Tsundoku

Update: the book is going slowly. I’m still stuck on Chapter 6 at the moment but I know it will pick up once I get done moving house and working on classwork. In a month I promise I’ll get serious. For now, enjoy this little fun fact/word.

Tsundoku – (n.) buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands.

Also known as the obsession of buying books. I will admit I suffer (more like revel in) this habit.

“The word dates back to the very beginning of modern Japan, the Meiji era (1868-1912) and has its origins in a pun. Tsundoku, which literally means reading pile, is written in Japanese as 積ん読. Tsunde oku means to let something pile up and is written 積んでおく. Some wag around the turn of the century swapped out that oku(おく) in tsunde oku for doku (読) – meaning to read. Then since tsunde doku is hard to say, the word got mushed together to form tsundoku.”

Edits

The first round of edits for my (soon to be published) story are done. I don’t think a second round will be needed. It is a flash story not quite 500 words and there were only minor edits suggested. Of which I only accepted two. I’m still new to this whole area, which sucks because I should have been submitting work a long time ago, but I’m sure my writing even three years ago was shit. I’m finally at a point where I have confidence in my writing, at least most of it. I can tell when my own writing isn’t up to par and have only felt confident about a few stories. Two actually, that I’ve submitted for publication. The one has been accepted (fuck yeah), and the other has been rejected once and I’m waiting to see if it will get rejected again. I don’t think I’ll play the numbers game and submit the same story simultaneously. I’m going to submit a story to one place at a time. This will eliminate the possibility of getting blacklisted by a journal and will keep me writing stories so I can have more out there getting judged at the same time. Maybe this will result in more acceptances between rejections, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. Have to keep writing. Therefore, I will end this here and move on to working on my book. Chapter 6 awaits and I have no idea what is going to happen. Let’s find out.

The Mental Wall

I’ve hit a wall this week. After getting through Chapter 5, I’ve seemed to drift off into a sea of absolute empty brainwaves. I can’t seem to get motivated which is only a small part because it would be easy to be motivated if I had some fun ideas about what to write, but I’m currently drifting. Of course I need to keep working on my book and try to write other stories as well. I hope/plan to submit a story to a writing contest before the submission deadline gets here [July 15th] and I know I have time, but at this moment, right now, I can’t see anything more than two minutes in front of me. I’m on the struggle-bus and its been driving me in circles all week. And it’s only Wednesday.

For anyone interested in writing contests, there are a lot throughout the year held by many different journals. The one I am hoping to submit to (once I get back to my regular self) is the Fairy Tale Review. It’s a fun journal. Check it out. I think it would be cool to be published in it. Fingers crossed. Of course, I need to write the story first and in my current mental state, I might need a little time before I get to it. Here’s to hoping I climb this wall sooner than later.

The Downward Spiral

I haven’t posted a story for a little while so I thought it was about time I remedied that. Here is a flash piece. Enjoy.


The Downward Spiral

A boy of ten raced across the clay, dirt, and rock located at the top of what the locals called the Super Pit. It was a mining operation that had been going for eight years strong.

“This was all flat land when you were born,” his father said.

He wasn’t sure if he believed his father. Looking out at the vast, open hole in the earth before them. A truck that had driven by them when they first arrived had started the descent into the mine below. Up close, it was monstrous. The boy had stood in awe as its giant tires, bigger than their car, rolled past them. Now it was slowly circling the outer rings of the mine before him, growing smaller and smaller as it neared the bottom where it looked like it could have been a toy in sandbox. Small black specks moved around it. He knew they were people, but from up here they were fairy flies hiding in the dirt.

“How far down does it go?” he asked.

“Five hundred and seventy meters, and three and a half kilometers long.”

“Wow.” He looked over the edge. The road down circled to make the hill sides look like steps. The boy imagined the entire mine being a bathtub for a giant.

The truck arrived at the bottom and workers scrambled to it to unload supplies before they filled it up with dirt to take back up. The supplies were mostly explosives used in the mining process, but there was water and food sent down for them as well. Once the truck was weighed down with thick clay, several of the men climbed on for a ride out. Their shifts were over. The others began preparing the explosives.

“Will it ever run out?” the boy asked.

“Will what run out?”

“The gold.”

“Eventually, but hopefully not within our lifetime. As long as there is gold, there will be money. And with that money I hope to send you to a really nice college, like Harvard. Would you like that?”

The boy didn’t know what he wanted, except to play baseball. He didn’t like school very much but liked watching college football with his dad.

Within the man-made crater, the workers were running the lines for the detonators.

“Harvard’s a good school. One of the best. You would do well there.”

“Yeah. I would like it there,” he said. He wanted to make his dad proud, so he said whatever his dad wanted to hear.

Down below a worker was walking the detonator line out toward the safe zone when the ground gave out beneath him.

“Whoa, did you see that?” The boy stood transfixed as a cloud of dirt settled over the bottom of the pit refusing to dissipate. Then the sound of the explosion boomed in his ears. His father grabbed his shoulder.

“Get back to the car,” he said, and ran off. He climbed into another truck, a company truck, and took off down the long spiral. The boy watched the truck circle further and further down. When the truck with his father disappeared into the haze of dirt, a queasiness of fear crept into his stomach.

The Hero’s Journey

There are a million ways to tell a story, but the Hero’s Journey can be theoretically attributed to almost all of them. George Lucas was inspired by the concept of the Hero’s Journey when he made Star Wars. Joseph Campbell arrived at the concept of the journey (or monomyth) while traveling the world and studying comparative mythology and religions. There is a really great video about the Hero’s Journey here: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-makes-a-hero-matthew-winkler. I would embed the video but I’d have to upgrade and pay more and I’m just a poor boy (nobody likes me/ he’s just a poor boy/ from a poor family). Is that stuck in your head now? You’re welcome. Check out the video, read The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, and think about how most of the stories we read and watch can fit into the theory. It’s interesting, but not all will fit. As a writer, it’s good to know how this journey is conveyed because a lot of successful stories follow it in some way, even if it’s just barely. Some more literally than others. Surprisingly, the book I’m working on now can fit into this formula. At least so far.