Thug Kitchen 001: Quinoa Oatmeal.

As I mentioned in another post, the boyfriend and I got a copy of one of Thug Kitchen‘s excellent Cookbooks for Christmas, and I’ve decided to go ahead and make every recipe in the book, even the ones with disgusting eggplant, and then blog about it because that’s just what people do. So, yesterday, since I had the day off and he didn’t need to be to work until later, we had time to take our daily oatmeal up a notch with the first recipe in the book, Quinoa Oatmeal.


By the book vs. All dressed up.

Ultimately, it was pretty damn good. I won’t be posting the recipes themselves because I want to encourage people to get the book or at least explore their website because Thug Kitchen is awesome and deserves your support. I will say that this recipe was pretty simple: steel-cut oats, quinoa, a little coconut oil, salt, and almond milk. You pretty much toss it all together and let it simmer for a bit, so it’ll only be made on days when we have the time, otherwise it’s the regular old quick oats that we’d previously been consuming. But I loved the idea of toasting the oats before cooking them and the quinoa gave it a great texture and added protein, a nice bonus for all those people who turn into protein police when they find out you’re vegan.

As you can see, we also dressed the oatmeal up a little bit more with some apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon, but, honestly, the oatmeal by itself has a really nice flavor that I wouldn’t have minded eating just by itself. And I also want to add, because I know my mother is probably reading this, my mother who surely remembers me declaring very firmly and confidently, “OATMEAL MAKES ME PUKE!!!”

Well, look at me now, Mom. Oatmeal is awesome. If you haven’t before, try a little quinoa in it, because it’s really good and pretty good for you, too.

Next up is Mixed Veggie and Tofu Chilaquiles. They’re going to be bomb as fuck.

Sleepyhead.

Work has definitely been kicking my butt lately. Our little sub-department has exactly four employees in it. Four. Our supervisor, one full timer, two part timers. It works pretty well, but when someone gets injured or sick, things get a little crazy. And it just so happens that our full timer is the one out for the count for at least a month, thanks to an already bad back being agitated to serious status. This means the bulk of her hours gets spread between me and the other part timer, so that we’re now essentially fully timers until she’s back on the job. I’ll happily take the extra work because it means more money, but, boy does it really bite into my writing! I’m still getting stuff done, but it’s at a mere fraction of what I could be doing if it wasn’t for the current work situation.

So today was my first day off after more work days in a row than I’m used to working, and it’s a full day off, too, meaning that the boyfriend works today, so that I have some time to myself. Naturally, this excites me, especially considering the week coming up is going to be rougher and longer hours for me than the week before it. So I think to myself, “Sweet, I’ll get up nice and early and I’m going to do so much reading and I’ll blow through my writing work and maybe even finally get a story finished!” Then the alarm goes off. I hit snooze. I do not wake up until at least an hour and a half later than I had originally intended. An hour and a half. There is so much work that can be done in an hour and a half, and I squandered it by getting some much needed sleep that probably still wasn’t as much as I should have.

Aarrrg. Almost every time I have a genuine day off and I get stoked about being all productive by getting up early, I always sleep in. Like I said, I’m sure I needed it and I’m better off for it, but it’s still a little frustrating. Still, I’ve managed to get some solid stuff done in the time I did have, and I still have the rest of the day to accomplish even more.

Let’s have a look at the past week, and a look into the week ahead.

Reading: I cracked open Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes this morning, wondering if perhaps I should have waited for October, but it is a really rainy, wet, autumnal day here in Chicagoland, despite it being winter. Just as his Dandelion Wine is a read-every-summer book for me, I have a feeling Something Wicked will be a read-every-October book. I haven’t managed to finish anything yet, but I’m pretty close to wrapping up Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room from last year’s batch.

Writing: As of last week’s post, I had been averaging out a rejection a day, probably as various editorial staffs brush off the holidays and get cracking on the new year, but they’ve really petered out since then, crushing my dreams of having 365 rejections this year, one for each day (but, hey, I could potentially have a soul-crushing catch up day). They pretty much stopped on the ninth, and the only letter I’ve had come in since then was an acceptance. That’s right, an acceptance! Dark Fuse Magazine has expressed an interest in publishing my horror flash fiction, “Late Night Snack,” so I’m just waiting on a contract from them. So with that acceptance and “2:00 am” from 50 Word Stories earlier in the year, I’m averaging an acceptance a week! I wouldn’t mind that trend keeping up!

I’m still plugging away at Fearless, wrapping up a kind of bizarre chapter about zombies and sex (it makes sense in context, I swear!), and heading toward the final exciting conclusion. I worked a little on Rosewood Manor, too, because, dammit, that book needs to be published. Almost finished with the rough draft of a short story for an anthology I was invited to participate in, and the daily starts have been getting a lot of juices flowing, even if I haven’t been finishing much. I have been maintaining my “Submit One Story a Day” goal, though, which means a lot of days of spewing out some quick flash fiction to those markets when I haven’t got anything meatier to send. But these flashes aren’t too bad, and I have ideas to expand them if they get rejected. I have a few longer pieces on the edge of being finished. I need to just buck up and complete them already.

‘Rithmatic: Last year, my boyfriend shared with me something he read on reddit the other day, that even just five push-ups a day will eventually add up. He’s taken it to heart, and I’ve decided I will, too, only with me, it’s sit-up because my mid-section is my trouble area, and I try to do ten because five just doesn’t seem enough. I’m also trying to watch the late-night snacking and snacking in general (I bought a bag of oranges and I have one of those a day, and I really think they’re helping to curb craving), and my weight has been fluctuating like crazy, but with a downward trend. So that’s exciting, even if it could just be hormones.

One of the things we got for Christmas was a copy of the Thug Kitchen Official Cookbook, the coolest god-damn vegan cookbook you’ll ever find, and I’ve been wanting to start cooking up each recipe in it and reporting back on how they go on the blog, but I’ve been lazy about picking up quinoa and steel cut oats for the first one. But I’m planning it, so don’t be surprised when I start doing more cooking stuff again.

And we say La La Land. Far from perfect, but, man, what an emotional wallop! There were so many things that I just absolutely loved about this movie, especially the inspiration to follow your dreams and be passionate about something. I highly recommend it to anyone with a creative streak and dream to follow.

I feel I’m forgetting something else I wanted to share this Monday, but it clearly wasn’t important enough if it slipped my mind. Oh well. I’m excited to see what else I can accomplish today, but, really, if I’m being honest, I’ll probably waste a ton of time getting frustrated with Quest for Glory, and then soothing my wounds with Roller Coaster Tycoon.

How’s your day, week, month, year going so far? I’m ready to get out there with the best intentions, and then categorically squander by day! Huzzah!

First Reset of the Year!

Happy Monday, everyone! I nearly forgot it was Monday, despite having been looking forward to it, because I stayed up quite a bit past my bedtime to watch the Golden Globes after work, then allowed myself to sleep in a bit, and then realizing that this meant I had less time to try to get everything I needed to do before going back to work. And work is very work right now. My department is really small, there’s only four of us, and one of the two full timers of that four is out for about a month on medical leave, which means the other part timer and myself are temporarily full timers. It always bums me out a little that my writing time is being compromised, but I know it’s temporary, and the extra money certainly is a good consolation prize.

Work notwithstanding, I’ve had a pretty good first week in January, certainly an interesting one, setting the year off on a steady foot. Here’s what I mean:

Reading: I’m still trying to plow through the slush pile of unfinished books leftover from 2016, but I did crack open David McCullough’s 1776, which has been on my radar for a long, long time now. This means that, so far, the books I’ve started for 2017 have been nonfiction books, which I think is pretty sweet. I always feel I should read more nonfiction. Due to all the work stuff, I haven’t gotten as much reading in as I’d like, but I’m definitely getting in some.

Writing: So, I’m sure if you’ve been keeping up, you’ve heard me talk about the 100 Rejections a Year goal, and, let me tell you, if things keep up the way they have been, I’ll be pulling in 365 rejections this year. That’s right. As of yesterday, the eighth day of the year, I had already received eight rejections. That’s the equivalent of a rejection a day. In a way, it’s kind of impressive. A very big part of me really hopes the trend doesn’t keep up, but, if it did, I couldn’t even be mad because that’s just too incredible to be depressing.

On the upside of this, I may have received eight rejections, but I did get one acceptance in the meantime, and that little blip of a story can be found here on Fifty Word Stories. It was also chosen for their Story of the Week, which means it’s eligible to win Story of the Month, which would get me a little prize. So yay there!

I’ve been effectively starting and outlining a new story every week, but with my current time restrictions, I haven’t had much chance to finish anything, especially since I’m pouring most of what I have into getting Fearless finally finished. But I realized last night that what needs to happen is that I need to at least finish one story per week. I’ll have 365 stories started at the end of the year, and one story a week means at least 52 of them finished. Well, 51, because I thought of this last night and, though I tried, I didn’t have the brain capacity to get the story I set out to finish completed. It will be done by the end of this week, though, that I can promise.

So writing’s been going well, even if a little frustrating because I want more time to do it. And we’ve all heard that story before…

I’ve also updated the Submissions page for World Unknown Review Volume IV. Submissions are officially open for the 2017 edition, though, of course, we’ve got quite some time before the October 31st deadline. I’m also slowly updating the body of work presented in my Books and Short Stories page to include all the places you can find my short work, as well as the books published through Amazon.

‘Rithmatic: I want to start really focusing on cosplay for this year and making plans for C2E2. I’m trying to start small by finding a good pair of vegan-friendly work gloves for my character, but my searches so far have been futile. I might have to get a little more creative and spend a bit more time on it. Maybe this week I should just focus on the peasant top I’ll need, because that’ll likely be much easier.

The boyfriend and I have been talking about getting gym memberships, especially since we can’t really hike in the bitter Chicago winters. We could, but we’re not crazy. I’m trying to limit my caloric intake a little, too, because I’m back to the weight I was before I lost all the weight two years ago, and so I definitely need to rein all that stuff back in.

I made tofu wontons, both friend and in soup, for the first time the other day, and let me tell you, they were amazing. I think I have a new favorite staple.

And I think that’s about it. It’s been a solid, busy, interesting week so far; it’s hard to believe it’s only been one week. It feels like so much has happened, but, hey, if 2017 wants to take it’s time a little bit, I’m fine with that.

How about you? How was your first week of the year?

The Books I’ve Read 2016.

It’s that time again! My favorite new year tradition is clearing out the small bookshelf where I put all the books I’ve read within a calendar year, make a post about them, and then eagerly anticipate filling it with more books in the current year. Even the bookshelf itself is special; I remember my uncle making this shelf for me when I was younger, and it’s been with me ever since, to several different homes and two different states. One day, when I actually accomplish the 100 books I shoot for every year, it’s not going to be big enough to hold them all, but, for now, it’s the perfect size, and I’m always looking forward to the annual purge and reset of its lovely shelves.

Before & After

This year, I managed to read 35 physical books. At the beginning to the year, I’d blown through quite a few ebooks on my Kindle, too, but they, unfortunately, will be lost to the mysteries of the universe, as my Kindle broke down about halfway through the year, so I can’t really access them right now in any convenient way that I’d be bothered with pursuing (as in, I’m sure there’s a way, but it doesn’t really matter enough to try right now, and I haven’t yet had the chance, i.e. money, to replace it at the moment). So this year, we’re just going to focus on the physical books.

Here’s the list, including my usual system of italics for books I’ve read before and bold for books I particularly liked and would recommend. In no particular order:

01. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
02. After Alice by Gregory Maguire
03. Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
04. The Pleasure of my Company by Steve Martin
05. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
06. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
07. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
08. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
09. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
10. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
11. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
12. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
13. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle
14. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
15. Squirrel Meets Chipmunk by David Sedaris
16. Jane and the Ghosts of Netley by Stephanie Barron
17. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
18. The Big Swingers by Robert Fenton
19. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
21. The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
22. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
23. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
24. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
25. 2nd Chance by James Patterson
26. With a Single Spell by Lawrence Watt-Evans
27. Street of the Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters
28. Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters
29. Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
30. The Chatsfield: Rival’s Challenge by Abby Green
31. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
32. Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
33. Misery by Stephen King
34. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Books in Limbo (Started in 2016, but not finished before 2017, so they don’t count toward either list, but they should at least be mentioned)

-The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
-The Throne of Tara by John Desjarlais
-Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
-It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
-Women of Wonder: The Classic Years edited by Pamela Sargent
-The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy by Leonard S. Marcus
-Potters Field 6 edited by Robert J. Krog
-Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson
-Bossypants by Tina Fey

So, a lot of new books this year, not many previously read ones at all. A lot of mediocrity, too. Most of these books I enjoyed, but not as many of them stood out. The ones that did stand out, though, oh, boy, they stood out big time. Flowers for Algernon is probably one of my new favorites, along with The Old Man and the Sea. A lot of “classics” this year, too, trying to get more of those Books You Should Read crossed off the list. A nice variety, too. Overall, it was a pretty good year for reading for me.

Did you read through a lot of books this year? Anything in common with my list? Anything on the list you also particularly enjoyed, or do you have any suggestions for me for 2017?

Happy reading!

Not Much to Reset Yet.

Though I’ve tried to ignore it, I still have to admit that the orderly part of my brain is still twitching a little bit over the fact that New Year’s Day missed Monday by such a small margin. How perfect would it have been if the Full Year Reset happened to coincide with a Monday Morning Reset? Especially since not a lot has happened between today and yesterday, especially since the boyfriend and I decided to be supremely lazy on our joint day off on the beginning of the year (and what a way to start the year!). There was little more than finishing up our It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia marathon, playing old video games, and eating Taco Bell (even if they did totally botch one of my items by adding cheese; listen, we have complex Taco Bell orders because of our veganism, but that was the simplest one, just no cheese, and it was the only one they screwed up. Like, everything was no cheese; why would that one item, which says no cheese, get cheese?). So it was great. Just not very productive.

And I work early today, so there’s not much more time to be productive today. The next two days I have off, though, so hopefully that will stave off the slightly high-pitched ringing in the back of my head from feeling like I’m already getting 2017 off to a lazy, slacker start. I hope tomorrow is a good one. I want to do my “Books I Read” megapost, update the World Unknown Review submissions page, and give the My Books tab a much needed refresher. It’ll be a good day, but we’ll not focus on that quite yet. Here’s what I have accomplished, though, just for good measure.

Reading: Though there are many books “in limbo” that I started in 2016 but didn’t finish in 2016, I’m excited to already start my 2017 list by finally cracking over Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, though if the first chapter is any indication, there’s a wishy-washiness to it that’s going to drive me up the wall. His writing can be so beautiful, though, and I do relate to some of it nicely already. A good start to the year; I think I’ll get through it pretty quickly, putting me well on the way to beating last year’s 36 books.

Writing: I’m doing things a bit differently this year. I’ve been thinking about how quickly a lot of the stories that came to reside in Bowlful of Bunnies came about, and it was because I was participating in a prompt challenge that had me writing a story every day. Now, I usually don’t have to scribble out a story from start to finish every day, especially with other projects to work on, so my solution is to write out a full outline of the stories now. I’m mimicking the set-up for the prompts (I pull up three random words from a Random Word Generator and one image from my Tumblr feed, and try to construct a story around those elements. I started a little bit before the year ended, just to get a feel for it, to see how it was working, and it’s off to a great start. Five story concepts mapped out from beginning to end already, all that’s left is writing them out. I work a little bit on Fearless, a little bit on a piece for a deadline, and then a little bit on the story for the day. Ideally, when the deadline story is finished, I’ll either focus on another approaching deadline (more than likely taking from the backlog to fit the journal or theme) or just take on one of the backlogged stories.

Sound a little convoluted? It probably is. Don’t even get me started on the new card system I’m putting together to help me keep track of submissions and place to submit. But here’s the thing: my brain loves this shit. I don’t know what it is, but I seem to thrive when I have all these dump, complicated systems in place. You have to do this before you can do this. This needs to be like this so that this can be like that. So on and so forth. But, hey, if it works, it works, even if everyone else is looking at it, baffled by how I manage to get anything done. But I do get it done, one way or another.

I haven’t had a chance to submit anything yet, but I’m about to go on over to 50-Word Stories and give them a little something to do.

‘Rithmatic: Again, yesterday was mostly just TV, video games, and Taco Bell, so I don’t have much to report on here. I’m just looking forward to tomorrow, as the start of two days off to really get all my ducks in a row and get this year going. The most exciting thing going on right now is that our radiator is leaking through the floorboards which have been eaten away after years of this radiator leaking, but it’s finally a problem for the tenants below us, so someone’s going to take a look at it. I just hope that it doesn’t come around to bite us in the ass, because it’s very clear that the damage has been done over much longer than a single year, but it’s a problem that hasn’t been fixed in so long, and we just happen to be there when it became a problem. Ugh.

Either way, it’s time to try to see how much I can try to get done before I have to get ready for work. Happy reading, everyone!

And Away We Go!

It’s here, it’s here The new year is finally here! And while I’m not really down with the whole “2016 was so shitty!” thing (certain aspects of it was, of course, but I had a lot of wonderful things happen to me personally in 2016, and, really, as my boyfriend said when I asked him if he was excited for the new year, “Time is just a manmade construct.”), I’m still stoked to start 2017, because it’s like the biggest Monday Morning (or in this case Sunday Morning) Reset Button there is. The start of a new year is an easily marked period of time where one has the confidence to wipe the slate clean. It’s a convenient frame for which to set up deadlines and goals and projects, all things that I’m an absolute sucker for. It gives me the chance to consider how things went in the previous year, to continue doing the things that worked, and to alter the things that didn’t. The New Year is probably one of my favorite times of the year, so bear with me in the next week or so as I post about all the different things I hope to accomplish in 2017. And here’s a preview:

Books I Read: January 1st is the day I clear out the small bookshelf where I put the books I’ve read and start a new, every year trying to read 100 books, which I have never actually done, but one year, maybe! There’s a post coming up about that eventually, because I also like to discuss and share what I read, what I liked, what I didn’t like, so on and so forth. This year, I managed to pull out 36 book, which wasn’t as much as I was hoping, but it’s not a too terrible number. By best is 73, I think, so it’s a good distance away from that.

Books I Write: Once upon a time, I thought that I would have a goal of publishing two books a year, and, for at least two years, it worked. And then last year, an unfortunate blip in the system that set a lot of things back and led to a few months of hardship had me pushing back the final book in Slayer Saga series. Last year, though I published a lot of short stories, I only managed to get out one book, and I didn’t even write it. And that’s okay! Things happen, and the sign of a strong person is how they handle it. I’m not sure what it says about me that I’ve decided to try again, but this time, I’m doing three publications a year.

Or at least this year. Who knows where I’ll be for 2018, but, obviously, in August, I hope to have the already-overdue conclusion to the Slayer Saga out, because I’ve been leaving people hanging on the fate of the Slayer for far too long. And, naturally, we will be releasing World Unknown Review Volume IV in December. And I’ve decided to throw in a surprise project I’ve been stewing on for a bit in April, but that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Short stories: This year was a fantastic year for me and short stories! I had six stories appear in various publications in 2016, including the Saturday Evening freakin’ Post, which is a really solid turn out. Not only that, but I have two stories already slated for publication in 2017, which is a great start to meeting and beating that number this year. I didn’t get to that 60 rejections mark that I was hoping might happen before the calendar year turned over, but getting 59 since August shows that I don’t think I’ll have any problem hitting 100 in 2017.

I’m also starting a new process for my short stories. I had an okay one going with the starting something new every week, but it left me with well over a dozen notebooks of different projects I was trying to juggle and it was too much. Plus, I’ve really got to focus on Fearless this year, so I’m switching it up a little this year in a way that will still produce a lot of solid short stories (I hope), as well as progress on my novels and other projects. I’ll go into this a bit more in another post.

Cosplaly: Because of the aforementioned trouble early in the year of 2016, we had to skip out on going to our local cons like C2E2 and ACen, so we are determined not to miss them again this year. And, of course, we’re angling to increase our cosplay experience as well. There’s a few ideas floating around, but we’re likely to settle on Amaya and Graham from the newest King’s Quest game, so we’ll be steadily trying to make progress on that in the beginning of the year.

Other Stuff: I want to get back to hiking and eating better and just back on track for losing some of my spare tire, naturally, and, financially, I want to get back to building up my emergency funds, since early last year cleared me out for a while. Maybe, possibly considering a new place, but, at the same time, the current apartment works well, even if it’s nothing glamorous or anything. It might not hurt to have another year here to build up more for something nicer. But that’s kind of it for other things. I want to get into drawing more again, too, but most of my focus is on my writing.

The new year is always an exciting time for me. I just love the fresh, clean slate idea, recharging me and causing me to really look forward to all the wonderful things I might accomplish this year. How about you?

Everything is Illuminated, but maybe we should turn down the light a little.

In my rush to finish up as many books as I can before the beginning of 2017 (where I shall strip my “Have Read” shelf clean and start anew), I’ve finally managed to finish Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated. Foer’s made some waves in the literary community, so I was pretty stoked to finally get to it, and, I’m sure if I was still in college, I would have likely pretended to absolutely love it. I’m a bit older now, without as much desperation as I had in my twenties (don’t get me wrong, it’s still there), so I’m left a bit torn between my younger self’s desire to like it and my current self’s revulsion at the idea of a wonderful, touching story spoiled by the veneer of Art for Art’s Sake. Under the surface, Everything is Illuminated is a generational story (and how I love those! Ha Jin, Barbara Kingsolver, and Jeffrey Eugenides immediately pop into mind) about identity and love and being an Eastern European Jew during the Holocaust. But it’s covered in prose that, while sometimes beautiful and dazzling, is a little too much. It feels over-written. It’s frustrating, in a way, making me feel like Foer is being purposefully obtuse, showing me a glimmer of something and then building up a barricade of stylistic choices that block me from appreciating the glimmer as I’d like to.

So I went to read the reviews on Amazon. Reviews are funny things. Sometimes they’re helpful; sometimes they’re utter crap, but I like reading them to get a measure of what other people are thinking. I will brazenly admit that I care what other people think. Usually, in these situations, I read the one star reviews (I like listening to people bitch about things, especially if they’re things I agree with) and the four star reviews. Sometimes three stars. I always feel that four and three star reviews offer the most constructive considerations of the book. I have no interest in reading a five star review that merely praises the prose (or worse, the author), especially if I didn’t like certain aspects of the book. And, sure enough, within those four star reviews, my thoughts on the books were illuminated (ba-da-ching!) through other people’s impressions.

The thing that stuck with me the most was the frequency of a comment to the effect of this: “I can’t wait to see what Foer does once he feels he has nothing to prove.” Many people called it a “young man’s novel.” It was his first novel, so it’s very clear that he’s trying to be impressive. He’s trying to tap into the effortless absurdity that authors whose names he’s surely heard tossed around for year in similar classrooms to the ones I frequented and trying to live up to it. I still catch myself doing that sometimes, too, and that’s the crux of it. It’s a very personal story, so it’s clearly something Foer wanted to write, but was this truly how he wanted to write it, or was it merely the product of how he thought he should write it? This perspective makes me understand the choices he may have mad as an author so much more clear to me, and I’m really excited to dive into his other books to see if he finds more of his own voice rather than trying to capture the voice he thinks people think he should have. Or perhaps that is his voice. It’s entirely possible. But I’ll have to keep reading to find out.

It’s taken me a long time to embrace the idea that I should just write things how I want to write them. Every so often, I still second guess myself. Is my prose too plain? Should I be injecting more metaphors or allusions? I like to tell a good, solid story without too many bells and whistles, but do people enjoy reading that? Do the right people enjoy it? Does it matter?

Well, it shouldn’t. I am a staunch supporter of just writing a story the way you want it to be told. That’s why you’ve been given the story in the first place, so that you can tell it your way. And perhaps Foer did tell the story the way he wanted to, and that’s fine, but it’s not really for me. I like a little bit of that artsy-fartsy prose in my books (after all, I could also fill a post about how I don’t like bare-bones prose like you often find with big names like James Patterson and, to a degree, Stephen King), but sometimes it’s just too much, and I want to find the author and shake him and tell him that it’s okay, you don’t need to impress me. You don’t need to impress anyone. All you need to do is write a damn good story as you define it.

At least that’s my excuse for anyone who doesn’t like my own prose. Ahem.