Thursday, February 23

Hand-Written Letters and Motivation

Oh man, oh man, I wish I'd heard of this a month ago.

While perusing Facebook (the blessing and curse to all our lives), I found mention by Postcrossing, which I subscribe to, about a blog entry centering on letter-writing. Well, I love writing letters! or, I did before I got lazy, and I also like to blame it on how other people don't write back but, really, if you're dedicated to writing letters, others' responses should not matter. Yes, it'd be nice to hear from other people, but my values are not theirs, and apparently I'm not worth 20 minutes and the latest Forever stamp.

So the above blog-author (or blauthor) touched on how difficult it was to get into, the letter-writing process, but after diligent application and persistence she gathered momentum. Indeed, she came to enjoy it as an exercise and a pastime, and her letters got longer and longer. That's wonderful, I thought, but why is an average citizen so driven to pour time and effort into a hand-written letter? I did it because the electricity in my building went out for two days. I sent out 40 postcards and letters to everyone in my address book, that's how restless I got.

Sunday, February 19

DIY: Notebook Made of Junk Mail

Hmm, here's a ridiculous little project for when you've got too much time on your hands. Maybe you had a really strong coffee and—like me—maybe you recently came into possession of a large quantity of chocolate chip cookie dough, and you make yourself piles of cookies with wanton abandon. That's where your energy comes from.

Look at this: investment companies, radio stations, and
grocery stores are just throwing resources at you.
And let's also say that—like me—you have an endless and unstoppable stream of junk mail flowing into your living space. Further, let's suppose that—like me—you don't have any paper product recycling infrastructure in your neighborhood. Glass and aluminum, sure, but not paper. Weird, right?

(Also, we seem to have a lot in common. Maybe we should hang out?)

Tuesday, February 7

The Quick-and-Dirty Short Fiction

I have a humble formula for generating short stories. It's a little simplistic, but when I'm absolutely scraping for ideas, a big, elaborate convolution of high concepts won't help me. I just need a quick-and-dirty checklist for a basic short story, just to get something written. Later, when I'm convinced of its brilliance, then I can worry about the complicated matters.

First, pick a conflict: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Circumstance, or Man vs. Self. I know there are over thirty tropes, but these three will suffice. Next, I write a little column of three abbreviations...