Category Archives: Process

Status Update or My Equinox Check-In

What’s up? Writing.

Reading (fiction) and Writing (non-fiction) that is. As you know, I do monthly book and comic book reviews at BlackNerdProblems.com. (What? You don’t know that? Get over there and read my stuff! Some fan you are.) The site is 6 months in, and between all the hard work of the contributors and the guiding hand of William Evans as the Editor-in-Chief, it is blowing up.

I’ve really hit my stride in my book and comic reviews. It pushes me to consider fiction in a holistic way, considering the whole and the parts. I’m a copy editor by trade, I read in the weeds, worrying about spelling and sentence structure and metaphor construction. But as a pop culture critic, I’m not going to give the thumbs-down just because of some misspelled words – I’ll judge, don’t get me wrong – but I won’t automatically throw shade at a book because of it. A novel is a machine that produces a result (entertainment, horror, action, whatever) and the quality of that result is what most deserves comment. It is what drives a person to buy or not to buy. Now if only I could find a reliable source for culturally relevant images without having to spend hours of my day sorting tumblr porn, I’d be as chill as this:

https://41.media.tumblr.com/6297990b11e2e5a9809e83f9285c004a/tumblr_n1orgeCS3O1sldhkko1_500.jpg

In the last few months I’ve realized how solitary my writing, and nerding, life has been. I’ve been in writing groups and shared my nerd loves with friends, attended conventions, even dressed funny in public, but as I spend more of my free time conversing with and reading the work of other Black Nerds, I see that I was always, subtly, culturally isolated. I was always explaining my jokes and defending my choices and fighting expectations of my preferences. It is the work of a Black Nerd in a White Nerd world, just as it is the work of a Black person in a White one. Now, I’m not going to say I’ve “met my people” by becoming active in the Black Nerd community (There’s a Black Nerd community? Yep, there is. We have our own Twitter hashtags and everything. No, I’m not going to tell you what they are tho, that’d be too easy) but I am going to say I feel understood in a way I’ve never felt before. And that’s about the best way to go into Autumn I can think of.

This weekend, I’ll be attending Convolution SF in SF . I’ll be doing readings from the book, or perhaps a few of my short stories, and holding down a few panels on Women, inspiration, and creativity while parenting. If you are in the area, come on by. It’ll be a great chance to spend some good geek time at a place with a pool and a bar. No downside there.

If you want to hear my opinions on books, comics, and other assorted Black Nerd items, hit me at BlackNerdProblems.com or find me on the Twitter. I know interesting people who tweet interesting things which I then re-tweet with reckless abandon. Again, no downside there.

 


I’m reminded that it has been a while since I dropped a link to the novel, you know Queen of Hunger, into a blog post. So, here it is: Queen of Hunger: Tales of the Assembled Book 1. You haven’t bought it? Try the sample chapter

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On the inspiration of sewing and costuming

Through a long series of connections (and with too much time on my hands), I found myself wandering the Internet, looking at historical costuming blogs.

Now I’m not a seamstress. I can work a basic sewing machine, follow a pattern and mend a seam. That’s about it. I have none, and I mean none, of the basic skills needed to be a really good seamstress — color coordination, design sense, the ability to visualize in 3D using 2D materials, etc. At the same time, it is an art form I feel closely mirrors my own writing. Creating clothing is a process of trial and error; drape, pin, move and re-move; sew, sew, sew; try it; sew, sew, sew; pull out the buttons; sew, sew, sew; start over in a different color with a zipper next time.

There’s also the way that clothing and costuming is constantly shifting under the pressures of fashion and practicality. I feel that writing in “genre” fiction can be very much about hitting the fashion of the year or rather, the fashion of next year.  The dress that flops on this year’s runway may be picked up in five years and be a complete smash. Some fashions are best evaluated in hindsight because of what they reveal about the world in which they were created, what they describe about perceived femininity/masculinity, the stories they tell of trade and travel. Aren’t stories the same way?

Speaking of stories — I did do a new writing challenge this week, but the result is far too dis-jointed to share. I have this terrible fear that I’ve got a new cast of characters coming together for a new long-form-not-quite-novel. The last thing I need is another “too long for a short story too short for a novel” piece of fiction. But like with sewing, sometimes you have to work your fabric stash. You never know, it might be enough for that Victorian ballgown you’ve been dreaming of if you piece it right.

I leave you with my newest online costuming obsession: Rate the Dress.

Like I said, I’m no costumer, but the idea of looking back over history’s clothing and evaluating it for cut, color, and desirability just appeals to all my senses. If I knew just a little bit more I’d be tempted to start voting. But that’s the deep end of the pool and as you know, Internet people aren’t always kind when you’re in their pool.

After all this dress talk, I feel the need to leave you with a picture of a dress. So here you go, my current favorite use of the color red:

Dress-silk-1887-White-Howard-Co.25-W.-16th-St.New-York-Met-358x500

Dress, silk, 1887, White Howard & Co.:25 W. 16th St.:New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, CI68.53.6ab

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