Banning Bookstores: Catching my TBR pile

I’M ACTUALLY CATCHING UP ON MY READING. This is the true meaning of adulthood!

I added a cat for reference. You're welcome

I added a cat for reference. You’re welcome

Throughout college, my for fun to-be-read pile was put aside due to my required reading for classes. Instead of Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft and Roxane Gay, I was busy reading Shakespeare, Anne Lamott, and…well H.P. Lovecraft (you know, Gothic Literature). Of course, my college reading didn’t stop me from going to bookstores and buying way more books than I could possibly read while in school. Over the years, my to-be-read pile got a little out of hand. It is an accomplishment to be able to actually photograph all the books I need to read.

Since my graduation, I have banned myself from bookstores until I actually read the books I have accrued over the past 4 years. I made exceptions for books I had been waiting on to be published, like Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, but other than that, no book buying at all.

I am determined to lessen the amount of books on my shelf going unread. If you’d like to join me in decreasing the amount of unread books on your shelf, we can do this together! Comment below for support, goodness knows I need it.

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The Fear of Collaborating Books

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I recently moved to Bloomington for a new job, which I love so far, and to live with my boyfriend of 4 years. I was nervous about the move, of course I was. Since our graduation 6 months ago, we had not seen each other much, except for weekends off work when one of us could manage the 3 hour drive. We knew the next step was a move. We knew the only way to be together was a move. And we thought we were ready.

So when we both got job offers in the same city within 24 hours of each offer, we thought that sounded a lot like fate.

My boyfriend and I had to move in together at the same time. We both only had one weekend to get settled before our new jobs started. And we both were kinda freaking out. That’s a lot of change. A new job, a new place, and a gigantic step forward in a relationship. I think we were both scared. And I know I did not understand what that step meant.

As the boxes upon boxes of random shit poured into our apartment, it seemed like it was going to explode (along with my head). Our families were meeting for the first time and chatting as they tried to help us unpack in what ways they could. At the end of it all, our parents left with the apartment looking a bit better than it did when we originally moved all the boxes in.

When we were alone, my boyfriend and I began to unpack the things we felt we needed out right away. Of course, we turned to our books. He began to unpack the books while I was working on something else, and when I turned around, I found him taking his books and my books to arrange them on the shelf.

My mind responded in these ways…

1) WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING?

2) Oh god! How will we be able to tell which is mine and which is his?

3)Who puts books on a shelf like that? Doesn’t he know you have to put similar sized books together, the tallest ones on the left and going smaller as you go to the right?

I said nothing. I turned back to the task I was working on with damp palms.

This action signified a lot of things about myself and our relationship. Until that moment, I didn’t really get it. I didn’t understand that we were combining lives. More than that, I didn’t know I was questioning whether I could do that or not.

Yes, we each have things to ourselves. Hobbies, jobs, thoughts, actions. We are independent, and I was thinking we could stay that way, completely, throughout this living together process. That isn’t a reality. That isn’t what moving in together means.

We each have our own books on the shelf, and it is obvious which book is whose based on the genre, author, and condition. When I look at the shelf, I can point out my books and his. But together, they create more stories. Together there is more adventure, advice, wisdom,  and life.

I thought about asking him to put our books on separate shelves. To keep them separated so we could tell who each book belonged to. But I realized our shelves wouldn’t look as full.

They wouldn’t look as loved.

Heart shaped Book

And in case you’re wondering how it is going, so far so good. 🙂

Non Reader, Gone Bookworm, Gone Writer: This One Time I Met Neil Gaiman

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The definition of a writer according to dictionary.com

Ever since I knew what growing up meant, I wanted to be a writer. I even was voted most likely to be published in my 8th grade class. Before that, I wanted to be an explorer. Partially because that’s what my sister wanted to be and I wanted to be my sister, but also because I have always had an inexplicable urge to see the world. But in my childhood, my view of the world was a little different. Imagine Skyrim, the video game, fused with Indiana Jones. I used to wander the streets around my infinitely suburban neighborhood, pretending my bike was a horse and peddling into caves and caverns and sunsets.

When I found out being an explorer wasn’t a real career (and archaeology wasn’t all that and a bag of chips), I tried to discover what the next best thing would be. That’s when I found books.

I used to hate reading. The main reason was because I was, and still am to be honest, terrible at reading out loud. During school when I was called on to read, I stumbled and butchered all kinds of beautiful words and stories because I couldn’t make my mouth form the words as fast as my brain was reading them. No one made fun of me directly, but I could hear the silent collective sigh of classmates when a teacher called my name to read. And the whole time I was reading, they were shuffling around in their seats in, what I assumed to be, annoyance.

I wasn’t good at reading, so I hated it. What changed me also changed a lot of the world. The Harry Potter series. My older sister read them, and I plucked the first one off of her shelf wondering what all the fuss was about. This story is much like other stories of my generation.reading-under-the-covers

Once I started reading, I didn’t stop. I would stay up entirely too late with a flashlight under my covers, reading and reading and reading until I fell asleep. I read during recesses at school. My favorite time of the day at school was free reading. I became a bookworm. And it wasn’t a phase.

As almost all bookworms do, I think, I began to want to write. I had a notebook I would carry around with me at school. I called it a novel, but it was really just me writing a fan fiction story almost parallel to the Pendragon series. It wasn’t very good, but I loved writing it.

I dabbled in angsty poetry in high school, I loved writing essays for school. I loved writing, but didn’t believe I could make anything out of it. I had ideas, but they were too strange. Kind of dark and I wasn’t sure there was any place for them but inside my head and in my journal.

No authors ever really came close to my admiration for J.K. Rowling. I didn’t think any authors ever could. But one day, a friend of mine and I were in a bookstore. Seeing someone we had met in high school, we walked over to the science fiction section where he was standing and chatted. “What are you looking for?” I asked him so I could help.

“Anything by Neil Gaiman,” he said picking up a novel with a graphic castle depicted on the front.

“Who’s that?”

“The most amazing author I’ve ever read,” he said, pushed the book with the castle on it back into the shelves and went to ask the bookkeeper where his novels are located.

“Start with American Gods,” he said handing me the book that would change my life. “Then go from there.”

And go from there I did.

I became obsessed, and still am. Neil Gaiman is my favorite author of all time. I absolutely recommend American Gods, then Anansi Boys, then Smoke and Mirrors, then Neverwherethen Fragile Things, then The Graveyard Book, then ALL THE THINGS. He is amazing. That’s the end of my plug, just go read him.

Neil Gaiman was the one who made my drive to write soar. He wrote about things I wanted to write about, weird worlds and intriguing characters and mythical creatures and dark themes. I know many other books have these details, but for some reason Neil awakened the feeling in me that I could do this somehow, too.

I found out he was doing a book tour for his newest book Ocean at the End of the Lane in July of 2013, and I was determined to meet him. I drove four hours to Ann Arbor, Michigan to meet him with two friends. He was late because there was a plane crash in California, and the airport was on lockdown, but he assured us on Twitter he was coming and he was sorry.

We all tweeted him, telling him we didn’t care and to stay safe. While waiting, I wrote him a note on some scrap paper I found, trying to tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me as an aspiring writer who didn’t think I could do it until I read his work. Of course the words fell short, but I tried.

When he came and talked and read some words out of his book, I felt like I was in a dream. Neil is a storyteller, that’s just what he does and it is magical.

After speaking, Neil went out into the lobby to sign some books. His agents or crew or people tried to convince him that it would be too late to sign two books for everyone, just sign one. But he wouldn’t. He signed two books for everyone, stood up for pictures when asked very nicely, and smiled. I waited for four hours, I think.

When I finally got up to his table, I clutched my copy of American Gods, Ocean at the End of the Lane, and my crinkled note to my chest. A lady asked for the books, and I handed them over. She asked me my name, and she wrote it down on a piece of paper so he would be sure to spell it right. When I got in front of him, he made eye contact with me and said hello and tried to pronounce my name. I kind of froze, smiled and said hi. As he was signing my books I said, “I know we don’t have time to talk, so I wrote this for you,” holding out the piece of paper in a shaking hand.

He smiled at me, his crew around him made an audible “awww” noise which made me uncomfortable. He did not break eye contact and he said, “I’m going to put this in my pocket and I will read it later. This is one of my favorite things to do after a tour, is read all the notes I get.” He put it in his suit jacket, and I was carried away by the mass of people waiting to meet him behind me. He kept looking at me with a tired, but genuine, smile as I was being pushed towards the end of the table. With a little wave, Neil turned to the next fan in front of him.

One of his crew handed me my books back. I immediately turned away from Neil (hopefully in time), clutched the books back against my chest, and cried. I can’t explain why. But I cried and cried and cried.

That moment was magic. That moment makes me want to be the absolute best writer I can be. That moment makes me want to write from my soul and never stop.

And it makes me believe I can. Because for some reason, I felt that Neil Gaiman, in that minute of talking to me, believed in me too. And I know it is stupid and crazy, but it is what gives me courage. So I’ll keep believing it.

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Post Script- Click here to read Neil Gaiman’s epic answer to how to become a writer.

The NaNoWriMo Experience

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This November was my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month.

People always talk about the community NaNoWriMo creates, and I believe it is a huge reason this program works. The forums are so helpful, and I found myself spending hours reading about people’s questions and answers and creations and stories. I loved getting to know other NanoWriMo-ers, and it helped to see that other people had the same struggles as me.

NaNoWriMo has been my first group-ish writing experience since I graduated from college. I am so thankful that people are creating places for writers to find each other and share stories. I have missed it more than I realized, and I will be participating in NaNoWriMo every year, and I hope to have a more successful year in 2015.

But what meant the most to me was what the experience revealed about myself as a writer. Here are just a few of the things I learned and obstacles I faced throughout NaNoWriMo.

Sometimes you don’t get your ideal writing environment.

Before NaNoWriMo, I somehow convinced myself that the only time I could write something halfway decent was in the morning after breakfast and drinking my first cup of coffee for the day. I thought if I wrote outside that time, it would be crappy and awful and worthless. But that isn’t true. I found myself writing after dinner, at midnight, during breaks at work. You have to write when you can.

Even more than this, sometimes you have a cat knock a glass off your desk. You have to stop mid sentence and grab a rag to clean it up, and when you get back to your desk the words are gone. Sometimes a child will run into your room and tell you they’re hungry, or bored, or sad and you must stop to help them. Sometimes your doorbell rings, or your laundry is done, or you have to pee. Life is full of interruptions, and it will be a rare day when you can write without stopping.

writer's block

Sometimes you get stuck.

There are days when you have no motivation at all. There are days when you stare at your computer, fingers floating over the keyboard, waiting for the first bout of inspiration to carry you through your 1,600 words for the day. And sometimes it never comes, and you drag yourself to bed, or to work, or to chores with a heavy heart.

NaNoWriMo gave me an understanding that everyone has that experience, even J.K. Rowling and Oscar Wilde (though he would never admit it), and everyone has to fight through it. And all you need is a small spark. This spark can be found in yourself, in others, in an event, or a word. It can be found anywhere, but you have to be looking.

Sometimes you think you’re a pantser when YOU ARE NOT.

I thought I had figured myself out as a writer in college (BA-HA-HA, I know I’m naive). I thought I needed a bit of an outline to get me going, and then the words would just come to me. That’s how it usually worked with short stories, at least. But novel writing is a completely different thing.

I had outlined my novel a lot, but as soon as I got to the point where my outline ran out, I was stuck. I had nothing to write about, and my characters were running around with no goal or point. NaNoWriMo taught me I’m a planner. And thank goodness I know that now and can write novels the right way for me.

Sometimes it is extremely hard to write in a room full of non writers.

While I was on this journey, I was the only one to keep myself motivated. No one in my household is a writer, and often when I voiced I didn’t feel like writing, instead of encouraging me to go sit my ass down in the chair, they said thing like, “Well you wrote yesterday!” Or “You need to give yourself a break every once in awhile.”

Not the most motivating thing in the world, bless their hearts. I know they were trying to make me feel like I had done enough, BUT IT WASN’T ENOUGH. You must write wonderful new words every day, or else you feel like you can skip a day every now and then and you CAN’T. Every day, write.

But most of all…

this experience reminded me that writing is HARD. And any day you sit down in front of a computer and melt words together to create something beautiful is a damn awesome day.

I didn’t win. I didn’t even make it halfway to 50,000 words. But I wrote everyday. I watched my characters grow and change and love and lose. And I remembered why I became a writer in the first place.

THE ART OF ASKING: November 11, 2014

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SAVE THE DATE.

On November 11th of 2014, Amanda Palmer’s new novel The Art of Asking is coming out. It is not available on Amazon, but you can preorder it here. She will also be doing a book tour.

If you haven’t heard of Amanda Palmer before, you have been missing out on one helluva-woman. She has worked hard to become a great musician, as well as succeed in the music industry without losing her soul.

This book has been a long time coming since her Ted Talk on discovering how to move through the music industry by accepting help from her fans. Trusting her supporters and creating a lasting relationship with them on stage changed the way she produced music, and the way she moved through life in general.

A few of my favorite songs of Amanda’s include “Missed Me”, “The Killing Type”, and “Girl Anachronism”. Not to mention “The Bed Song” and “Do You Swear to Tell the Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth”. Just all of it. Go listen to all of it. She’s got a unique sound, a big heart, and a world perspective that leaks into all of her music.

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I freaked out when I saw this.

She goes out of her way to try to connect with her fans, including being extremely active on Twitter. Apparently, she wasn’t always that way according to this blog she wrote on hitting a million followers. She often does random Ask Amanda sessions and announces spontaneous concert times and venues. Even throughout her book-writing journey, she asked her supporters for help when she was stuck.

But what I like most about Amanda is she is unapologetically and tragically real. I have never met Amanda before, or even been to one of her concerts (despite various efforts), but through her music and her social media presence, I have fallen in love with her. And she doesn’t know me, and she may never know me, but she cares about me. It’s an unspoken understanding she has with, I would venture to guess, all her fans.

And so, I support her in whatever ways I can. And today that means spreading the word about her new novel coming out. Watch the Ted Talk, and if you like it, buy the book. Support her if her like what she does, and practice literary citizenship. Because if we aren’t there for each other, who will be?

A Quest for Local Bookstores

I recently went on a Great Plains adventure for my sister’s wedding, which was gorgeous and perfect and full of whimsy and dancing. Traveling to Nebraska, I found myself looking out the window with disdain. There really is, close to nothing, in that part of the country. We passed few gas stations, fewer still sites to see and things to do.

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You can imagine my surprise when I discovered a cozy local bookstore nestled between a gyro restaurant and an art store in downtown Lincoln. It was called A Novel Idea, and run by a generous and kind woman named Cinnamon.

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No, this is not off of Pinterest. I took this myself.

It was one of the most delightful bookstores I have ever been in. They had two fat cats roaming around the bookshelves. Newspaper clippings on the walls revealed these cats were rescued by the owner and loved by all customers. Along with this, the most literary savvy staircase I have ever witnessed can be found in this spot.

The staff was lovely. When I asked staff member Eowyn Ivey what book she would recommend I read before I die, she responded with 5 different novels I never would have picked up myself. I ended up with 2 of the 5, Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk and a magical realism novel titled The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. “Give The House of the Spirits a good hour when you read it,” she said. And I will.

I left that bookstore remembering what websites such as Amazon are missing: the smell of the pages as soon as you walk into a bookstore, the feel of the fuzzy cats on your legs as you search the shelves, and the camaraderie of knowing you are among your own people. People that love books, maybe more, than you do (but surely not). People that will show you the worlds they have found and loved. I’ve longed for this feeling since I left my college literature classes where we would talk about books and worlds everyday.

The nostalgic feeling of that bookstore stuck with me until my last day in Nebraska. I remembered the loved comments about a bookstore called Prairie Lights in Iowa from the 2013 In-Print guest authors at Ball State University, I can’t for the life of me remember who said it. Maybe Elena Passarello or Eugene Cross. On my way back home (which, for me, is Indiana) from Nebraska, I swung by to see what all the fuss is about.

Prairie Lights has some serious curb appeal. Two dark wood doors against a silver building with an awning that says, “Hello, we have so much knowledge in here your brain might explode.” I mean, just look at it.

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HEY THERE SCHOLARS. Don’t mind the trash can photo-bomb.

The people at this bookstore were not as hands on. This may have been because, I’m fairly certain, that weekend had been move-in weekend for incoming freshmen. I worked in a text/bookstore for a year, I wouldn’t want to approach any more nervous and frustrated students either. The important thing is, they were there when I needed them.

And I did need them.

After a while of browsing the crowded novels, I had a question itching in the back of my mind. I thought this seemed like a bookstore that would house Roxane Gay‘s new novel Bad Feminist. I had to ask or forever regret it. “I think we’re out,” a man with a ponytail told me over Dumbledore glasses. Disappointment crept across my face as the employee slapped a few fingers on the keyboard. “Wait, hold on,” he said.

I turned my attention to the mystery books on sale, not letting myself hope. I had been itching to get my hands on a copy, 2014-08-20 19.09.14but knew of few bookstores that had it. I know it is available online, but I wanted it in my hands at that very moment in the most selfish of ways.

“Here you go. Fresh out of the box,” the man said from behind me. My excitement could not be contained. My delight echoed throughout the store, or that’s how it happened in my head.

I purchased one other book here titled Emilie and the Sky World by Martha Wells, which has probably the most beautiful cover I have ever seen. I know this post is picture heavy, but just one more, I promise it is worth it.

We hear stories all the time about bookstores closing down, big chains breaking, and an all around difficulty of the publishing industry due to things like Amazon and Kindles. I get it, books are are hard industry, they always have been. But with places like these laying in wait for book lovers like me, and probably you, to stumble upon, I don’t believe that electronic books could ever replace good old paper and ink. Or at least I am hoping beyond hope.

It’s the people and the paper and the cats and the rustle of turning pages.

It’s the personal touches and contact.

It’s the palpable love for words.

That make these experiences irreplaceable.

Guiding Authors through Social Media at Midwest Writers Workshop

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This was day one, and a very excited me.

Midwest Writers Workshop took place July 24-26, 2014. I had the privilege of being a Social Media Intern. This means I helped authors understand how to effectively utilize their online presence to actively participate in conversations about writing, publishing, and of course, how to build their platform without being pushy and awful about their work (AKA the “BUY MY BOOK” disease).

I have never been to any other conference but this one, but many Tweets from the conference agree. No other conference is as friendly and intimate as Midwest Writers.

My days were extremely full. There were so many authors looking for help building their platform, specifically through social media. A majority of them came to me asking, “What is Twitter?” Between countless sips of coffee, I would try to show them the ropes in the world of retweeting, hashtaging, favoriting, and following. One cunning client told me a hashtag (#) used to be called an octothorpe, and it has become my new favorite word.Octothrope

But it wasn’t all Twitter. I taught authors how to create lists on Facebook. How to operate WordPress and Blogspot. How to use their time effectively on Twitter with Tweetdeck. How to create websites or a blog and what to write about when they have a blog. I showed authors social media they had never heard of, like AboutMe. I advised authors how to manage themselves on social media, and what to talk about.

I met mystery writers, and legal thriller writers, christian writers, and memoir writers. Every one of them had a story to tell, and each one of them wanted to tell other people about these stories. I gave them as many tips as I could, but there truly is only one answer to this question. You must care.

You must care about the writing world, and this means caring about other writers just like yourself who are trying to make it. Be influential. People will realize you are more than just another writer, you are a supporter of other writers. This is worth more than any story could ever be. Be connected with the writing universe, and they cannot help but connect with you back because you CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING.

Social media is used incorrectly too often, as I told many of my clients. So now I will tell you.

Many people see social media as a way for people to pay attention to them, and I used to be one of them. “Look at me, I look so pretty today.” “Look at me, I’m hurting other classmates/friends with my words on social media to disguise my own pain.” “Look at me, I have so many followers/friends on this screen.” “Look at me, LOOK AT ME.” “Look at me!”

Social media should be a place to showcase the positive about yourself AND OTHERS. Mostly others.”Look at me” should instead be, “Look at you”, or “Look at this.”

If you need to be convinced further, check out the term Literary Citizenship. Literary Citizenship speaks specifically about using social media, and your entire life, in order to promote writing and authors you love, but really it can apply to anything you want. Supporting things that interest you and people that make the world better will make others interested in you. There is no better way to get others interested in you than being kind, relevant, and helpful.

But really, Midwest Writers is the best conference on the planet. Next time you are itching for some writing inspiration/advice/feedback, check out this conference. It will be worth your while.

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All the interns! From left to right: Linda Taylor (our beautiful supervisor/superhero), Morgan Aprill, Heather DiGiacomo, Me, Sarah Hollowell, Jackson Eflin, Brittany Means, Haley Muench, and Becca Wolfey

Make the Most of Midwest Writers Workshop 2014

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Last summer I had the opportunity to attend Midwest Writers Workshop on scholarship. I am not exaggerating when I tell you my life will never be the same. It was the first writing conference I had ever been to, and it was the greatest experience in my young writing career to date.

It’s the people. Hundreds of them in the same building with the same passions, and ultimately, the same goal: to get their stories out. To show the world something. Every single one of them have stories to tell you. And all of them are worth listening to.

Having been to this conference once, I have gained some insight on how to get the most out of this phenomenal experience. Here are a few things you should take advantage of at Midwest Writers Workshop 2014.

1) The Down Time

There is very little of this, but when you do find yourself twiddling your thumbs, here is what you need to do instead: TALK TO PEOPLE. There are so many great minds and stories and people at this conference. Try to collect them. Sit at a different table with different people every time you go into the big lecture hall area. You will not regret it.

 2) The Hashtag (#MWW14)

The great thing about the people at Midwest Writers is that they love to tweet. Last year, you could look at the hashtag and see snippets of sessions you wanted to go to but didn’t. This is called “live tweeting”. You tweet quotes, thoughts, or activities that you think are helpful about a session so others can experience it too.

The hashtag is a great way to stay connected to the conference as a community, as a whole, as one big pulsing passion for writing. Use the hashtag, and watch how you expand your online community as well as enhance your experience at the conference.

Below is a very simple tweet I tweeted from last year’s conference. I met the two authors (Liz Lincoln & Lori Rader-Day) who responded, and we still are connected through Twitter today. You should follow them too, they’re funny.

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3) The Books

Yes, there are books at Midwest Writers! There is a chance one of the writers you meet will have their book for sale at the conference. If you meet them, like them, and want to support them, BUY THEIR BOOK. It’s simple.

4) Pitching to Real Agents

Midwest Writers offers you a chance to pitch your novels to an agent. If you feel your piece is ready to be in print, DEFINITELY take advantage of this. Oh you know, that DIVERGENT book? Veronica Roth was discovered at this conference. These agents are serious about books, and if they like you, there’s a chance you could be their next client.

Even if your novel is not quite finished, I still recommend you utilize this opportunity. An agent will tell you the ways in which your novel is perfect for the publishing world, and in which way is it lacking. Rarely will you be face to face with an agent who is willing to give you feedback again.

5) Social Media Tutoring

I’m not just saying this because I am one of the social media interns. Unfortunately in the writing world, a lot of the time it falls on the author to let others know their book exists. Social media is an efficient way to accomplish this, as well as help promote other authors in the exact same position. You just need to know what you’re doing. That is where the social media tutoring comes in.

And there you have it. 5 simple tips for optimizing your Midwest Writers experience. I have referred to Midwest Writers as a home of sorts. A place where I feel understood and cared for by other writers who have been fresh out of college without an idea of how to make this writing thing work. This has not changed. Midwest Writers is a beautiful place to be.

I am inexplicably excited to meet new faces at this conference. I am equally delighted to help writers understand how social media works and why it is important.

I hope to see you there.

Rape Culture is Ruining the Horror Genre

Sensitive material will be discussed in this blog post.

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What is rape culture?

Rape culture is a culture that makes sexual violence both invisible and inevitable. I like this definition because it does not make the issue about a singular gender or group of people. Sexual violence happens to many people, and the number continues to grow at an alarming pace. It has become a problem. We are a part of a rape culture, and recent horror films and TV shows have proven it.

During the past couple of months, I have been attempting to find a new horror film or TV show. I really enjoy being scared, but more than that, I enjoy the way the horror genre can make me think about the human race. Unfortunately, my thought patterns about these recent horror productions have been bleak indeed. My endeavors have included: American Horror StoryHemlock Grove, and Splice.

Every single one of these shows has a scene that involves rape. And all of them are completely unnecessary. These scenes add close to nothing vital to the plot or the developing characters. They are simply thrown into these shows in order to add shock and disgust.

Roman would have remained an asshole had he not raped his asian classmate.

Tate would have remained insanely creepy had he not taken advantage of Vivian.

The creature in Splice was already unnerving, there was no need to have the creature rape her nurturer.

What is worse, these rape scenes add no element of horror. Rape is not scary. It is appalling. It is painful. A rape scene makes me turn off the show or movie and walk away. It makes me never recommend that show or movie to anyone ever. It makes me want to scream and weep and wonder if this is the only way the world will be shocked anymore. Is rape the only thing that catches our attention? Are we so captivated that it must invade every area of our lives, from jokes to movies?

What happened to pure horror? I’m talking about Pet Sematary. I’m talking about Rear Window and No Country for Old Men. What happened to characters that make you shake using only a coin? Where are the creatures that made you curl into a ball in the middle of your bed, never letting a limb dangle off the side, thinking, “Oh god, what if that thing is in here?”

What happened to horror?

Graduating: No more tree sweaters

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I feel you, husky.

Recent shenanigans of my life have included: bar hopping, seeing an abandoned sweater swaying all alone in the treetops, and enthusiastically clambering up the limbs to retrieve the poor fused-threads.

With graduation rapidly approaching, it is beginning to dawn on me. These things will soon come to an end. I will soon be thrown into the world of suits and cubicles and professionalism. I don’t know if I’m ready.

In fact, I can almost guarantee I’m not ready. I know nothing of being professional, or even being an adult, for that matter. I am trying to find my way through the mist of careers while keeping my insanity. These are eight things I keep telling myself to try to keep my individuality and still get along in this big bad world.

1) Don’t care so much. People will either love you or hate you. If they love you, they’ll hire you. If they hate you, you didn’t want to work there anyway.

2) Appreciate the little things. You didn’t press the snooze button today? FANTASTIC, you rock! Go on with your bad self.

3) Vent. It’s important to let your emotions fly. Just make sure you do it to the right people at the right time.

4) Exercise. Exercising really does help you be happier (although, I often hate myself during this process). I personally am a Pilates fan, but do whatever you think is fun/helpful/will make your abs burn like hell-fire.

5) Do art. Write, paint, draw, make robots, create an infograph, glue macaroni into fun shapes, spin pottery, whatever. Create something for the world, it’s good for your karma.

6) Laugh at your own jokes. Even if they aren’t funny. You deserve it. You’re hilarious.

7) Find new things. Just because you aren’t in college anymore, doesn’t mean you quit learning. Always keep new things in your hands.

8) Take a deep-fracking-breath. Cliché, yes. But still some good advice. Breathing is important.

Graduating is an accomplishment. Remember that when you can’t find a job, feel worthless, or whatever else might come your way. You graduated college. So you can’t be all that bad.

 

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