Embracing Exuberant Extremes

The world of art is routed with sharp peaks whose summits exist for only a moment, and long dark valleys that end at the base of another mountain. Why can’t it be the other way around? Why can’t we live in the clouds for days on end and only have time to dip our toes in the depths? I find the answer to be a simple one.

Because we demand more from ourselves.

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The Ideas they Carried

Writing is taking the long road to say something simple.

                Stand up for what you believe in.

                Try not to be a dick.

                If we all work together, we can do great things.

The funny thing about acknowledging that you’re doing something complicated to convey a seemingly simple message is that what you do suddenly carries a bit more weight. Because of that, most stories weigh more than they’re worth. Readers abandon them in search for something they are willing to carry. Continue reading

Expression or Impression: Writing’s Role in the Rigmarole

Are you stuck in a loop of writing, editing, and submitting with no end in sight? Maybe you have an agent, but he hasn’t been able to sell your stuff. Maybe you’ve published a short story in your local paper. Whatever the case, you are a writer. Obsession isn’t always the right word to describe the passion you put into your pieces, but you put pen to paper and create while somehow juggling life in the foreground.

Most of us are background writers, and that’s more than okay: that’s reality. Now we’re approaching summer, and I always find myself a little more energetic. Why, just these last two weekends I pruned my honey locusts, planted some lilacs, and finished a frame for a three-by-four-foot painting. Now I need to write. Continue reading

We are Where we Write

What’s your favorite book? Yes, of all time. No, you have to pick one. That’s a terrible book. The characters are flat, the plot is unbelievable, and I care more about Aunt Jemima’s struggles as a slave to Mrs. Butterworth.

So, did that change your opinion? Odds are there’s something more to your favorite book. Something you can’t put into words that just feels right. It’s the book that inspires you, redirects you, and lets you know you’re not alone in what you do and who you are. And that’s just the thing with art. Not everyone who sees Picasso’s Guernica is going to react…even I have trouble believing that, but it’s probably true. Continue reading

A Writing Addiction is more than an Addiction to Writing

I just finished editing a book for a man who knows a lot about the direct and indirect effects of addiction. Looking at myself and those I know, we tend to get addicted to things that aren’t always what we want in the long term. I mean, sure, we have moments where we want it, but we look back on a sugar binge or an alcohol induced night of mischief and say, “Really? That’s how I want to spend my nights?” I don’t know the answer, but through this post, I hope to find out how to get addicted to the right things. How to get addicted to writing.   Continue reading

Critique groups: They are “evil”… or are they?

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— Photo by Kennedy Library

Originally posted at: http://www.timothyafenner.com/

Search the Interwebs for “critique group” or “writers group” and you will undoubtedly find an assortment of content on the subject, from the benefits of writer collaboration, to what groups are available, and even how to find the right group for you. You will also find, however, strongly voiced opinions on how “evil” critique groups are and the dangers of joining them.

So are critique groups good or evil?

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