Meet A Human: Writer Emily Logan

emily  In this week’s installment of Meet A Human, meet Emily Logan. Singer. Pianist. Copywriter. Admitted Nook owner. Blogger. And, most recently, published author. Logan’s novella, Paper, about a writer and a fictional character whose worlds increasingly intersect in reality, is available now. We spoke about the story, the writing process, seeing yourself in your work, the secretly delightful violence of editing, and – because it’s my blog – The Walking Dead.

How did Paper come about?

EL: I started writing it in Roger Rosenblatt’s class.* It was the very first class in the MFA that I took, so I think…the idea might have come from my fear that I was starting this whole writing journey and maybe I wasn’t cut out for it. Because I thought a lot about how much I go back and forth with writing, and I kind of feel guilty – “Why am I in this writing program if I have no idea how to write or finish a story?”
* [Editor’s note: I was in the same novella class.]

What was your writing process like with this story?

EL: My mind goes to different places at night, like when I’m just sitting there thinking about things and falling into a pit. Continue reading

Meet A Human: Comic Creator Eastin DeVerna & His New Werewolf Series “Howl”

Left to right: Dan Buksa, Eastin DeVerna, Ryan Davidson

Howl’s creative team, from left to right: artist Dan Buksa and co-writers Eastin DeVerna & Ryan Davidson

By day, Eastin DeVerna is a mild-mannered English teacher. At night, he transforms into an all-powerful entity capable of creating or destroying entire worlds (mostly at night. Even gods prefer sleeping in). Eastin is a comic book writer, who – along with co-writer Ryan Davidson and artist Dan Buksa – created the new series Howl, which has gotten positive buzz. We spoke about the story world, his writing process, collaborating with a co-writer and artist, finding time to write with life always happening around you, what comics he’s reading these days, and what future works he has in store.

howl cover

Publishing your own comic can seem as long a longshot as a spider bite giving you superpowers. Like a lot of creators today, you turned to crowdsourcing to help fund Howl. How was that experience? What has it yielded, for you and your backers? 

EDeV: “The first issue is done, and that one has been distributed digitally…to the Kickstarter backers. That was actually finished before we did the Howl Kickstarter. We wanted that to be a reward that we could send out immediately once we were backed. I’ve backed a lot of Kickstarters before…sometimes it’s six months or a year or even two years before you finally get a reward. So we had that one finished, we paid for that out-of-pocket, Ryan and me. We funded issues two and three and the print run for issues one, two, and three.”

How did Howl originate

EDeV: “[Ryan and I] probably came up with the idea in…2007 or 2008. We were talking…about what hasn’t been done.It was around the time that vampires were the biggest thing; zombies, The Walking Dead, all the movies. No one’d really tapped in on werewolves in a long time. Continue reading

Things I’m Thankful For: Not Being These People

Star Wars fans and conservative comedienne Katherine Timpf have more in common than they realize, and they’re both proof that even in an ever-competitive global economy, many Americans are still affluent enough to self-absorb themselves straight the fuck outta reality.

Timpf, who occasionally appears on Fox News at three in the morning, made comments last week about her lack of interest in the (latest batch of) new Star Wars movies. Being a professional joke-maker, Timpf made jokes about the franchise and its fans, saying she doesn’t follow the stories because she’s “too busy liking cool things and being attractive.

Apparently, while some Star Wars fans are nuanced enough to lead to the creation of a Wikipedia page devoted to Han shooting first they were ere unable to realize a comedienne was using sarcasm. Timpf was subjected to an onslaught of Twitter hate, including claims she should be raped with a light saber, and of course that old hoary heteropartiarchal standby: she’s ugly and fat.

timpf

And then, because America is 239 years of one fallacy thrown on top of another, Timpf proved she’s no less out-of-this-world than the very intergalactic nerds she derides when she wrote in National Review, “”A lot of people are clearly a lot of upset. But guess what? I’m not apologizing. Why? Because the all-too-common knee-jerk reaction of apologizing for harmless jokes after overblown hysteria is ruining our culture.”  (my emphasis)

So if you’re keeping score, both Timpf and the a-holes who threatened her are missing the big picture. Star Wars fans suggesting a woman should be raped or have her acid thrown on her face because she doesn’t like a FUCKING FICTION that they do are basically ISIS if ISIS’s perceived injustices took place in a fake universe. If you love Star Wars that much, why not take action against George Lucas or big business? Isn’t Darth Vader’s face appearing on a box and Kraft macaroni and cheese more offensive to your belief system than one person in the world not liking it?

Corporate greed surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the true threats to our world together."

Corporate greed surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the true threats to our world together.

But the delusion is strong with Timpf. Meaningless jokes that 99% of the country doesn’t see or care about, hypothetical apologies, and tempest-in-a-tea-cup hysteria are ruining the country? Meet my friends, Katherine: air pollution, dwindling access to fresh water on a global level, desertification erasing arable land the world over, the endless Malthusian expansion of the gap between the have-too-much’s and the don’t-have-enoughs, stockpiles of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, etc. If you think an overly-sensitive sense of humor chafes where it hurts, wait’ll your grandchildren are thirsty and roasting every day, their pain only relieved by the onset of a nuclear winter. Or an anthrax attack.

So thank you, Katherine Timpf and malicious nerds everywhere. You’ve reminded us all what to be grateful for this year: not being Katherine Timpf or malicious nerds.

 

 

Motion + Creation = College Learning, Life Learning

I interviewed Professor Jessica Hautsch for Stony Brook’s PWR blog. Hautsch, a writing professor, studied kinesthetic learning and considered how performance and creative work could help her students with one of the slipperiest tasks a writing professor faces: teaching grammar. Check it out: the end-result ranges from talk of teaching to student anxiety to Garrison Keillor to Abbott and Costello. There’s even talk of strangling a kitten.*

 

*Note: no kittens were harmed in the making of this blog.

Writing for the self ==> writing for others ==> something BEaUtiful

fucked up society

This week for the Stony Brook writing program’s blog, I interviewed Shreeya Tuladhar, a biology major minoring in writing and anthropology. Tuladhar was a child model in Nepal, an experience that began a lifetime of struggling with body image issues and one exacerbated by her family later moving to New York City; she skipped a grade and was the smallest student in her classes, something other classmates bullied and abused her about. She had so many thoughts she didn’t feel she could express, so she wrote about them. She kept a diary. She posted poems to hi5. As her studies continued she wrote and read more and more, and in college a class project gave her an opening to create a written document and a digital film that talked about her experiences and invited her audience to share their own insecurities and literally re-frame them as part of what makes them beautiful. And so “Project BEaUtiful” was born. Check out my interview with Tuladhar and her video below.

Terms of the week: “basic bitch” & “fuck boy”

One of my students introduced me to two terms I was unfamiliar with: “basic bitch” and “fuck boy.” Three things struck me as she broke down the definitions:

– I’m old enough now that it’s no longer striking when I discover the latest loop I’m out of. I don’t feel “middle-aged.” But I don’t feel young, and I don’t feel old. I feel between the two. Which, you know…sounds middle-aged.

– It’s ironic to have been in college in the mid-1990s, what with all the identity politics in the air, and to be in college now as a professor and see “nigga” and “bitch” so casually uttered, so neutered of power.

– “Basic bitch” and “fuck boy” are contemporary terms for eternal American archetypes.

One reason Robin Williams probably killed himself

robindisneydark

 

 

ABC News, a property of Disney, is one of an infinitude of companies announcing Robin Williams committed suicide today. The link is here, for the time being, anyway. At the top of the linked page is a giant red banner reading “WATCH LIVE: AERIALS OF ROBIN WILLIAMS’ HOME.”

I suspect the illogic beyond that banner is related to whatever drove Williams to take his own life.