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This is incredible, amazing, and totally awesome. I might as well be cliched, because nothing I say could touch how inspired she made me this morning. It starts with her (Sarah Kay) speaking her poem "When I Have A Daughter" which brought my heart up into my throat. She goes on to talk about performance poetry and living. Listen to all 18 minutes.
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So this was what I was looking for that image for.  This is NOT the one i had in mind, that one never turned up.  But I found this one and it works for my partner, Nanette, and me.

We are now an official business with our own EIN.  We work online, through a virtual business site called Elance. ( is like a big virtual temp agency.) We are editors, writers, proofers, helpers, etc.  Nanette has worked through Elance before in the summer when she wasn't teaching and made some spending money.  It was her idea that if we teamed up, we might could make serious money.  She claimed it'd be just like Beta Reading, only for money, but it's not.  Beta reading is relaxed, and I pick who I want to Beta and when.  And it's fiction.  In genres I like to read.

On Elance, the "providers" (authors, other editors, entrepreneurs with ideas, etc.) list their work (e.g. 105.000 word young adult fiction manuscript or 120,000 word diet book with charts and menus) and the contractors (me and NJ) write up proposal/bids.  And usually anywhere from 10 to 20 other folks/companies bid on it, and then one gets picked.  We've bid on 20-30 things, and gotten exactly one job, with one follow-up from that same provider.  Hey, it's better than nothing.  And we're learning more about how to write up bids, and which kinds of jobs to bid on.  Some providers are obviously just picking low bid.  Some jobs go for so little I'd have rather done them for nothing.

The bad part is that no one's sent me anything to Beta since I told them I've started to do this for money.  I was quite clear I intended to keep doing Beta work for just love.  Maybe they imagine I'm just covered up with paying work and don't have time.  That is, of course, most definitely NOT the case, and never will be.
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I'm going to write something every day.  Warning, those of you who read this, I'm sure that will guarantee at least some really bad entries.  Similar to this one.

Sometimes I don't write, because I think, "Who cares? No one wants to read that, or will."  Sometimes I don't write because I'm afraid someone might read it.  Maybe in both cases I'm just lazy and rationalizing.

Rook wrote me a story.  I gave her a plot bunny, basically the song, "Behind Blue Eyes" by the Who, especially the line, "My love is vengeance, that's never free."  She wrote a perfect Henry/Christina story from it.  I'm savoring it just to myself now, but I'll probably let her publish it somewhere too.
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Why don't I write? I know I'm quite literate, and knowledgeable enough about a wide enough variety of things to be interesting. My friends tell me I write witty and engaging correspondence. I used to write, eons ago. I know people enjoy conversations with me, and (sincerely) laugh at all the right places. And of course, I have a firm grasp on the mechanics involved. I'm a great editor. But something about actually writing, scares me silly. I'm convinced I can't do it. Shouldn't do it.

I know there is at least one good trauma that I've blamed it on. I am a victim of public school. For my English (allegedly G&T -- gifted and talented -- a step above honors) class my senior year in high school I had one of those sadistic, anti-intellectual, soul-killing, time-marking, lazy, tenured "teachers" everyone knew to try to avoid. She wasn't really the first. But definitely the log-sized "straw" that broke my back. There were only two of us who qualified for G&T, and so they stuck us in her Honors English. An embarrassingly easy class. Molly and I were to do the same basic curriculum as the honors students, but with an unspecified ?extra?.

This teacher actually gave weekly grammar tests. TO SENIORS! And I mean things like "circle the nouns in the following sentences". And weighted the class so that the grades on these were counted more than anything else. Which turned out to be good for me, since there was hard proof to make her give me the A+ for the course. I really deserved it for other things, but writing grades are a lot more "subjective" --which just means the student is at the mercy of the teacher. In my reading about education and homeschooling since, someone wrote that the reason schools teach grammar for 12 years (instead of the 6 months it deserves)is that it is easy to grade.

Besides the tests, every paper got two grades: Content and Grammar. My Grammar grades varied. There were 8 automatic F's -- one was not putting periods at the ends of sentences, and for some reason, some mental block I had, I would leave the period off the last sentence of the paper. Or use "passive voice" (another of the deadly 8)in a sentence on the order of "I was born..." where obviously I should have written "My mother birthed me..." and no, it doesn't matter that that shifts the focus of my sentence, only active voice is correct in her realm. But Grammar grades could be raised if one corrected all the mistakes. An easy enough thing, except where she just sometimes made up her own rules. And believe me, she was absolute authority in her class room. Even taking her her own text and showing her the rule, she would tell me why I was still wrong.

Every paper I wrote got an F on Content! No explanations, no notes, just F. Except one. When we read Canterbury Tales and everyone had to write an essay. Molly and I were given some leeway in what we could write. I loved the tales. The language, the stories, the structure, everything. I actually got creative and wrote my own modern day "Prologue" in the style of the translation we were using, with people from the class as my companions on my pilgrimage. She was at least cagey enough to know that this was undeniably good. And I had complained about enough of the other F's by this point, and gotten other teachers (previous teachers who had been the ones to rave about my writing enough to get me stuck in that program) reluctantly involved enough,(and I was on the newspaper and LOTS of people had been reading my articles)that she knew better. I got a C+. And an F on grammar. Even a poem, it seems, must have a period at the end.

After a while I just quite trying. I'd turn in any old trash. I quite reading the literature, -- why bother -- skipped class often, doodled in my journal when I was there, say to take the grammar test that week. Some days I'd just leave to go to the rest room, and never come back. I'd hide out in the newspaper office. My journalism teacher was pretty sympathetic.

I knew even then that the old bat was wrong. I had plenty of contrary evidence. And it wasn't just me. Molly and a few other people I knew to be good writers and smart people got the same treatment. But I let her throw me. So I've not written since then. It's stupid, It's not enough to have silenced me all these years, but it has.

I really need to get past it. I think I will start to honestly try


Oct. 21st, 2007 10:44 pm
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So does everyone know that November is National Novel Writing Month? Everyone sharpen your pencils!

Why write?

Sep. 21st, 2007 11:04 pm
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So why do I need another journal? Maybe I'll just take Mat's lead, and start really writing down thoughts and diary stuff. It does seem like I'm awful busy, but when people ask, "What's up?" I'm never to be able to think of anything. Must be a genetic disorder, since Mat has it too.


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