Tag Archives: literature

Words and Other Things

My best friend, Liz, and my best-friend-in-law, Martyn, loaned me a bunch of books the other day.  I just finished one of them.  House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is a book about a guy who finds a book written about a documentary that doesn’t exist, that features a house that doesn’t exist, that was filmed by a man who doesn’t exist.  House of Leaves is a work of fiction, so technically if you read it, you are reading a book about a guy who doesn’t exist, who finds a book that doesn’t exist, written about a documentary that doesn’t exist, which features a house that doesn’t exist, that was filmed by a man who doesn’t exist.

You should read it.  It’s pretty good.  But very intense.  Not for the young of heart or the young of age.  Ye be warned.

The next book is The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson.  I’m still working on it, but so far as I can tell it is about a porn star who gets into a terrible car crash after combining cocaine, bourbon, and driving.  The crash results in lots of fire burning him all over his body, and then he has a chat with a crazy lady while in the hospital.  The chat is the thing I wanted to quote here, because it made me giggle with disproportionate glee.

I indicated the little statue on the bedside table.  “I like the gargoyle.”

“Not a gargoyle.  It’s a grotesque.”

“You say oyster, I say erster.”

“I ain’t gonna stop eating ersters,” Marianne Engel replied, “but that’s a grotesque.  A gargoyle’s a waterspout.”

“Everyone calls these things gargoyles.”

“Everyone’s wrong.”

The Gargoyle, pg. 81

See?  It proves something that was never called into question in the first place.  I once did thirty seconds of research on Wikipedia and now, years later, I’m reading a book that confirms my research and I’m all, “Yay!  This makes me happy.”  I just thought I’d share.  It’s a good read so far.

Finally, my computer broke recently.  I have the worst luck with computers.  But this time I don’t mean it crashed or it got a virus.  I mean it literally broke.  It started coming apart at the seams.  It’s currently being held together with duct tape and binder clips.

So I got a Mac.

Good news: I came up with a new comic idea.  I was inspired by English class and Shakespeare, since lately I’ve been working toward getting my teaching certification so I can teach high school English.  Without meaning to, this comic became a bit of an homage to Kate Beaton’s comic, Hark!  A Vagrant.  Though it was not intended, I am in no way sorry.  Beaton’s work is some of the funniest I’ve ever seen.

Bad news: My copy of Photoshop Elements is for PCs only.

Results: I drew the comic and then took pictures of each panel.  Enjoy!

Writer’s Block

WB Panel 1_1
WB Panel 1_2
WB Panel 1_3
redo 2_1(1)
WB Panel 1_5

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Filed under books, Comic, Humor, reading, writing

A History of My Life as Told by Books – The Early Years

I’ve wanted to do another post for a while now, but I recently caught a cold that has left me quite angry at the way my immune system is running things.  You’d think after more than twenty years of practice it would’ve gotten its act together, but no.  So here I am, kinda feeling crappy and wanting to write a blog post, so I’m going to take the easy way out.  I’m going to give you a brief history of my life using the books that I remember most fondly.  We’ll be starting, obviously, with my early childhood.

My younger years were populated with picture books like any other kid’s.  I grew up with the company of such characters as Amelia Bedelia and Aunt Isabel.

I learned to bake bread…

…well, maybe not.  I don’t think we ever did try any of the recipes included in the book, but boy did they sound tasty!  That’s got to count for something.

The most vivid memories I have are of Bill Peet’s wonderful stories, namely No Such Things and The Whingdingdilly, though How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head was later thrown into the mix.

I was a huge horse fan (as you will see in one of my next posts).  Still am.  The horse-things on the cover of No Such Things appear later in the book, and my mother used to make black-and-white copies of their pages so we could color them in with our own designs and patterns.  I’m sure she even has some of those pictures saved somewhere.

I have another memory of when I was first learning to read.  There was a picture book about two sisters that I was reading to my mom.  I don’t remember the title or even what happened in it, but I remember coming to the word “any” and guessing correctly that the “a” was pronounced like the “e” in “pet” and not like the “a” in “cat.”  Which sort of leads me to something else…

I think the point of children’s books is that you are supposed to learn a lesson from them.  And maybe I did, without even realizing it.  I certainly learned to love reading.  And maybe Stephanie’s Ponytail did teach me that I should be proud to be my own, unique self.

I don’t remember what Elizabeth and Larry taught me, but it did make me laugh.

I even read it out loud to my first grade class.  They laughed, too.

These books didn’t necessarily shape my childhood, but they were an important part of it.  I could really go on for hours about all the ones I read and loved.

Winnie the Witch taught me that you shouldn’t try to change others, and that thinking outside the box can help solve your problems…

I read my brother’s Magic School Bus books…

It took us two nights, but my mom and I loved every minute and every page of The Best Loved Doll

These books will stay with me for a long time.  And I hope to be able to read them to my own children one day.  So that maybe when they’re all grown up they can blog about it.  Or whatever futuristic equivalent they’ll have.

It makes me very happy to share these with you.  Below I am pasting some more covers of books I remember and love, just because I believe they deserve to be recognized.  If you think I left out any good ones, you should let me know.

Word of the Day: Inchoate (adj) – Not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary.

I have some ideas for comics, but they are inchoate, and I am infirm.  So comics will resume when both of these setbacks are overcome.

P.S. Yeah, I know it wasn’t quite a history of my life, but it is a history of my literary life.  That has to count for something.

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Revisiting Some Old Friends

I have…so much to say.  I should never have gotten a life (read: a job) knowing I have a blog in which I will want to post every last thought (and drawing) that comes to my mind.  Also, it’s 2:10 AM Pacific time.  So if, you know…I make no sense and my writing is full of mistakes…yeah, that’s why.  So despite my exhaustion, I’m going to try really hard to be quick and concise, with less text and more fun drawings.  Oh also, I just realized I have no energy to draw right now (I barely have the ability to make words happen on this screen) so this is probably going to be posted at a reasonable hour, after I’ve had a chance to draw.  So just know…this was written at an ungodly time.  It will be posted at a more godly hour.  Which is…I don’t know like…2:34 PM?  That sounds like a godly hour.

Ok, so as the title of this post suggests, I’m going to revisit two older topics and expand upon them.  First!  A political cartoon.  I drew this on a white board while I was in a Sociology class in London, and I decided to recreate it here for you:

Ladies and gentlemen, my grasp of politics.

Right, number ONE!

How to start a novel.  I wrote about this waaaaay back when I was a really bad writer.  Here’s what I want to say about that:

You need to hook your reader in.  How you start your novel is your own choice, but you should be aware that A) The opening line will probably change, at least once, before your project is complete and B) You should try to read that opening line through the eyes of someone who knows nothing about your book.  They haven’t even read the synopsis on the back, the lazy fucks.  And now they want you to impress them, despite their goldfish attention spans.

So, SELL IT!  Bounce ideas off of friends and family.  And, referring back to point A, don’t worry too much about it until you’ve written a significant portion of your book, if not all of it.  Just slap something down to start with, go from there, and then go back to it. That’s my advice.  One of the books I’m currently reading for work has a great opening line, which is what made me think of this topic.  Obviously I can’t tell you what the line was, but I can tell you it was a direct address to the reader.  Which is pretty much what I do in this blog.  Like, “You really need to try to avoid stepping on scorpions.”


To finish up, I have started writing a third draft of my newest book tonight.  Each draft has its own opening sentence, and I like the current one the best.  Here they are:

Draft 1 – The top half of the notepad slipped out of my hand and slapped me in the face, refusing to be bent back, out of my way.

Draft 2 – Dear Ms. Kramer,

 You think you know how to tie a necktie, but you are wrong!

Draft 3 – I know Deaf.  I live Deaf.

Just a quick heads-up: my main character isn’t Deaf.  Ooo, intrigue.

Yep, this has already gone too long.  I have to keep my readers’ goldfish attention spans in mind, too, you know.

Well…I have to keep my goldfish attention span in mind.  Frankly, I know that if I can’t hold my own attention for the duration of a blog post, I probably won’t be able to hold anyone else’s either.

Gonna start the companion post to this one right now.  Look forward to a more extensive look at Showing and not Telling AND, I think, a Behind-the-Scenes Page that will be going up soon.


Rebecca Leviton
Editorial Staff

Word of the Day: Commence (v) – to begin; start

P.S. Wow, it’s 2:52.  I came pretty damn close to my prediction.  I guess 2:52 is more godly than 2:34.


Filed under books, Humor, writing