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Saturday Spotlight for August 25th, 2012
Daily Literature Deviations is proud to feature this special recognition article!
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the person behind the art.
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Artists will be featured in a special news article every Saturday. Major points to SilverInkblot
for doing the hard work and research that goes into these articles!
Today's featured deviant is:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing.
I'm an American writer currently expatriated to Spain. Currently I work double jobs as a travel writer for a local ex-pat magazine and also as an English teacher for an area university. I think that moving to Spain was the easiest decision I ever made, and living it out is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Not for any one particular incident, more just that being away from your home, your family, and your former life is often hard. However, maybe it's the climate, maybe it's the fact that adversity really can fuel your creative process, but my writing has never been better.
I want to say I've been a writer all my life, as I can remember coming up with stories (clearly cut and pasted from whichever X-Files episode I was watching at the time), from as young as 11. But I would say I stated as a 'serious' writer around seven or so years ago. I don't really know where the ideas come from, but my writing process looks something like this: I read. I read everything I possibly can (which is a smaller quantity than you might think when you live in a non-English speaking country!), and then one day an idea comes. Sometimes it's something I see on the street, or a line in a book, whathaveyou but suddenly a story comes tumbling out of the sky, hits me in the brain, and I write it down. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Even if my ideas come out of nowhere, part of the process is creating time at the same time every day in order to write in peace and quiet. If I can’t write, I viciously edit already written things. If I can’t even do that, I read extra. But I never skip that time unless it’s really important.
2. How do you feel about dA as a literature community?
I think the lit community on dA is fantastic. I was introduced to it via theWrittenRevolution and was really enchanted by the give-a-crit-to-submit system in place there. I’m also very impressed with the sheer amount of resources we've got and how personable all the other writers I've met are. I’ve always gotten solid, honest feedback here that helps me polish up my pieces. What’s more is that I’m always finding things I want to read. My inbox frequently overflows because I want to read so much of what goes through my groups, and I love that. It helps with my own ideas, and I’m definitely a reader as much as I am a writer.
Hope I didn’t write you a novel, and thanks again so much for the note. This actually came at a time where I was feeling pretty down about writing in general, and slogging through some serious un-fun with the publication market, so it was an incredible pick-me-up to see this in my inbox. The little kid inside me went bonkers shouting “someone wants to see a thing I made and put it on the fridge!”
3. Many of your stories take place during or around wartime. Why is that? How much research goes into recreating the time period?
Second thing first: So much research goes into it. I spent several years reading to get to the point where I can write some things now without looking anything up, and I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable as I could be on it. I want all the little details there to suck you in and suspend you in 1918, and any detail I get wrong that a reader happens to know can break the illusion, so I try very hard to make sure my ducks are all in a row with research.
As for why war fiction, well, that is the biggest question, isn’t it?
The short answer is: I grew up part time on a US Navy base, and the rule of writing is ‘write what you know’.
The long answer is: I write because I can’t not write. I’m always going to do it whether I try or not. But I do choose my subject material based on interests, ideals, and causes I’m passionate about. I’ve been around soldiers and sailors all my life. Most men in my family were at one point in the service, and a lot of my friends and former boyfriends were as well. Some were combat vets, some were not. Some of them struggled, some didn’t. I watched a lot of transitions happen in all of those people and saw sides of them I don’t think would have come out had they not been put under wartime pressure, or through the discipline of the service.
Wars are uniquely and totally a human invention, and they have always, and will always happen. They shape people in ways nothing else can, and I think if there’s any hope out there of finding more peaceful ways of sorting out problems, we really need to examine and understand war on both a large and individual scale. So I write about what I see, how it affected the people I love, and what kind of challenges they faced upon their return. I want people to look at it, see it for what it is, and not look away from it. It’s too easy to look away from it, and too necessary that we don’t.
4. You've written a few comics - how is that different from writing pure literature? How is it similar? Are they even comparable?
I find it far more difficult to write comics because I have no control over the images. I love narrative. I love painting my own pictures. That is something you really have to give up in comic writing. Once the script is done it’s in your artist’s hands and you have to let them express their half of the creative vision.
I have been extremely fortunate to work with artists who are easy going but there is plenty of room for misunderstandings or clashes in vision (fortunately, I have never suffered any of those). So it’s definitely more of a lesson in compromise and collaboration that it is in pure creation of your own.
I would compare it more to a movie than to literature, simply because the most beautiful thing about literature is that so much of it is left to the reader’s imagination. If I say picture a rose, every reader pictures a different looking one. If I show them a picture of a rose, they’re looking at a picture of it. One is not necessarily more moving than the other, but they are very different. Generally I will turn something into a comic when it either needs very few words to make its point, or when I have a specific vision I want my reader to see with me. For the rest I prefer and stick to literature (I’m better at it, anyway )
5. What advice would you give to a beginning writer?
This was the toughest question to answer. Like every other writer out there who has enjoyed any success, I of course want to say: read and write. Every day. Make sure you make time to do it every day. Take books and notebooks with you everywhere. I could say that. But everybody says that. So I’ll say two different things.
1. Stay healthy. Eat good food most of the time. Drink orange juice in the mornings. And once a day, if you can, do a little exercise, even if it’s just stretching or going for a walk. If you’re healthy, you’re productive. No one feels like producing anything if they’re sick or tired. Plus, the exercise not only makes your body feel good, but it can distract that outer layer of your brain – you know the one, the one that is always worried about what you’re having for dinner or why the boy you like didn’t text you back – so that you can have some quiet time with yourself. It’s generally during that time that someone in the back of my brain pipes up and says “Excuse me, but I’d really like to tell you something.”
2. Go out and talk to people. Writing seminars and books can teach grammar but I’m a firm believer that only life teaches you good story. Talking to people makes you think, gives you perspective, and basis for good characters. It also is the most natural way of learning how to write dialogue. Every new person you talk to has a new point of view and when you put them all together, that’s what makes up the world. Out there in the world is where you want to be if you want to learn to write stories.
And Here Is JohnParis, 1917
Here is John, beside me again. Sometimes when we meet he is courtly and charming. Other times he’s tired and he can only muster up a smile as the words “Bonjour, ma belle,” fall out of his mouth. Sometimes his eyes burn feverishly, sometimes they’re dull, sometimes he’s drunk. It depends on where he’s been that day. There are only two things constant about my John: he always manages to smile, and I can always see the fear deep in every line on his face.
Paris is grim; the front is moving closer to the city, and we’re losing more battles than we’re winning. John spends his time here waiting, and afraid. He lost in these brown streets among these brown buildings, as are all the uniformed boys playing soldier.
Only they are not playing, really. Not anymore. Time is short for him, and the front lines rise up and loom in the darkness. He will meet them again soon. He is like a starving man, needing a good meal and a kind wor
"And Here is John" by doughboycafe
Analise April, 1921
"And we could get a little house," she continued. "Somewhere near the coast. I hear it's still nice by the coast."
"Sure," he said.
"You don't think so?"
"No, it is."
She snuggled close to him, putting her head against his chest, pressing her shoulder up in the crook of his arm. She was so small. "I always did think a cottage would be nice. In Biarritz, maybe."
"You're right, too many tourists in Biarritz. Maybe south, towards the mountains. We could have a nice little cottage down by the mountains. Near the sea."
"Yes, we could."
She lifted her face; her radiant, round face framed with the loose curls of white gold hair tumbling down around it. She smiled and her little pink cheeks lifted. "And we could have children."
Marc laid his head back against the pillow and closed his eyes. "Isn't it pretty to think so?"
"Do you love me?"
"Tell me again."
"I love you."
"Do you really have to go tomorrow?"
"I don't see what need there
"Analise" by doughboycafe
Becoming BrianThe soldier coming up on him was swaying, limping, climbing wearily up the stony street towards the terrace. He walked like an old man, thought Brian Strong, though he was scarcely older than Brian himself. He dragged himself along, tripping over the cracks in the cobblestones, hauling behind him a filthy rucksack all covered in gray trench clay. Pausing by the café, the old boy took off his garrison cap and worried it between his black-tipped fingers.
"Well, hey," said Brian Strong. "Sit down and have a drink on me."
Regarding him for a moment, the soldier conceded and sat.
Brian Strong ran his hands over a perfectly polished uniform and propped his shiny-shoed feet up on the trumpet case under his table. The fellow soldier opposite him rested his head on his hand and, though his eyes seemed hollow, Brian thought with a good night's sleep and a shave he'd be right as rain. He looked like a man who had seen things, thought Brian, and done things. A worldly man. He saw now that t
"Becoming Brian" by doughboycafe
"Soldiers" by *deviant
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