Good Saturday Morning Everyone!
I wanted to let you know that I have returned to Patreon.com to publish my works as part of my desire to fund my creative work outside of my current post. I am hoping you all can visit and help support my work, particularly the novel Loveable Resident, which I would like to get final draft status soon.
I am also pleased to say that I’ve received a scholarship to attend a workshop in the East coast. It’s a small scholarship based on my submission (Loveable Resident), yet I feel as though it validates my creative work.
I will make a few more postings along the way and link to Patreon as well.
Enjoy the beautiful weekend!!! Mary
Merryagnes on Patreon.com
The Lesson I Learned
Writers don’t care how they look. What is important to them is what they write about. You can look like a wreck and write the most beautiful prose. You can have wart on your nose and write a lovely poem. Writers have no wish to attain the heights of beauty. Not in the physical sense. Their world is in words, in worlds, in heaven or in some part of hell where a little bit of life still thrives.
I went to a writer’s conference last year. The keynote speaker was a woman who was a writer -in-residence at a university. She looked like someone’s old maiden aunt. She wore no makeup, her hair was disheveled from the wind, her clothes weren’t designer clothes. They were the clothes of a journeywoman. Someone who just came out of a long trip on the road.
Yet when she read her work I began to hear and see her world, her humor and her wit. Yes, she was a writer. Not a thing about her physically that would cause a lot of heads to turn. But turn they did when they heard her speak.
So I learned a lesson that day. I felt like I could be comfortable as a writer. I didn’t need makeup. I didn’t need a lot of hair product nor did I need to wear the latest fashions to be with other writers. Or, to write on my laptop. In class, my classmates and I get along well discussing what I loved doing: Writing. What we did was enough. And that was to write, and write well.
And part of the lesson for me was to look at others without judging them based on their appearance. It is not how God wants us to treat people. We need to look into their eyes, their smiles, the creases on their brows, the rough edges of their lives and come to understand how God made them the way they are and see how they work, what they do. How their lives glorify God. How their lives fit in with the Plan of God.
Each of us has a purpose in life. Don’t let the way we look to each other get in the way.
Happy Sunday evening!
I just finished posting on my Literary Theory class and felt so inspired by this new class that I had to blog about it. I’ve been having fun in the MFA courses and having finished Screenwriting and now onto Literary Theory, I was slightly daunted by its sober title. I know that when I first read Gadamer’s work as an assigned reading, it almost scared me off. But then I plowed ahead and went on with the first week’s round of discussions and it was actually fun!
Literary Theory is, to me, a way to break down works of literature to something that is beyond the actual story that is being analyzed. Literary Theory is something like anatomy class, where you see how God put together a human being and how that human being gets to live and act and be in the living state. So when I would start working on a novel or short story, it helps to know how they evolved, how they can affect the reader, and how the structure of the story can evoke similar works – such as genre.
It’s great to be in the MFA course and I’m recommending those who want to write seriously to consider taking the MFA. I hope one day to meet one of you out there and share experiences from our MFA classes.
I am now 60. I have been since 9-12. It is a rather strange feeling to be 60 when I certainly don’t feel like I am. And people I know are puzzled to look at me and know or be told my age. They find it odd that I don’t look 60 to them. But I’m just thinking that I don’t look 60 because of perhaps a few things that are unique to me: I am single. I’ve never had children. And, I happen to be Asian. These things give away the main reasons why I don’t look my age. There were no marital issues in my life, and children had never given me the frown lines nor the smile lines around my mouth. The turning of age to 60 is a jolt, to be sure, because I feel as though I am yet unfinished. I am several years till retirement age. And yet, here I am, going for my MFA in Creative Writing. I could also want to just retire and bake bread all day, or clean my house. Or garden. All these are fine. Yet, I feel like I am still able to contribute to society. I don’t like to travel and hate airports. I’d rather then find a way to keep myself alert and do what I always loved to do. And that is to write. Stories. Blogs. Screenplays. Essays. Like this.
I am certainly feeling that God had a hand in my life story. I’ve had many – or really, several jobs, and changed careers a few times. So now I think that 60 is, as many profess, merely a number.
I don’t mind being 60. I try to not think of being 60. I still feel new at the 60 generation. I don’t like spandex waistbands but I like how they allow me to have an extra helping of pasta. I find it hard to believe that I would even become romantically involved at 60. My interests don’t take me very far from home. And I surely think that God is still working on me, and from Him am I getting ideas and graces and inspirations.
So, now that I’m one fourth of the way to being 61, I am happy to say that I am glad I made it to 60. I’m one lucky person who came through the last year of unrest in politics, conflicts in many areas of the world, and even periods of sadness that blossomed into this period of (and I hope it is a long one) happy creativity.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving vacation. Some of you are still on their vacation. I pray that traveling has been smooth and that the reunions have been fruitful. News here is that my class in “Fiction” ended and a new class -Screenwriting – is started. My Fiction instructor wasn’t real bowled over the revisions I made to the Mike Oates character. Seems that Mike is too “human” maybe, or needs to be schooled into the mold of being a “psychopath”. My aim for this story is for the character Mike Oates to find or receive redemption. However, it seems there are other heroes or anti-heroes that fit Mike Oate’s mold, like that Ripley character in Patricia Highsmith’s series about Tom Ripley. So I’m feeling a bit at a loss how to portray Mike Oates now. Is it something that is a no go for pursuing this story? My classmates seemed to (most of them anyway) accept the character as they saw him. Given that I only gave two chapters for them to critique, it makes me think that I ought to go forward with the story and see if anybody that will review it will accept what happens.
The other thing that I learned from my instructor is that characters “tell their story”. We, as their creators, unfold them as we write about their story. So, if that is true, going forward with Mike Oates’ story is the path to take. I will accept some of the advice that my instructor provided and try this as an experiment. That is, to go on with the way it is writing itself, and then if Mike Oates is truly unworthy of redemption, then so be it. It’s very interesting how the concept of Characters write their way into your story. Does anyone agree with this? How did it go for you? Did your audience accept them? Or is the audience some other entity that’s not as important to your oeuvre?
So I go forward and with some care move into getting this novel/book to its end. There will be many revisions, of course, which are the pain of writing. Have a blessed week!
Breakneck speed – finished my class in Creative Fiction Seminar. Very nice experience working with about 26 students like me. Our Professor was quite good and she had a lot of patience with us, guiding us and giving good advice as we went along. I had a glitch last Friday where I needed to upload two documents and I uploaded one before realizing I needed the second one done and I had already exited the submission entry site. Frantic calls to tech support garnered me the hope to email our professor and she was so good to help out. I must say if she gave me a lower grade due to my dullwittedness, that is ok with me. But I’m hoping she will continue to be happy with my work and she will award me a good grade.
I think out of it all, I learned to revise my story excerpt. I think revisions are murderous on one’s creative ego, brought about by the constructive and some unconstructive critiques received. However, my classmates have been overall glad to help and appreciated the story/plot. Some wanted me to send it to Harlequin Romances. Not sure about that yet. I am reaching for the stars here, so not too eager to send to the least possible resistant literary agent.
I had to do some work on the main character. Is he a pyschopath or someone who just had way too much stress and made the wrong move? A fatal move? Or was it a fatality at all? Interesting how sometimes a change to the dialogue can really make a difference in the overall effect of the story. The loveable resident of my excerpt – he’s sort of a darling of mine – you know, you hate to kill them off, or blot them with inkstains. I’m still rooting for him to get out of the hole I put him into. Can an author do this? How does one save the hero?
Happy Thanksgiving all. I’m hunkering down to a Screenwriting class where I need to watch Thelma and Louise, read five chapters, send in three loglines and describe them all before Turkey dinner. Good luck to me! XOXO
I’ve not had as much time to write on the YA novel, Joe and Max. However, I’ve gotten to Chapter 7 and what seems to be happening is that Mel (the young girl that Joe seems to be getting to like) is morphing into having a major part of the story, so that I really have to re-think about the Joe and Max title. I am liking Mel’s character more – she seems to be the character with the most interesting situation. I’ll leave it there and I hope to continue with the novel as the days go by. I am having to keep up with reading assignments for my Nonfiction class, and it seems to be crowding my schedule out of the office! However, priorities are needed. I even had to make an appointment with myself to say my evening prayers (lol) each night!
Hope you all had a great holiday weekend. Let’s see all those sunburnt faces!