February 24th, 2006

Writing Progress

So, as usual, I’ve got one more writing project than I can really handle on my plate right now.  Fortunately, my advisor has been really supportive and helpful, and I’m turning out about 2,000 words a day of workable material.  Not good material, I will point out, but at least workable.

Right now I’m working on a book chapter for a book on “new literacies” - basically, trying to take a critical look at actual creative practices instead of narrowly defining literacy as being able to produce and consume school-based media like textbooks.  I’m writing about, surprise surprise, role-playing, and I’m looking at it in light of theories of reading and reader response.  I doubt I’m the first person to do work on this, though, so if anyone knows of scholarly work that looks at agency, authority and literacy in role-playing I’d really appreciate the pointer.  Deadline isn’t until late April/early May, so I’ve got some time, but sooner is better if I’m actually going to have time to read your recommendations.

I’m also doing a rework of the same study from a cognitive stance, looking at mental models and diegetic worlds, which is going much slower, as I’m not yet as much of an expert in cognitive stuff as I think I need to be.  (Particularly as I should be hearing in a couple of weeks whether I’m going to be graduating in the cognitive studies department!)

Some days it’s hard, living in four or five intellectual worlds at once.  Sometimes, though, it’s just fun.  Fortunately today’s one of the latter days.

Anyhow, the reason that I was thinking about this is because I just got my first issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and I came across their section of awards and prizes.  You know, there are a lot of awards out there for first collections of poetry, and this got me thinking about why I haven’t written much poetry since starting grad school.  Then it hit me: I only have so many words in me, and right now they’re all going into academic projects (with a few spared here, for blogging).

Hence, a decision - I am going to apply for a month-long writers’ residency in upstate New York this summer.  While I am there, I will do no academic work.  Instead, I will try to turn my half-finished collection of poems into a finished one, in time to send it off to publishers and competitions next year.  I’ve been working on this collection, off and on, for the past seven or eight years, but it’s never been a first priority.  Well, I’m going to finish up my book chapters and journal article by May, I hope, and then this little-project-that-could will get its shot.

Well, probably.  Unless I come up with something even more tempting to do.  :)

If You’re Coming to NYC . . .

The Algonquin Hotel - yes, that Algonquin Hotel - has a special discount for writers.  Show up for a one-night stay, Sunday-Thursday, and show them a piece of creative writing.  Finished, unfinished, published, unpublished, they don’t care.  Just give them the goods and they’ll give you a discount!

This almost makes me want to go stay there, even though I live less than two miles away . . . .

Boogie With Bush

At the Party Party, they’re remaking (and sometimes just making) songs using sound clips from various politicians.  Very, very strange, but also strangely addictive.

You want your user-created media?  You got your user-created media!

Shabbat Shalom

And so another week has drawn to its close.  Lots of writing, lots of reading, lots of class and one broken copy of SPSS (stats software) - all in all, not too bad.

Weekends when I’ve got nothing particular scheduled are precious to me, and this is one of those.  Last weekend with Steve and Crys was wonderful, but I really need downtime ( = alone time) if I’m going to recharge for the week ahead.  I’ve got a bunch of weekend commitments coming up in March and April, including a trip to GDC, Passover, the Mobile Game Mosh (more on which later) and my cousin’s wedding, so I’m enjoying a little well-deserved idleness while I can.

Also, there will be Shabbat dinner.  And Nobilis.  And cats.  And reading of silly books.  Whee!

Okay, Not Quite Shabbat Shalom

Before Shabbat starts, I did have to post this “wifely contract.”  It’s humorous and terrifying at the same time.  I mean, this man got married?  To a willing woman?  The only explanation I can come up with is that the contract was part of some BDSM thing, but it seems to take itself way too seriously for that.  If anyone here is part of the BDSM community, you should tell me if I’m reading it wrong, but that’s my take.

On the other hand, this got me thinking about the fact that most couples have implicit contracts like this one.  “You will pay attention to me at parties,” might be on it, or “The dishes should be done before I get home at night.”  A lot of fights happen because people don’t realize they didn’t sign the same contract when they got into the relationship.  I attribute a lot of my relationship success with the boy to the fact that we’ve tried to make our unspoken expectations as spoken as possible.  Yes, we’ve got a contract (at least in our heads): he takes out the trash, I make sure he gets where he needs to be, and we both set aside at least two hours a night to spend together, even if it’s just curled up and reading.

Unfortunately, that means I now have something in common with Travis Frey.  Ew.