Thursday, March 31, 2011

Something about book clubs

I can hardly imagine my life without books and, in general, without the written - wherever it might be, on paper or on computer - words. I like to read and I like to share as often as possible my ideas through words. As I am a passionate book worm and a dedicated writer of book reviews - of any kinds although I must recognize I didn't try yet poetry - the idea of being part of a book club was as natural as possible.

In this respect, I have various experiences. First, I created my own book club, but over a couple of months, the majority of members lost their interest - even the list of books was democratically chosen, trying to accommodate different tastes and preoccupations. The choices were, in their overwhelming majority, literature and less than 300 pages, allowing the members to have a relaxed time. One book per month was, in my opinion, a modest participation to the world of ideas. But, as I said, it didn't worked so since then, I preferred to be an active participant to other people's book clubs.

When you are living as an expat, being part of an English book club is becoming an interesting social experience. Through the discussions and the various dialogue you have in-between meetings, as for example, sharing information about coming lectures and conferences relevant to the list of writers you have on your reading menu, offer various opportunities for a healthy social life.

On the other hand, the simple fact of preparing for the reading, allows you a window of opportunity to put your brain at work beyond the usual hard working schedule. You don't need to be an academic for reading and the passion for books is going beyond social and professional categories. At the end of the day, it helps you a lot to improve your perspective of life, vocabulary and nevertheless, general culture.

In the same time, a good discussion, managed skilfully, give you the chance of an organized and mind-rewarding lecture. You learn how to read - following the narrative and the characters - what to appreciate - the coherence and the style - and even to dare to make comparisons with books touching upon similar subjects already discussed. Because reading it is not only about finishing a certain number of pages, but most importantly, about being able to make your own evaluations and appreciations, going well beyond the simple "I like it" or "I don't like it" type of conclusions.

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Monthly round-up

If I look back, at the posts I wrote in the last two month, it looks as I haven't too many things to say or write about. I don't want to excuse myself too much, or at all, but there were very busy writing and reading days. Not always successful or pushing me on the right path to the famous and glamorous publishing houses, but, from my point of view, there were progresses I am happy with.
Moreover, I discovered new authors and their books, I attended a couple of very good lectures and met other people in love with books. 
This kind of events are blessings for the next firm writing steps.
I will always expect new and good things.

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How not to be a published author

The following "advice" is nothing more than my writing solution to deal with various rejections I faced recently. The core of them is represented by those based on fully justified reasons. My serious advice is that every failure, if analyzed and considered correctly, might be a valuable source for progress and positive change. Although, probably, the first five minutes after you receive a negative answer are not the happiest of your life. Most importantly is enabling you to test your chances, your mistakes and to use the conclusions for a qualitative change.

And now, avoid doing the following mistakes:

- Send the article before any previous grammar or orthographic checking. Believe that the force of your inspiration is more powerful than grammar!

- Doesn't matter that your article fails the main publishing criteria in terms of wording accuracy. The editor's job is operating the wonderful corrections. He is the editor, the one whose main task is to polish words. You are the inspired and wonderful writer.

- You are so famous and with such an impressive writing credentials that nobody will take the risk to refuse a wonderful piece of article written by you. Despite the mistakes - including the serious breach of logic - any editor in this world will be more than honoured to count you among the team of contributors. The implicit double work of the editor with your (stupid) mistakes is a pleasant chore polishing your unbreakable statue of queen or king of the publishing world.

- Following the publication of your article, in an edited and changed formula, don't face the two variants: the one you sent with the one released. You are a genius and the changes are the result of the envy of a narrow-minded editor.

- After finishing the article and while your wonderful creation is on his virtual highway to the editor's mailbox, send another 10 e-mails (at least) with various corrections, including names or sources or data. The editor is all yours, and will work intensively to collect and connect all your 10+ e-mails. It's important that you realized there are some mistakes, isn't it?

- Are you receiving an impressive amount of rejections? Never open them. Never. They contain poison producing deadly effects to your inspiration. Eventually, send to the editor the same article again. Without any further proof-reading, of course. Most probably, they made a terrible confusion and a warning is necessarily.

- Are there any chances that your article will be published, but only following complex changes? Forget about it. you don't have time to introduce all the changes, as you are busy writing other hundreds of articles for your hungry audience. And, anyway, what you are doing is your own business, but still you don't want to make any changes.

- Be as chaotic as possible: start writing at least five articles in the same time, write one sentence for each and then switch to the next, eventually, write the same sentence in all five. As mentioned, beforehand you are a genius in progress.

Good luck!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Fighting words

Entering the world of another language is a terribly frustrating experience. (Oh, such a ridiculous beginning, but it is how we, those with literary suicidal tendencies, are trying to find a way through other people's words.)
The verbal illusions of your mind are following completely parallel path with the weakness of your words. Before finishing a damn sentence part of a coherent expose in your mind you stumble upon paragraphs, prepositions, grammatical traps and mispellings. You spend your time checking on Google if your expression with an "on" or "to" is unanimously agreed. Through the translation from mental images - and illusions - to reality, you might lose the charm, the glamour, the beauty of your ideas. But you HAVE to be correct and more than perfect.
Sometimes you could be so happy for covering your ideas, that you miss some small corrections and the editor replies with a comprehensive package of advices to be follow if you want to be a good writer (In the worse-case scenario the feedback is reduced to a couple of words of friendly rejection). But I thought I was already one. Perhaps in another life, and in a different wording.
Anyway, the show should go on, no way back!

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