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Broken Glass Giveaway

This weekend my book, Broken Glass, is available for free on Amazon.

Broken Glass

I would love to have you “buy” a copy. It actually helps me in a few ways. First, the more people who “buy” it, the more likely it is the book will get to the “best in free” category—which increases exposure dramatically. Second, your purchase makes it more likely that the book will show up in the “people who bought this also purchased” toolbar on Amazon. Third, the more feedback I get about the book the more I can learn from the experience. You can buy the book through the link below. And there’s a fourth way it helps which I’ll get into momentarily.

Now I want to speak bluntly about the book.


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Melanie Rae Thon: Dinner and a Workshop

After the reading and Q&A, I had the chance to attend a dinner and workshop with Master Thon. (Don’t know who that is? Check out my spotlight on Melanie Rae Thon.) This entry includes some pictures, notes, and thoughts from those portions of the event.

Dinner with Master Thon

What’s it like having dinner with a writer you admire? I’ve had the opportunity on a few occasions and have always felt a strong sense of how human—how oddly normal—these writers are. Each writer has their distinct personality, of course; Melanie was soft-spoken, charming, and quietly playful. In talking about her education she clarified that she never got her PhD, though there was no sense that she was either being especially humble or making a statement against academic titles. It was a simple statement of fact, to which the group responded by shifting away from calling her “Dr. Thon.” Instead, we called her “Master Thon.”

While I love the chance to meet with talented writers, I don’t have a sense of mysticism or excitement attached to it. I had the chance to see the experience from a different perspective as I saw other students respond.

Ashley and Master Thon

Ashley and Master Thon


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Melanie Rae Thon: Advice to Writers and Other Q&A Highlights

I had the privilege to attend a reading, Q&A, dinner, and workshop with the fantastic Melanie Rae Thon. (Don’t know who that is? Check out my spotlight entry.) This entry includes some notes, highlights, and pictures from the reading and Q&A portions of that event. But first, here’s a sample of the reading itself (poorly sound-mastered by yours truly).

Reading of “The Good Samaritan Speaks” by Melanie Rae Thon

Highlights and Notes from the Q&A

Beyond reading a variety of her work, Melanie had some wonderful insights to share during her Q&A. Here are some of my favorites.

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Micro’s Pedestal: Literary Elitism and the Genre Wars

Micro's Pedestal

In my last entry, I wrote about the micro-macro-global conception of written work. I wanted to take the opportunity to talk a bit about the academic bias for micro-level writing and how that plays into elitism and the tension between genres.

Micro’s Pedestal and Literary Elitism

It’s worth noting that, since micro-level writing can be taught using concrete examples, it is the primary area of focus for those who go through the academic process for improving their work. It is thus the value espoused by, and used to justify, literary elitism.

It’s largely because of this connection with elitism that the general definitions of “good writer” typically refer to highly tuned micro work. This is problematic in two senses: First, it fails to recognize that some writers are especially good at the macro and global level despite not having strong micro-level skills, and that these writers can be powerfully affective for their readers. Second, it fails to recognize that some writers who are especially good at the micro level are shoddy macro- and global-level writers, which makes them ineffective for most audiences.

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Micro, Macro, Global: Revision Language and Levels of Zoom

micro-macro-global

When I talk about revisions, I often talk about work that needs to happen at a specific “level” of the piece. While you could divide a written work in a basically infinite number of ways, my preferred terminology is micro-macro-global (which I find to be especially pragmatic and functional). Here’s a brief overview of the micro, macro, and global levels, followed by some notes on how this conceptualization can be used effectively.

Definitions of Micro, Macro, and Global Writing

Micro: The micro work happens at the level of the word and sentence. It refers to the degree of power, clarity, and eloquence within each sentence. It is the question of how you say what you’re trying to say. Micro work is involves with word choice and sentence structure.

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Writerly Humor: No Love for Grammar Cacti

I have a couple great images to share with you this week. Let’s start with the standard, writerly comic.

No Love for Grammar Cacti

Image Courtesy of Jesse Tahirali

I also found another image that I love. It’s originally from The Atlantic, and features a picture of a boy reading in a bombed-out London book shop. The book he’s reading is, “The History of London.”

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What does dying feel like?

(This entry is not finely tuned or heavily edited. Just a few things I’m thinking about that I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about until they were written down.)

“Each heart beat is death’s punctual answer to the fearful question of the heart and life’s evasive answer to the enigmatic question of death.” -Edmond Jabes

Robert Wallace Blair

This is Robert Wallace Blair.
(I want you to know who the world will be losing.)

My grandpa says it feels like flying through space.

The trigger is coughing—just coughing, really—and then there’s this scattered look in his eyes. He can’t feel his body, he says (describing it after), and he feels like he’s floating through the clouds. “I don’t think I’m dying,” he says. And it’s almost a joke. Almost a joke, like the way he casually responds “cancer” when I ask what the new bandage is for (emergency surgery removed two malignant growths yesterday). Almost a joke, like the way he says, “I wonder if you’ll be here when I die. I wonder if you’ll hear my last words. I think my last words might be, ‘Darn it!‘”

Almost a joke, and almost beautiful: Like flying through space.

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