Friday, January 9, 2009

Yanked from the Shelves!

Today I am writing only to make reference to two very old blog entries which I have pulled, and the subsequent existential writer's head mush caused by that action. The entries are not controversial, embarrassing, nor do they contain anything that I would want to hide. I pulled them because my writer friends told me to -- they said someone would surely steal them.

"In Virginia's Room" and "A Novel" are the titles of my two works now under protection. I brought Virginia with me to the writers' group and it caused a wave of head nodding and womanly approval grunting to circle round the table. Then the women were astonished to find that I had it sitting out in the open, just waiting for its ideas (if not its prose, verbatim) to be snatched up and republished. Then they asked if I had any more "darlings" poised for pilfering. I have some fun ideas and interesting turns of phrase in many of my entries, but I could only think of one other that would have to be removed immediately.

That night, in a panic, I put the entries in the vault. "Virginia" may be a real essay of criticism someday. In fact, I plan on making that happen, even if I have to wait for grad school to find the right moment in my reading, or to master the right words for expressing ideas in a sequence and style worthy of publishing on real paper.

"A Novel" is something I'd love to submit to a magazine, once I figure out which one. I think my non-intellectual article writing voice, the irreverent, funny one, is ready to see some ink and aqueous coating. Maybe even be paired with some of those bad magazine paintings, you know the ones with bright colors and pensive near-stick figures in striped shirts, or a stick-tree on a hill surrounded by dot-flowers. Hmm. Maybe they'll let me paint my own.

Of course I write a few good things every semester that I would not leave out for public viewing. But these goodies are usually in the form of critical papers and poems, and sometimes "articles" for my own tension relief or to create a private forum for complaints. The good stuff is not usually in the form of electronic ramblings.

It comes to me now that the two entries that came out yankworthy had extensive notes as their origin. Perhaps that should be my new rule of thumb. If I research something beyond Wiki, if I have more than two pages of notes on it with paragraphs already composed, perhaps I should aim it at a word processor, not a blog publisher. I'll "publish" it on my own paper, only for the eyes of a helpful professor or for those of the women's writers group.

I was planning to write about Harold Bloom today. He is a critic whom I earnestly appreciate, but who sometimes makes me cringe and cry out in protest. That entry was slated to be titled "Harold Bloomin' Onion." Might have to change the title if I intend to make it scholarly.

I think my problem lies in my being a "humorist" and an intellectual at the same time. I wish the two parts of the mind had a place to be published together. That's partly why I created this blog. But now that I've produced some creative criticism (that's what I call it) worth reading, where can I put it but "in the vault"?

Maybe when I get my license to write (the M.A. as it is called in the business) I can attempt to start some sort of criticism publication that has the enjoyment of reading as its background -- and not a frightening flow-chart of theory or a solemn duty to that monolith "history."

I think even old disagreeable Bloom would approve of that. But probably not of being compared to a menu item at a theme-restaurant.

1 comment:

  1. I have a lot of catching up to do ;-p

    Don't plagiarizers suck? I rank them right up there with hackers. How insecure an individual do you have to be to steal an individual's hard work?

    I'll miss those two blog entries. They were a couple of my favorites. However, as a fellow writer, I fully understand and support your decision. I give you props for continuing to write a blog. I'm too paranoid to do even that ;-)

    Your writer's group sounds absolutely wonderful. I love the visual of the "womanly approval grunting". That cracked me up.

    I expect to see "Virginia" in an esteemed literary journal one day. You'll find a wonderful home for it when the time is right.

    I'm actually going to be submitting a non-fiction story to a magazine soon. I'll keep my eye out for ones that accept essays. There are many wonderful ones out there. The hardest part is getting things in before they close to submissions (most have certain reading periods).

    The bad magazine paintings with bright colors, etc. I don't think Highlights is the only magazine out there ;-p

    Aw, you're holding out on us? :-( Just kidding. I do the exact same thing. In October, I wrote a six page article on the horror genre of all things. I was fed up with people completely dismissing the entire horror genre as trash. While I agree that 98% of what passes for horror today is trash, the genre did have a golden age and still manages to produce at least one gem a year. But that's a rant that could go on for at least 20 paragraphs.

    I like your rule. It makes a lot of sense and is quite practical. I use a similar rule when writing. If I need to buy a book on the topic and if I read that book cover to cover, chances are that I have a workable idea.

    I would actually pay to see a scholarly article entitled "Harold Bloomin' Onion". But, I've got a very odd sense of humor (as you well know).

    I may be in the minority, but I find that the most engaging and intelligent intellectuals have a sense of humor. Nothing engages people more then laughter.

    Robyn! You could be a mentor! That just popped into my head. You would be a wonderful mentor. You're a humorist and an intellectual, you have an amazing passion for the arts especially the literary ones, and you enjoy sharing your passion. Those are the makings of a remarkable individual, which is what great mentors are.

    When you start a criticism publication, I'll be the first subscriber :-) Oooo, that could be a great X-mas gift one year. The publication you described sounds like something the world truly needs. There just isn't enough good writing anymore, let alone good criticism.

    Your last sentences usually crack me up. If Bloom was an onion-lover, I'm sure wouldn't mind the comparison too much.


I publish all the comments, the good, the bad and the ugly. Unless I have no idea what you're saying. If you want to email me (with only good I hope), I'm at rbyrd [at] niu [dot] edu.