I’ve Been…

  • 410quprawjl._ac_uy218_ml3_Participating in Classical Carousel‘s House of Mirth read-along. We’re reading and discussing the novel over the course of six weeks. I’ve been trying to stay on schedule and read it slowly. I read House of Mirth in college, and that initial read took me a few days, because we had one or two class periods for discussion before the class moved on to other material. I feel like the leisurely pace is allowing my a different perspective and I’m picking up a lot more. I’d encourage anyone interested to join in.
  • Toying with the idea of releasing a collection of short fiction. I have a lot of short stories that I’ve written over the years that I’ve never really been sure what to do with. Most of them are inspired by other stories, mythology, fairy tales, folklore etc. Some follow the source material closely others give it a mere nod before going off in their own direction. I would probably have to go through them and decide on a direction for the collection and what to include, but I’d like to get a very general sense of how much interest there is. So if you think it’s a good idea, like this post!
  • Writing a whole looong blog post about the Sarah Dessen/Common Read/grad student twitter hoopla. Then I decided not to post it. It seems like emotions on all sides are very high and people are very quick to take offense. Chiming in at such moments doesn’t strike me as the best idea because words are easily taken out of context leading to more offense and hurt feelings. But I do want to say, independent of all this, that twitter by it’s nature often takes things out of context (it’s hard to include context within a small, character limited, tweet!) so when something is discussed in a tweet, it’s important to seek out that context before we react, especially when emotions are running high. Also remember how easy it is to react to things in the space of a tweet. We can delete the tweet but if someone screenshots it, it can live forever. Think before you tweet.

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    All the Common Read books for the last decade. American News photo by Katherine Grandstrand

  • 81hkqvsgyl._ac_uy218_ml3_Reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. Like The Night Circus, it’s a book whose setting stands out over other elements such as plot and character. But there’s an intricacy that The Night Circus lacks in that the setting and the plot are inextricably linked and fitted together like a puzzle. As I read it, I’m wowwed at the complexity of what Morgenstern managed to do with the multiple stories that make up this novel. Each one becomes a nest for the next one. I can see why this took her years to write! It’s rare that a highly anticipated novel manages to live up to expectations. I can see where some readers my be frustrated by the Chinese box of narratives that make up this book and want more traditional storytelling,  but to me, it all unfolds like a beautiful, mysterious magic trick. I haven’t finished it yet though. The complexity means that it’s not as “quick” a read as most, and I’m also a bit anxious. I’m afraid that Morgenstern won’t be able to maintain this spell all the way through to the end.

5 thoughts on “I’ve Been…

    • To make a long story short, in her original tweet Dessen mentioned that she’d been going through a hard time. I think that she was in a vulnerable place for whatever reason when she read the article and reacted emotionally, when it might have been wiser to keep quiet. In her screenshot, she also took the quote out of context which meant that unless someone were to seek out and read the whole article, it was very easy to mistake the intention of the quote. So people reacting to that screenshot got the wrong idea. They reacted as they might if Dessen *were* being bullied, which wasn’t actually the case.

      I don’t think the student quoted in the article actually intended to cause offense. I think her comment about Dessen was taken out of context by the reporter (really what she was talking about was the kind of books that she wanted to see included in a program rather than the quality of Dessen’s writing) and then further taken out of the context of the article by the screenshot. So her original intent was distorted.

      Basically I think that when responding to things on the internet we have a responsibility to include context (which is hard within twitter’s character limit) and to seek it out when its not included. I don’t think that most of the people who tweeted, including Dessen, intended harm. But it’s unfortunately easy to cause harm when we’re talking about reacting to brief clips without context when emotions are high. The best thing than anyone can do is this point is to learn from the incident. Don’t “cancel” people or blacklist them in the future. Just remember to seek out context and think rather than react emotionally.

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  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2019 | Fran Laniado- Author

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