Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

goodreads.

J. D. Salinger reading The Catcher in the Rye,
from Flavorwire.com
At first, when I was invited to join the bandwagon and jump on another social networking site, I was hesitant. I spent enough time on Facebook as it was, trying to stay connected with friends and family, and with others who were working in creative industries with whom I could trade notes with about craft and process and reading recommendations etc. Plus, staying involved in these online communities was a job in itself, making me wish I had an intern at my disposal to handle such business.
 
As a writer, one needs to not only block out time and distractions to actually write, but they must demand that this the most important part of the equation. All the other stuff happens when you actually have work or "product" to market, and I would never advise trying to put the cart before the horse. And while all these other outlets and tools are useful, honing your art in the most basic of ways--sitting your ass down in a chair and getting the words on paper--is what any writer should be  focused on.
 
So, it eventually got to the point where my email box was flooded with all these invites to Goodreads, and basically to quiet the party, I signed up. What I found interesting, at once, was to see what my friends were reading.  Some of their book lists actually surprised or made sense to me, and yet with others, I was quite literally baffled.
 
Over the years, I have found that I am pretty lousy at recommending books to friends and acquaintances, because I've all but realized my taste and relationship for certain pieces of literature, may very well differ from the preferences of other audiences. Reading and books have an associated feeling of intimacy. When one gives a person the gift of a book, they have not only evaluated this person's interests and personal experiences, but they have made the assumption they know this person enough to know what they will connect with or appreciate.
 
The reason Goodreads has been a fantastic tool for me, is because it keeps my "must read" list in order and organized, so when I'm in a bookstore browsing I can either track my purchases, or I can add other books that I will eventually want to go back for. My online list also holds me accountable for the books I begin and have to muscle my way through to finish, the incentive being: checking off another read, (feeling the reward of sticking with it and gaining knowledge), and rating it for others who are contemplating picking it up for themselves.
 
What am I reading right now, do you ask?   http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16214533-sarah-caouette

Thursday, March 21, 2013

sweet talking.

I was born in the South and spent the first couple years of my life living in Anniston, Alabama (on Ft. McClellan army base). So, when I meet Southerners I typically get a pass on being a full-blood Yankee.
 
"Oh, you're a Southern girl," they often say, like I've been accepted into some sort of private club.
 
"You don't talk like a Northerner," they tend to point out. Which can be a tricky one to explain, since I was born in the South, raised in Pennsylvania, and grew up in New England, and my accent is a hybrid of all three of those regions. It's also quite interesting having two sisters, and that all three of us speak and enunciate differently.
 
So, last night when I met three peach farmers from Macon, Georgia we had quite a banter going about the didactics of speech  and language, and how depending on the speaker or the context, there are certain sayings and words that stick and there are certain things that should just go unspoken.
 
"That boy of yours," for instance, as young lads, was never a good indicator of what was about to follow, usually with them being in some sort of trouble.
 
I learned that, "Bless your heart," is reserved for their mothers' and grandmothers' generation, as a symptom of genteelness.
 
And saying, "Yes, ma' am'" or "Yes, sir" is just the everyday respectful response, unless of course they have an affinity for you, then they call you "Darling" or "Sweetheart".
 
This was a point of interest particularly, since as a young woman I'm okay with certain people calling me by pet names, but not others. Which I think is my Northern side coming out. Typically people in the military use the formal address, because in training they are taught to be respectful of their superiors. And when they are back in civilian life, this training continues. Living in a port city, with many military men and women coming and going, you get used to being called "Ma'am," even when you don't feel old enough to deserve the title.
 
Now, if a young woman who is clearly years younger than me calls me "hon" or "sweetie, it sounds a tad bit condescending. And even when I'm managing or training girls in the restaurant industry, I always try to break this habit early, because there are truly women out there who take how they are addressed, very seriously. Plus, it comes off as sounding like we work in a two-bit diner, and I'm sure these girls don't want to be called Flo or Dotty in return.
 
But I have to say, the best part of the whole conversation was when we all agreed that Bob Ross, the painter from PBS, was a mastermind.
 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

this sentence...

“This sentence is made of lead (and a sentence of lead gives a reader an entirely different sensation from one made of magnesium). This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence is made of sunlight and plums. This sentence is made of ice. This sentence is made from the blood of the poet. This sentence was made in Japan. This sentence glows in the dark. This sentence was born with a caul. This sentence has a crush on Norman Mailer. This sentence is a wino and doesn't care who knows it. Like many italic sentences, this one has Mafia connections. This sentence is a double Cancer with a Pisces rising. This sentence lost its mind searching for the perfect paragraph. This sentence refuses to be diagrammed. This sentence ran off with an adverb clause. This sentence is 100 percent organic: it will not retain a facsimile of freshness like those sentences of Homer, Shakespeare, Goethe et al., which are loaded with preservatives. This sentence leaks. This sentence doesn't look Jewish... This sentence has accepted Jesus Christ as its personal savior. This sentence once spit in a book reviewer's eye. This sentence can do the funky chicken. This sentence has seen too much and forgotten too little. This sentence is called "Speedoo" but its real name is Mr. Earl. This sentence may be pregnant. This sentence suffered a split infinitive - and survived. If this sentence has been a snake you'd have bitten it. This sentence went to jail with Clifford Irving. This sentence went to Woodstock. And this little sentence went wee wee wee all the way home.”  
                                                                                 - Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

published in the citron review.

Oh how I love morning surprises! Especially when they appear in my inbox in the form of a letter from the editor, saying they have just published one of my flash fiction pieces in their Spring Edition!
 
Before I provide you with the link, I would like to say this first:  this style of writing is all new to me, and that is, writing with a grittier voice about topics that are a little more risque. It all began back last year, when my writer's group up here in Portland had read some chapters from my first novel-length manuscript. The consensus had been: they loved the lyrical, poetic prose, however they felt that I danced too much around what's "real" about relationships, and well, sex too.
 
So, needless to say, I made a stab at writing in different voices, with all sorts of different characters getting worked into the mix. The result being: a series of short pieces (60 pages worth of raw material), and the beginnings of a second novel.
 
The thematic thread between the stories is the concept of a moral vaccuum; a place (or state of mind) in which these various characters reside, hashing out their inner-dilemmas about what is "right" and what is "wrong", the secrets they keep, and how they rationalize and accept certain circumstances in their lives.
 
The challenge has come with the subject matter, as I will always be a romantic at heart. But I think it is good to step outside the box every now and then, test the waters, and see what comes from taking a risk.
 
I hope you enjoy the reading "Chakras of the Throat":   http://thecitronreview.wordpress.com/
 
 
*****Many thanks to The Citron Review and its editors for taking a chance on this piece. And to Darren Cormier (author of A Little Soul, http://www.darrencormier.com/), Sean Connell, and Charlie Marenghi for being great cheerleaders for my haphazard stories.

Monday, March 4, 2013