These include but are not limited to:

Emily Sue and Lee Harvey (and family!)
Tim and Sheila Hudson
Amy Munnell
Lee Clevenger
Charlotte Babb
Katharine Sands
Marjory Wentworth
Chuck Sambuchino
Cappy Hall Rearick
Holly McClure
Jeanie Pantelakis
Louis Gruber
Wild Bill
Zhanna P. Rader
Cheryl Norman
Brian Jay Corrigan (and family!)
Grace Looper
Judith Barban
Jimmy Carl Harris
Mollie Glick
Ricki Schultz
Gail Karwoski

Thank you all so much for your guidance, support, and friendships through these last few years. I doubt you know how much of a blessing you have been.

THE CAT WHO SNIFFED GLUE

…Why am I not published yet?

JAPANESE SUPERMODELS, DEFINITIONS OF LITERATURE, AND THE LIME GREEN GOODBYE. WTC?

Yes, my blog is totally revamped. The content will still be basically the same. I’m just taking it in a more useful direction. With any luck.

I wanted a title that would catch people’s attention and stay true to my blog’s theme. TELL ME YOUR STORY, TELL ME YOUR SONG works because:

  1. I really do want to connect with people more and my blogs forum-like.
  2. I want to help others improve their writing abilities.
  3. The caps and the lyrics reference are catchy.

The new theme is more professional, less painful on the eyes, and beautifully clean. I love it.

So today was my first day back at USC. Oh my god. I love my schedule. Again.

1)  AMERICAN LIT with Professor Cowart

This class got me fired up. Looking online I thought Prof. Cowart seemed pretty scary, but in person I loved him. He’s wonderfully eloquent and can recite lines of poetry. He spouted off three wonderful definitions of literature:

  • “An excellent book that delights and informs” ~ Horace
  • “The axe for the frozen sea within us” ~ Franz Kafka
  • “News that stays news” ~ Ezra Pound

It wasn’t like he made a show of it either. He was simply talking about something that interested him and needed use of those quotes to express himself. He went on to talk about impressions of America, still impressed upon the American psyche and reflected in literature, as Eden-like; immigrants saw the new world as an open chance to morally begin again.

Once they cleared out the Native Americans, anyway.

2) ELEMENTARY JAPANESE with Baba-sensei is always awesome. Very sweet lady, very laid back. My only complaint would be that she moves too slow. I plan to move at a better pace this semester and place out of an intermediate class.

3)  JAPANESE CULTURE THROUGH ANIME with Professor Miyazaki = Win. Several times over. We took a quiz that went something like this:

  • Do you like anime from Japan?
  • Would you tie your friends to chairs and force them to watch Japanese anime until they too became hopelessly addicted? (My answer:  Depends on how fiercely they bite.)
  • Would you go without eating to buy the latest DVD release from Japan? (Not with corporations experimenting with letting things leak on the internet these days, we wouldn’t….)
  • Do you go home and watch Yuri and Kei, also known as The Dirty Pair?
  • Do you go to anime conventions… dressed in only a teeny weeny itsy bitsy yellow tiger print bikini like Lum from Urusei Yatsura?

This class is going to be something else. Miyazaki-sensei is like supermodel pretty too. Lots of boys.

4) CREATIVE WRITING with Professor Waldron (Barilla)

I was terrified of this class. I’m very nervous about getting a Masters in Creative Writing, very anxious that it will destroy more creativity than it breeds. The first few classes I take will set that tone.

Tomorrow I’ll find out about British Lit. And hopefully I’ll be back in the language lab with Taku-san, our TA from Tokyo University! xD Now if only he weren’t boring as crap….

A PROMPT FOR YOU

Tell me about your favorite class of all time. Was it a second grade music class? A college course with a crazy professor? Do you believe in education at all? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Love & Peace

KELLEY SONNACK AT ANDREA BROWN LITERARY AGENCY ~ THOUGHTS

I’m back! I thought I’d share my thoughts on an agent I had an experience with recently:  Kelly Sonnack with Andrea Brown Lit. I got a positive response to a query I sent her back in September and traded three or four rounds of subsequent emails with her before I was ultimately rejected.

Ms. Sonnack was very polite. I can find no fault with the professional nature of her emails, as I could with other agents. She formatted all of her criticisms with “I like… but…,” the exact style I encourage wherever I can.

She did say one thing that got under my skin. She didn’t like the narrative choices I had made with my story, and at one point she expressed this in a way that made my writing sound like a mess that needed to be “put together.” That may simply say a lot about my sensitivity, though.

Overall, she was helpful. Based on her criticism and the concerns of a few other of my trusted critics, I began another rewrite. I reworked the narrative into a simpler if less compact form.

Another positive experience!

University of South Carolina Writers Club

It actually exists! When I got here and realized that there was no writers club listed under Student Organizations, I set out to create one…until I finally discovered its secret hidden location within Ink! Undergraduate English Association. Writers and critics of all majors are welcome to join in.

The Ink! critique group meets every Tuesday in the Humanities office building behind the Colloquium Cafe in Room 143, a lounge. That location will be changing soon.

Actual updates coming soon!

❤ Courtney

 

 

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