Monday, November 27, 2023

NaNoWriMo 2023

 Okay, I'm a NaNoWriMo rebel this year, but I just finished my personal writing goal for this November, so I'm celebrating. I'm still going to keep going strong for the rest of the month (and beyond).

For those who aren't Nanowrimoers, it's National Novel Writing Month. Regular participants write the rough draft of a novel (50,000 words or more) in one month. Rebels like me do different things. I counted time spent on an existing novel, using a time-to-word formula I developed a couple of years ago, because I needed to spend time researching, reorganizing, revising, etc. in addition to writing.

My project is a novel-in-short-stories set on an ill-fated space colony. Several of these stories have already been published in literary magazines. If you want to check them out, see the list here:

Friday, November 17, 2023

Short Story Dispenser

A few years ago, I got a poem published by Short Édition, the people who distribute short works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry through their Short Story Dispensers in libraries, airport, cafes, etc.  The stories are free to the user.  You just decide if you want a 1-, 2-, or 3-minute story, push a button, and it prints you a tiny bit of literature on receipt paper.  Awesome. 

I hadn't actually found one, however, until I heard there was one at the Tempe, Arizona public library.  So I went and checked it out.

Here it is, with a lovely mural behind it.

I printed out several short stories and sat there in the library, reading.  A lovely experience.  There's no way to choose what you want, besides picking the length, so I couldn't get my own poem, but apparently more than 2600 people have printed out my poem.  What a lovely thought.

If you want to read it, however, it's also on their e-zine here:

If you're in the Tempe area, go check out the short story dispenser.  There may also be one at a Mesa library.  But go soon.  They may be temporary.

Other dispensers:  

Monday, November 13, 2023

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle, by Mary J. MacLeod

This feels very much like All Creatures Great and Small meets Call the Midwife.  I enjoyed it a lot, especially the glimpses of a way of life very different than mine.

The chapters don't always transition smoothly, but if you read it like a series of independent personal essays, that shouldn’t bother you.  However, if you read it as a series of independent essays, what might bother you are the characters that appear from several chapters back without enough reminder to the reader as to how they fit in—and the questions that get posed but never answered (and not in a thought-provoking or philosophical way).  Then the book just ends.  There’s no real tie-up, and though the last chapter is dramatic, it doesn’t really feel like a conclusion.  The epilogue is full of longing for the life they once had there, with not one word of explanation of why or when they left.  I think this is all to keep it open for the sequel, but it bothered me.  Of course, it mostly bothered me because I was invested in the people and interested in their lives—so that’s as much compliment as criticism.   

Despite any issues, I really enjoyed the book.  The writing style is easy.  The pacing is pleasantly gentle.  The observations are good.  The subject matter is really interesting.  The setting is well drawn. 

I’ll probably read the sequel.

4 stars