Sunday, June 29, 2008

inflatable swimming pools

I am finished with my writing program. I have learned that I am not a very good student, that a classroom probably isn't the best learning environment for me. I'm considering a low residential program because of this since I seem to work very well one on one with a teacher rather than when I'm one of the many students in a classroom. But I want to be involved in a community, want teaching experience, and want that teaching experience to help pay for tuition. So what to do? What to do? I think I'd make a better teacher than student in the classroom. Maybe a less academic-y program would work for me.

I really want to start working on my novella again, but can't until August. This frustrates me. I don't feel like working on anything else. I thought about working on a secondary story with the novella's protagonist, but I also wanted to work on an irreal story and my protagonist lives in our reality, so it's not happening. I guess I could have ignored that fact that he lives in our reality, but I don't want to do that. I've ignored too many things like that in the past.

I saw Anthony Hopkin's Slipstream. It's really fucked up.

I don't think I'm going to write short stories anymore unless someone asks me to write one and I can't just send one of the many good stories that I have written in the past that remain unpublished because of a theme or whatever. It's too much work to conceptualize short stories. Almost as much work as conceptualizing a novella. It seems like a waste of time, like I'm burning away ideas that would work better for something longer. I hope that one day I'll be famous enough to say that I'll only work on a short story if someone pays me. But for now, I will say that I will only write a short story if someone asks me for one.

I'm listening to The Modern Lovers a lot on Myspace. I really like them. They remind me of The Jim Carrol Band, but they are much, much better. I think I used to have a Jonathan Richman cassette. I didn't like it. I bought it because Dean Ween played guitar on a song or two. I like the way Dean Ween's guitar sounds. It is always out of tune.

I started a new story tonight. Having a little trouble getting into it, but it's not bad. I've been trying to come up with a good idea for it for the last couple of weeks. I came up with an idea. It's pretty ok. I think I'll write a page a day until I'm either finished with the first draft or it starts to excite me and I feel the urge to write more than a page a day.

From now on, I think I'm going to base all of the protagonists in my short stories on people that I know. It is lazy, but I don't think it's worth the effort to create an original character for a short story protagonist. I already have a fully realized character if I do it this way and I don't have to put any effort into the act of creation.

Although so far, the protagonist in my new story is not at all like my friend who I've based him on. But I can still pull things from his life or personality if it's necessary.

It looks like a couple of people bought my book today on Amazon. This makes me feel a little better about myself.

The person who wrote me a letter about enjoying my novella in The Bizarro Starter Kit also reviewed it for an online mag called The Pedestal:

"Bradley Sands’s novella "Cheesequake Smash-Up" is also based on an absurd and utterly delicious premise: America’s most popular eateries vie for a fast food monopoly in a bloody battle royal where each franchise and corporate headquarters are the combatants (thanks to recent "levitating technologies"). "Cheesequake Smash-Up" is, hands down, the funniest story to appear in either anthology. After all, it contains giant talking goldfish, anal-retentive supervisors, gorillas, geriatric sex, gladiatorial sea monkeys, a walleyed take on Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, cannibalism, tasteless jokes about bodily functions..."

That is nice. Thanks.

I read a story in front of the other writing program people last night. Thought it went pretty ok. Realized I have a microphone phobia since I don't really get nervous when I'm doing a reading without a microphone. This time, there was a microphone. The story was only a page long, which was good because I don't like reading for a long time. The content of my story made me feel like a naughty child.

The soundtrack for The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle is awful, except for Sid Vicious' cover of My Way. I once did karaoke to My Way, the Frank Sinatra version. I sang it like Sid Vicious though. I couldn't remember the lyrics that he changed except the "I killed the cat" bit. They cut my microphone. I hate karaoke bars. They are the most unpleasant places in existence.

Wait. Who Killed Bambi? is pretty amusing.

I return to work tomorrow night. I'm almost looking forward to it. I'm emotionally frazzled and a return to normalcy would feel nice.

Received my passport on the mail today. That was really fast. My photo looks like I'm a serial killer, a serial killer who's gonna high-tail it out of the country as soon as possible.

All hail Richard Grieco.


Josh Maday said...

i know how you feel about the one-on-one vs. classroom mob. i sort of shut down in large groups of people i don't know or feel comfortable with.

congrats on the review at The Pedestal. they get a lot of traffic and are pretty well respected. i saw somewhere that they're in the top 20 if not the top 10 for lit mag web traffic. good job, bradley.

Bradley Sands said...

I think I have A.D.D.

My mind wandered all of the time. I would get lost during the lectures.

This brought back memories of college and high school.

Not that I can really do anything about my alleged A.D.D.

I cannot take stimulants because of my TMJ Disorder.

We also did one other thing in the class that probably isn't the norm for fiction workshops: We analyzed fiction after reading it aloud.

I'm a fast reader when reading for pleasure, but slow when I'm analyzing something.

While the pieces were being read out loud, I would stop to think about a sentence that I did not like. Then by the time I was finished thinking about it, the person was sometimes finished reading their piece. Then everyone would discuss it. And I would try to read the rest of the piece silently to myself while this was happening.

I lack the concentration to read fiction silently to myself while this is happening.

I think that most workshops aren't like this. Most hand out the pieces days before they are discussed in workshop.

Plus I am really rusty with grammar/linguistic terms. I can't remember a lot of them since I don't use the names of the terms in my day-to-day existence.

ryan call said...

good work on the mention in the pedestal
that is a pretty nice journal, i think

oh, what josh said
he said it better.

youre right, i think. most workshops arent like that.

barthelme was known, i think, for reading the stories aloud in class and analyzing them that way when he taught.

i think lish did that too?