Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm a Thief

...what better way to get back into the blogging saddle than sharing a most excellent blogpost:

The Thief and the Soloist: A Very Brief Taxonomy of Writers

In this fella's (Lev Grossman) taxonomy I have to declare myself a Thief. Whenever I find myself writing-blind, I'll open up a source text: Ron Carlson, say, or Yi Yun Li (The Vagrants, in particular), Michael Byers, Barry Lopez, etc and see how they do it. How they open a chapter, how they weave details and dialogue together, how they create echoes and harmonies with objects and places, how they construct such marvelous sentences, how they end the damn chapter. You'd think I'd end up with a clunky mish-mash of unrelated styles and disparate techniques, but what I find is that these out-sources just serve as a jumping-off place and through revision after revision, the bumps and lumps are smoothed out, the sight lines tightened and it all distills into my own approach.

However. I'll also use Tarot cards, throw the I Ching, sneak in a Chinese Fortune Cookie fortune, roll dice (those Dungeon and Dragons dice are great -so many sides, so many options!), steal plot lines from Dear Abby and otherwise grasp at straws. But whatever helps me survive the draft (as Ron Carlson says), right?

And if I can't write a blogpost myself, I'll piggyback off someone else's brilliant post.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No Direction at All

In the interest of seeming more professional, I've been updating my profile in all the Webby places: FB, Goodreads, Linked In, etc., etc., just in case some poor fool wandering the Web-o-sphere might be looking for a relatively un-published writer upon whom they can bestow, well, what I wonder? A contract, I guess, for the book I haven't yet written.

I've been pretty good with the submission bios, keeping them short and sweet, sticking to the basic facts with only a smattering of truthiness. I don't believe in tarting up my accomps any more than I have to. Not fond of being coy or cutsey-wootsy either, so I avoid statements like: "when not herding cats the size of watermelons on the far reaches of the Canadian Prairies, LK writes with gremlin-sharpened egret feathers dipped in ink of a giant squid the better to capture the pure essence of...well, whatever." or " LK waits for the dog of inspiration to drop the well-chewed bone of contention into her lap; then gets busy."  Even if it is true. Or, true-ish.

But my professional cv is rather slim, having been busy with other things. Too many other things.

So, to pad things up a bit,  I'm tempted to use this:

Lakin Khan has been, in no particular order,  a gymnast (though you wouldn't know that now), an atheist (until I had children), a violinist, a tool-and-die machine shop programmer back when we used punch-tape to code the instructions (believe it!), a waitress, a short-order cook, a restaurant owner, a swimmer, a tabla student of Allah Rakha and Zakir Hussein at the Ali Akbar College of Music, a freelance photographer with a wandering eye, a wedding photographer's assistant who never understood the old cake-in-the-face business, a photo-journalist, a wannabe-acolyte in the church of my own creation, an English major, a flute player, and for one year, a double-major in math and French; a half-assed wife, a worrier par excellance, a born-again agnostic and a Neo-pagan Evangelical Unitarian, one of those truly bad girlfriends, a good-enough mother, a Fictioneer and A Friend to Poets; a professor-wrangler, cat-handler, badger-worshipper; and every other Friday in June, a banjo-strumming nitpicker with misplaced mordant wit and a bad case of insomnia.

Just the usual writer resume, all over the place with no direction at all*.

 * with thanks to Bobby Zimmerman.