Friday, January 11, 2008

Smug and Famous, at least to each other

I suppose it is time to explain my obsession with spunk moist torso corduroy.*

Weekends are slow around here, so before I corduroy spunktificate on the poll, I ask you to read this, the preface to the first anthology that ever published my "work." It is written by Jolie "kicks ass" O'Reilly and four years later, it sums up how I feel about my literary coterie.


We're leading a coup, and you're invited

Over a year ago, I answered an ad on craigslist for a Writers' Group that was applications for a new member. The group was formed and run by a man named Cyril. And from what would turn out to be my first and last meeting, he and another member, Mitt, got into a disagreement about whether to italicize or underline a particular phrase in one of Mitt's stories. The disagreement escalated, Cyril believing that proper format should always be respected, and Mitt believing that meaning superceded format. People were yelling over, I am not making this up, italiticization.

The next day I received a covert email from Mitt with the whispery subject line, "We're leading a coup, and your invited." Did I want to, along with all the other nice members I had met the night before, secede from Cyril and form a group in which writing championed over rules?

Here is what I know a year later about the member of Whiteout Writers' Group" Nina refuses to write in third person and I refuse to write in first person. Jerry doesn't think anyone is interesting enough to write a memoir, and also believes we should all work on semi-identical versions of the song "My name is Luca." Mitt's characters are all brilliant artists walking around pontificating to each other. Luca insists that everything we write is actually a young adult novel. Alana's favorite word is "head-hopping," and she does not consider her work erotic. Yazmeen and I would be the first memeber to challenge another Writer's Group to a street fight. And we all hate the Microsoft Paperclip man.

The title ofthis collection comes from a line in one of Luca's stories about two people not falling in love with each other: "It was important to smug and famous, at least to each other."

Here is what I know about Whiteout Writers' Group: We are named after a state of emergency. Because sometimes, as in the case of our coup, writing is an emergency.

This collection and our first year is dedicated to Cyril.

In First Person,
Jolie "kicks ass" O'Reilly


If you made it this far, reader, you know that I love my writer friends a whole, real, lot.

And you must also know that the coup, now five years old, is still in power.

And you must know that the controversy over the emotional coloration of words like torso is one that arises at Whiteout meetings.

Tomorrow, I'll elaborate and then you will understand how it is possible for seven reasonably intelligent and reportedly sane adults to converse for hours about how a particular word makes people feel.

*sorry you stopped by? I'll bet. This is, at any rate, a bonus post - unrelated to Blog365 - so you can go ahead and be grossed out and feel rooked. It's my second post of the day and as you know, my standards are low. Really low. Torso low? Oh no.


Kate P said...

Your group sounds cool! I am seriously fighting envy that you found a writers' group that (A) lasted longer than a few months after joining and (B) isn't made up almost entirely of journalists who say they want to write but whose criticisms basically attempt to turn all writing into newspaper articles. I can't wait to hear more.

utenzi said...

You're far more tolerant than I am, Nina. If I'd received that coup offer a mere day after first meeting the folk, and with your misused, of all things, I'd have stayed away from them at all costs. Obviously your being open minded and tolerant has paid off for you, Nina, since a 5 year association speaks volumes for your opinion of your writer friends.

Nina said...

Kate P, We completely lucked out. It has been great, and I am happy to say that those of us working consistently are also getting published consistently.

Utenzi wins a stuffed seven-legged giraffe for noticing the typo in Mitt's email. Mitt, though a talented writer and about two months shy of graduating from law school, has an apostrophe issue. I sympathize, as I have a similar issue spelling easy words like "tree" and "book" and "seltzer."

LAS said...

Sounds like a cool group!

P said...

This is so impressive. I have a feeling that if I joined a writer's group it would come to blows over my misuse of commas.

Anonymous said...

I tried to be part of a writers group once. I couldn't deal with it... or maybe they couldn't deal with me because I spent a good deal of time telling someone or another to, "cowboy the fuck up, man!"

Most writers are pretentious snobs... I can say that because, well... I not only play a writer on TV, I am also one in real life and I am pretentious as all getout.

P said...

e! - please splain what "cowboy the fuck up" means, please. I like the sound of that, dawg.

Anonymous said...

LOL... Cowboy the Fuck Up means to pull up your panties and get moving... it means stop whining and start doing something... it means less talk, more action... it means be a cowboy and save the day.

I use it probably too much these days...

Avitable said...

I like moist.

Nina said...

LAS, it is pretty cool. Yesterday's meeting included a long discussion about whether candied beetles are a part of any world cuisine that anyone knows of. We tried to come up with an reasonable guess without googling. The result is that we still don't know. Did anyone know anything before google? Sheesh.

e!, my group has every right to be pretentious, but it is not. I am - not kidding - the only person who does not have an ivy league school on his or her resume. It would be embarrassing as hell if they did not have punctuation problems just as bad as mine are. Regarding "cowboy up" - that is an important phrase in my family lexicon, which I will explain tomorrow.

P, I am pretty sure e! will explain.

e!, why look, you did!

Avitable, "moist" is gross sounding word and a gross meaning word. But then again so is damp. It's hopeless, I think, for slightly not dryness in our language.

Avitable said...

Moist has good connotations, too. Just read a Harlequin Romance! :D