Thursday, August 9, 2012

SEND to READER for Kindle & Other Tidbits

“…I want to say that any system that helps you understand the world around you is valuable to you as a writer: natural history, biology, ethnology, physics, geology…You must have knowledge to make the nets in which other knowledge is caught” (Pg. 17).

—Damon Knight
From Creating Short Fiction

I believe I’ve shared the SEND to READER website before and it may be old news to many and there are other options, but I wanted to share it again because for anyone in the U.S. (not sure if it’s available for Kindle U.K. readers) who would like to send information from the web to your Kindle with the push of a button, for free, it’s quite useful. When I’ve had any questions, Sergey, was prompt and helpful.

Every now and again, there may be a page that does not work, but for the most part I’ve had success with it. One recent example is I wanted to read Eugene O’Neill’s play, Beyond the Horizon. When I checked the library it was available as part of a collection of his work, but I did not see the play by itself. Not wanting to hold up a heavy book for a short play, and not wanting to purchase it, I looked online again. I saw that had the full version. I clicked on scene I of Act I, clicked my SEND to READER button, turned on my Kindle, and there it was. Since I had plays on my mind, I also checked out A Street Car Named Desire from the library. I have always remembered an old friend’s aunt saying how it was her favorite play. I may have seen the movie version with Marlon Brando a long time ago. It’s a fuzzy memory. After I finish reading the play, I want to watch the movie again.

Short story writing class begins soon and I am very excited. I have read through the syllabus after fumbling through getting setup and logged into the online course site. I’m glad I did this a week in advance because I was having problems, but the problems were my own— user error. I’ve used CourseCompass which is now MyLab before and luckily I didn’t have to purchase another access code because it seems that I’m still in the system from a previous course.

I bought another writing book on Amazon: Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction by Damon Knight. It’s an older book originally written in 1983; the third edition was written in 1997. I like writing books because I feel that I’m having a conversation with the author and when a writing book makes me laugh as this one has several times, it makes the conversation that much better. I appreciate the author’s ideas and the examples he shares from his life as a writer. I came across a sentence he wrote, which brought me back to what Ayn Rand was saying in her lectures on writing about collecting and holding a wide range of information in our subconscious and how when we need that information, as writers, it surfaces. I’m not as strong a synthesizer as I’d like to be, but I’m aware of patterns and I love ideas and information. I’ve always been curious—sometimes too curious. Knight’s statement—the image he created—added a layer and meaning to what Rand said in her way. His quote has become the epigraph of this blog.

Yesterday I worked on my writing submission for the writer’s group. I took my netbook and myself to the coffee shop to work on the piece that I had made some scribbled comments on. It was great working in the coffee shop. I left home a little earlier than usual to write and then off to work. I felt energized. I still have editing and refining to do and I’m almost out of time.

One issue that has come up in the writer’s group on my past submissions is that I have to keep an eye on my point of view (POV). It’s so easy to slip in and out. I also have to watch my tenses. Sometimes I’ll switch between past and present. When I’m reading other people’s work, the more complicated tenses sometimes throw me. I ask myself if they need to have so many instances of past perfect, etc. There is a time when it’s necessary, but then if there are too many successive cases, it bogs the writing down. In one of my pieces, it was suggested to watch my sentence variety and repetition of words or sentences. I have noticed that I do have a tendency to repeat. Sometimes it’s intentional; other times, I don’t catch it until I read my work aloud. And there are so many other little things that I notice and causes me to keep going back and back.

I will polish my current submission as best I can before I send it to the group. I’d like to catch the technical errors so that the group can read through without those distractions. I’m almost there! We have all gotten in the habit of stating what our piece is: Part of a novel, a short story, non-fiction, etc. I will classify the piece I’m working on as a creative non-fiction travel piece.

It was that time of year for another dental cleaning. I love going to my dentist’s office. Dr. D. has a strong sense of beauty and balance evident in the artwork throughout her office. In the waiting room, I had to sit in a different chair this time because the others were taken. I pulled out my iPod Touch to catch thoughts that were whirring around in my head. I needed to tap them out. I wrote and wrote with my fingers tapping those letters out. The receptionist apologized for the delay. I told her no problem. What I should have said was, thank you for the time and space to get my thoughts out. I was done after five to ten minutes and turned my attention to the reading material on the table near my chair. I hadn’t noticed this book before. Dentistry: An Illustrated History by Malvin E. Ring. I picked up the heavy book and turned the pages. The pictures were fantastic. I hadn’t gotten past the first few images and it was my turn for a cleaning. Rats! I needed more time. A picture that caught my imagination was the two teeth pictured here—tooth worms, I think. I’ll have to read about it. The library didn’t have this particular book, but I did find another title: Tooth Worms & Spider Juice: An Illustrated History of Dentistry by Loretta Frances Ichord. It’s meant for young readers. I’m going to check it out.

Tooth image accessed from here.

Being pulled in many directions, just like those Dandelions that Ray Bradbury has written about…I see myself as a dandelion—floating about on the wings of the breeze under warm rays of light.


Vincent said...

Thanks, Rebb, I've installed SendToReader and have forwarded your post to my Kindle. It says it has worked. Then I'll be able to formulate any further comments. I mainly use the Kindle for such offline reading, and as a dictionary etc. So this could be a brilliant tool, saving all the palaver of converting to html and attaching to an email.

Vincent said...

the SendtoReader bookmark works very well!

And I've sent my draft new post to it, to examine critically before publishing - and submitting it to the writers' group (3rd meeting) on Sunday.

Thanks for the continuing hints and inspiration.

Rebb said...

I'm glad it worked for you, Vincent! My third meeting is coming up in two weeks. Hope you had a good meeting with the time difference, I think you would have already attended. I also look forward to hearing more about your writer' group experiences. I just submitted my piece yesterday. I had made several revisions and drafts. I couldn't look at it any longer and sent it off. This morning I viewed it in my iPad and saw a few blaring grammatical errors that I didn't catch. Too bad. I wanted it to be as clean as possible. Next time I will read it on my iPad. It's interesting how reading it on a different screen, like you will do on your Kindle, you notice different things.

Vincent said...

It was a very good meeting, Rebb. We are getting to know one another now and so the trust builds up. Each of us submitted something and we were able to discuss. The piece I had transferred to Kindle to review was hopeless, so I presented "Live by the Pen, Die by the Pen", already published on my blog.

The one I presented last time wasn't discussed. But I'll revise it and publish it as a new post soon. It's about my campus revisit after an interval of 49 years.

When I got back from the meeting I was fired up enough to complete a rewrite of the "hopeless" piece and I've just published it under the title "Art is more than life".

One man in our group submitted two short pieces, rather appallingly typed, but he doesn't use a computer normally, each about 370 words, according to my estimate. I said they were "flash fiction". He'd never heard of that, had written them straight out from the unconscious. they were powerful! It's lovely to see raw talent in everyone.

Rebb said...

Glad to hear that you had a good meeting, Vincent. The group I go to is a supportive bunch and I feel trust, though, my observations get to me sometimes. I will see if one more meeting will take care of that, by either speaking up or writing up or processing on my blog. Ahh..good you worked through the piece. I sent it to my reader. Will come back to read other's comments.

That's wonderful to hear about the man. Yes, raw talent is there to be fished out. Coincidentally, a few days back I emailed the group a flash fiction story written by Dan Shea that I had originally posted here. Two writers from the group shared their reactions. They were reading with a critical eye. I wrote back to one of the writers that it goes to show even published work can still elicit criticism, depending on the reader. I enjoyed the story as it was written and wouldn't change a thing.

Thanks for sharing more about your meeting, Vincent. I enjoy reading about it and your process very much.