Showing posts from February, 2017

Revising and the Ship of Theseus

The Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment from the world of philosophy. A ship, lying on the shore, needs repairs—new decking, fresh timbers, a new mast or two. How much of the original ship can be replaced before it's no longer the same ship?  I ran into this idea in a recent TV episode, and now, of course, I SEE IT EVERYWHERE. During my Admin Boot Camp (which I still haven’t written about, in part because it’s still NOT OVER, see ~ below), one of my tasks was to get that rattle in the Corolla fixed.  Almost two days and $$$$ later, I’m now driving the Corolla of Theseus. Not really, but I pondered at what point I’d be driving a different car vs. the same car with all new parts. AND the Ship of Theseus relates to revising. How much of a draft can you change before it becomes something new—not something that’s necessarily better or definitely worse than the original, but something decidedly different? I’ve worked on pieces—usually essays, but short fictio


I'm in the middle of an Admin Boot Camp, more about which later, though I'm not sure what there is to say beyond "I'm spending at least one week, maybe two, doing administrative things I've put off too long, and I named it 'Boot Camp' to make it sound like more fun." The point is that I'm doing spreadsheets and stacks of paper. I'm closing loops, meeting deadlines, filing, and deleting. And catching up on reading. Over at Dead Darlings--which contains much useful information and inspiration-- here's a great post, "Choose Your Super Power," by Julie Carrick Dalton . In it, she revisits those childhood fantasy debates about the merits of x-ray vision vs. invisibility vs. imperviousness to bullets vs. speed. Her final choice, after the events of last November is (drumroll) the power of story. A superpower after my own heart. Go there and read it! All the way to the end!

Twitter Fasts

The TL;DR version: A Twitter Fast creates a space for me to get stuff done. For the past two weekends, I've gone on a 60-hour Twitter Fast. From 9 PM Friday to 9 AM Monday, I stay off Twitter. Why 60 hours? Because the first time I tried it, I recognized Sunday evening that waiting till 9 AM Monday would give me an extra 12 hours, and that 60 hours sounds a lot longer and far more impressive than 48. Also, as the end of the 48 hours approached, I recognized that I didn't NEED to see tweets. In fact, NOT logging on would probably help me sleep better. That's turned out to be mostly true. Overall, detaching was easier than I expected. The first weekend, I had client work to do. The second weekend I also focused on a long-term project, this time for me. Both projects had looming deadlines. Besides big chunks of time, I found suddenly that I had smaller bits. I used them to do small things, like walk the long way around to pick up the newspaper, play the piano, and de

Finding a Home

I got some good news recently: one of my short stories has found a home! "Demeter's Easter," which features a wonderful woman named Sylvia, won second place in the annual Ten Stories High contest, sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association-Niagara Branch. It will be published in the 17th volume of their Ten Stories High anthology. Sylvia will be in good company. I haven't read this particular story by John Pringle, but I know him and his work (yay Northwestern Ontario writers!), and several other people whose work was chosen have placed stories in the past. Each time something (someone) I write finds a home, I'm thrilled, especially when it's fiction. (Also with nonfiction, except that the thrill is slightly different.) When I send out a short story, I'm vulnerable, which is fine. I'm an adult, I can take it. But submitting also makes my characters vulnerable. They're out there being evaluated, except that they live only through the wa