So I took a week off from blogging; come at me! And what was I doing? Well, reading Nausicaä for one thing, and the collected “Forever” storyline of Fantastic Four (review forthcoming). I was also busy compiling this:
~Steven’s to be Read List~
I have never made a point of keeping a ‘to be read’ list, although my list of ‘currently reading’ or ‘#amreading’ is well documented, and so long that it’s running off the page. I think the act of ‘making it official’ in a list is daunting to me. But tonight is the night we shall be dauntless. It’s not like it has to be set in stone, right? Right?
I’ll try not to feel bad if I don’t get to all of these in due course.
All of the books are in my possession, and only wait upon me. Here is a roll call, eight tomes long.
Here’s some exciting news, Ink readers and WYRM’s Gauntlet alum. We’re going to try something crazy, something new, something that requires delicate handling in the face of danger. When things get that rough, I turn to my favorite web designer and creative ally, the multi-talented, and quite unstoppable, Khanh Mai. And we’d like to announce that headline once more: WYRM’s Gauntlet to be crowdfunded!
At least, ‘tis the plan.
At this point, we WYRMs do not know all the details, except that we aim to do this through IndieGoGo since we feel it has a good chance of standing out against other writing-related projects there. ‘IndieGoGo’ suits us as we run the ultimate indie writing competition, after all. (I won’t have to look into the camera and tell you to accept no imitations).
We are looking at the month of July to commence, but this is still tentative. Whatever the results, the Gauntlet itself will still be run this fall.
For those who may not know, WYRM’s Gauntlet is a competition for both writers and critics, with four rounds of mind-bending challenges, time limits, and trash talk. We are open to persons of all skill levels, as our primary goal is to support new talents. However, we are not susceptible to flattery.
In the past, prizes have totaled $275, but with crowdfunding, we’d love to up the ante. If you’d like to support your fellow writers and critics, stay tuned for more on the project!
Lieutenant Dunbar wasn’t really swallowed. But that was the first word that stuck in his head. Everything was immense.
This Dances with Wolves review is brought to you by over 500 native tribes, a bloody past, the 1990 film of the same name which helped popularize the story, a stampede of buffalo, and last but not least, author Michael Blake.
For some reason, this has never found its way into any of my favorites lists, or into too many enlightened conversations with bookish friends. But that does not mean that Michael Blake’s novel about a disillusioned Civil War era lieutenant did not find its way into my heart.
Because in all honesty, in all truth, in all reality, when I look at it, Dances with Wolves is one of my all-time favorite reads.
I make the distinction of a book, as there is a very famous film adaptation of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. And to distinguish it further, I must say that Nausicaä, the book, is a beautifully rendered manga, or graphic novel. My edition comes in two hardcover volumes.
Last year, I had the pleasure of reading Starting Point, the autobiographical work by Hayao Miyazaki, where he discusses, among other things, the great difficulty he experienced trying to complete Nausicaä, the book. In fact, the final version of the story was released a decade after the film.
I should note that this feels like one of those books that I’ll actually finish in a decent amount of time. That may be due to the fact that ever since seeing Spirited Away a few years ago, I have been obsessed (at least a little bit) with Studio Ghibli. For those of you looking to watch the film you’ll have the added bonus of Patrick Stewart voicing the character Master Yupa.
Whether in book or movie form, I believe most people would enjoy following Princess Nausicaä as she fights for her kingdom, and tries to restore a balance between humans who have lost their technical ingenuity, and the toxic jungle which has claimed much of the earth.
She’ll have some help from the aforementioned Master Yupa, the greatest swordsman on the Periphery, and from her uncle Mito. But she finds herself in a dangerous position, as the only human who can understand the Ohmu–a giant insect species who most everyone view as the enemies of humankind.
Ink’s My Thing is happy to welcome spec fic author Stewart C Baker for a quick chat. He’s bound to make it fun, so let’s make him feel at home. What do you need to know about Stewart? First, he is of the most recent crop of Writers of the Future winners, also a writer of haiku, and a perennial contender in our favorite competition, WYRM’s Gauntlet.
His work has appeared in Nature, Flash Fiction Online, and is forthcoming in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. His most recent contribution to speculative letters will be in the colorfully named anthology No Sh!t There I Was edited by Rachael Acks, the Kickstarter of which can still be supported, if we act quickly. Since he’s lived in so many places (from Japan to England to the Pacific Northwest) he simply tells people he’s from the internet.
For all of these diverse adventures Stewart is known, but I first and foremost think of him as the one guy who instantly recognized my NES Bubble Bobble avatar on social media. If you work with or around him, you’ll learn one thing for sure about Stewart. He always brings his sense of humor.
Well, this man will be coming to Ink’s My Thing very soon. And he will be sure to bring news, tales, and tidbits from all his travels to distant lands and foreign kingdoms. Stick around. He’ll be coming around the mountain when he comes.
It will be fun, enlightening, and who knows what else. Join me when I have a word with Stewart C Baker.
For those who remember (and for those who will never forget) my love of writing, of characters, and of visual storytelling, led me into the world of comics journalism a few years ago, and I’ve made it a habit to keep up with that world. From the webcomics I’ve discovered to the people I’ve met along the way, I’m happy to be a part of the fandom.
Now, some of my peers have been tepid toward the workshops, as they cite they are not for true amateurs, and since it asks for that scary letter of recommendation and all. I was tepid, too. But, to my fellow writers with a bend toward comics, what have you really got to lose? It’s never my intention to stir up false hopes, but whenever we submit a story, we are taking a risk. Whenever we sign on for any large project, like a novel or a blog, that’s a chance, too. We have no way of knowing if anyone will read, or if our efforts will pay off. We sure as hell don’t know if we’ll receive any kind of financial support, but we must take the experience. Why should this be any different?
So, I think I’m going to have to quote Miyazaki on this one, from a famous comic in its own right, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind:
In this harsh world of ours, the sparrow must live like a hawk if he is to fly at all.
True, a program to train comic writers from the ground up would be special, and would be awesome, but we’re talking about a highly competitive medium, and we jump through hoops for a lot less! So, why not? Cue the damn Alan Parsons Project, and get in the game. I’m not afraid to fail. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last time.
The writers’ portion of DC’s workshop will be headed up by none other than Batman writer Scott Snyder, who has been captured in this very blog, standing next to my friend Dan in a convention photo. (Also, thanks, Dan, for sending this info my way!) Application submissions from writers will be accepted all month (May 1st-31st).
As for some nuts-and-bolts about the application, it’s important to remember:
The application will ask you for up to two published samples (comics preferred; fiction allowed).
You will need to provide a writerly resume`, so make it flattering.
You’ll have to write a short composition explaining why you want to do this, and what you’d bring to the table as a new writer.
The letter of recommendation is optional.
If you don’t already know how, learn how to create a PDF.
There is a helpful ‘save’ feature on the app. which lets you work on it, then come back later to finish.
I’ve gone ahead and added three new writer links to the bottom of my Contact Me page, (where such things go) a page that is used far too infrequently, by the way. These links have helped me in a handy technical sense, the way my dictionary and thesaurus do, but also help to inspire me. Let’s talk links. You never know–you may be missing these in your collection.
First, I added Grammarist. I’ve probably visited this site countless times without realizing it, as it comes up often when I type a writerly query into Google. Most recently, I used it to look up the word usage rules of ‘lay’ and ‘lie’. It’s good for everything from colloquialisms to spelling tips, and the origins of phrases like the idiom ‘break a leg.’ When your 200-year-old text on English composition fails you, you’ll begin to appreciate Grammarist’s clear, concise style.
Next is a blog that I admit to reading way too sparingly, but which I love the spirit of. It is a Writer’s Digest blog called There Are No Rules. As with most WD material, it is aimed to better your writing and chances of success in publishing, but the emphasis is on how different and fast-paced the publishing world is nowadays. With all the numerous how-to manuals and snake oil salesmen out there, the concept of this blog serves to remind me that the only ‘real’ rule is to write a story worth telling.
The final update today is an essay by Maria Popova concerning Arthur Quiller-Couch. In truth, Brain Pickings itself, the blog of Popova, could just as easily be my link here, but this particular piece warrants special attention for writers. Popova highlights some of the timeless advice which made Professor Couch so noteworthy, inspiring words like these: Definitions, formulae (some would add, creeds) have their use in any society in that they restrain the ordinary unintellectual man from making himself a public nuisance with his private opinions. But they go a very little way in helping the man who has a real sense of prose or verse. In other words, they are good discipline for some thyrsus-bearers, but the initiated have little use for them.
For this literary update, I #amreading The Dark Tower. It’s time again to revisit King.
I say that as though I read Stephen King frequently, but in truth my King checklist amounts only to Riding the Bullet, The Dead Zone, Blaze (written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman), bits of On Writing, and an unfinished copy of The Stand which lays in a 1,000 page hardcover heap in my closet. Anyway, Ma was a pretty big fan of King, even if I was not, and his TV movies IT and TheLangoliers scared just about all the shit clean out of me as a kid.
So, needless to say, respect. (And, that Joe Hill sounds like a real chip off the ole’ block, by the way. NOS4A2 has been on my reading list for a while.)
Why this book?
I can honestly say that The Dark Tower is the series that comes up most often in conversations with reader and writer friends, when those conversations are positive. My discriminating friends delight in panning lousy teen romance, and groan with a wide range of opinions when it comes to something like the 15 books of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Believe it or not, not everyone has read Harry Potter, and the same goes for The Hunger Games. I think the only series I have got around to openly praising is The Hyperion Cantos.
This would seem to be the series everyone can agree on, and I have high hopes for it myself. And if not the novels, then maybe the comics that came later.
Anyway, we may not get a chance to read every great series that comes along in our lifetimes, but let us begin. That is the point. Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s experience the craze.
If there is anyone out there who feels these two–reader and book–should not be wed, please speak now or forever hold your peace. Or, in other words, does everyone like The Dark Tower?
In between reading, in between celebrities and heroes dying, and before diving into a review for my writing group, I thought about that holiday that gets no respect whatsoever. I thought I’d offer a proper tribute to Earth Day, which snuck up on all of us yesterday, April 22.
If you’re a Godzilla, or cult movie fan, then you may already know where this is going. If you aren’t much for the King of the Monsters, then this won’t take up too much of your time.
In 1971, Toho released Godzilla vs. Hedorah. Considering that Godzilla himself may be interpreted as a metaphor for nuclear weapons (or as I tend to think, as the muddy consequences of using them) then this movie, which was presented as Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster to Americans in 1972, could do the same for the dangers of pollution. And it had a groovy soundtrack.
Before you ask, this was the film where Godzilla flew by tucking his tail in and breathing fire like rocket exhaust. Also, I had this T-shirt.
Now, please, on this Earth Day, save the Earth with me! It’s what Godzilla would do.
American version, “Save the Earth”.
And the original Japanese, “Return the Sun”.
Happy listening, happy nostalgia, and take a moment to thank the YouTuber who uploaded this time capsule!