Last Saturday I was driving to see Pamela Melroy speak about being only the second woman to command a space shuttle mission, when I heard a story on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered about the impact of television on public opinions about gay people. Since I used to write about gay people on television, I was really interested in this piece, which featured an interview between host Guy Raz and Edward Schiappa, a professor of communications studies at the University of Minnesota.
So, this was a 5-minute piece on the radio. I knew that they couldn’t get too deeply into the nuances of LGBT representation on television. But you know what pissed me off? It basically dismissed — and then erased — women from the dialogue. [Continue reading]
“I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, “You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy. I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?” And I really, really don’t.”—
I would just like you to know that I got my hands on an editor's copy of Give up the Ghost a month before it was released, and that ever since then it has always been one of my favorites. When I first read it, I was a 5th grader and didn't quite get it, but now as a 7th grader I truly understand the genius of the plot, the beauty of your writing, and the influence this one book has had over my life; to give people chances, to start fresh, and to know I'm not the onlyone whose back was turned on.
Thank you so much for this note! It makes me more pleased than I can fully express to know that GIVE UP THE GHOST has meant that much to you. I believe very strongly that it’s important not to give up and to keep trying to connect with people even when we’ve been hurt, and I’m glad that came across in the story.
I have heard a bunch of discussion going around about the term “Mary Sue” — a term often used by reviewers to dismiss characters that they feel are too perfect, too awesome, and too favored by their author. Zoë Marriott gives a really good breakdown of its definition and a point-by-point analysis of the problematic way she’s been seeing it used over on her journal. I thought it was a really great post about a very overused term and made me consider the Mary Sue a bit more. Then Sarah Rees Brennan made a fantastic post about flawed characters and female identification with awesomeness and her call for flawsomeness.
Fantastic piece on the overuse and misogynistically overuse of the term “Mary Sue” in non-derivative works. Sadly, not even fictional females can get a break. What boils my blood is when the readers drag in the woman writers into the mess and rip them apart. Do we say that Aragorn was too perfect and Tolkien was writing a self-insert fantasy where everything revolved around him, and how Tolkien’s clothes look awful? No. So why do we go around making all these awful comments about the way, for example, J.K. Rowling dressed in so-and-so event? What does her (and any female writers’) wardrobe have anything to do with her writing? Let’s discuss the author’s writing, not her and not her female characters as though they are vermin that poisoned her stories.
Being a writer myself, this kind of mentality sickens and worries me.
“The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone.”—Donna Tartt (via amandaonwriting)
In 2011, females remained dramatically under-represented as characters in film when compared with their representation in the U.S. population. Last year, females accounted for 33% of all characters in the top 100 domestic grossing films. This represents an increase of 5 percentage points since…
Hey I saw you at the Rochester Teen Book Festival (I was creeping in the back, crinkling obnoxiously on banana bread, sorry about that) and I'm super excited to read your two books. You and Susan Pfeffer were awesome up there, by the way, both interesting and informative about writing :D
I’m so glad you enjoyed the panel! (And I didn’t hear any crinkling, so it mustn’t have been as loud as you feared.) We wanted to keep it casual and fun—good to know that worked out for those in the audience too. :)
“If you take a book with you on a journey,…an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it…yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”—Cornelia Funke, Inkheart (via bornfortheroseandthepearl)
These six factors can erode the grandest of plans and the noblest of intentions. They can turn visionaries into paper-pushers and wide-eyed dreamers into shivering, weeping balls of regret. Beware!
We often settle for what’s available, and what’s available isn’t always great. “Because it was there,” is an okay reason to climb a mountain, but not a very good reason to take a job or a free sample at the supermarket.
If we don’t know how to make something great, we simply won’t. If we don’t know that greatness is possible, we won’t bother attempting it. All too often, we literally do not know any better than good enough.
Nothing destroys a good idea faster than a mandatory consensus. The lowest common denominator is never a high standard.
Why pursue greatness when you’ve already got 324 channels and a recliner? Pass the dip and forget about your grand designs.
If you’ve been doing what you’re doing for years and it’s not-so-great, you are in a rut. Many people refer to these ruts as careers.
There’s a difference between being agreeable and agreeing to everything. Trust the little internal voice that tells you, “this is a bad idea.”
By that I mean you have to win whatever it is that matters to you by your own strength and in your own way.
Like it or not, you are alone in a forest, just like all those fairy tales that begin with a hero who’s usually stupid but somehow brave, or who might be clever, but weak as a straw, and away he goes (don’t worry about the gender), cheered on by nobody, via the castles and the bears, and the old witch and the enchanted stream, and by and by (we hope) he’ll find the treasure.”
“[The] average daydream is about fourteen seconds long and [we] have about two thousand of them per day. In other words, we spend about half of our waking hours — one-third of our lives on earth — spinning fantasies.”—
“Don’t give up. Keep going. There is always a chance that you stumble onto something terrific. I have never heard of anyone stumbling over anything while he was sitting down.”—Ann Landers (via kari-shma)
“You won’t allow me to go to school.
I won’t become a doctor.
One day you will be sick.”—
Poem written by an 11 year old Afghan girl
This poem was recorded in a NYT magazine article about female underground poetry groups in Afghanistan. An amazing article about the ways in which women are using a traditional two line poetry form to express their resistance to male oppression, their feelings about love (considered blasphemous), and their doubts about religion.