... though being a nice Jewish boy from Maine, I perhaps should put a skullcap on Wilbur and say "Shalom and Salutations!"
I do not think E.B. White would mind (he's dead), but my mother, of blessed memory, would turn my bottom the color of lox if I ever put a yarmulke on a pig.
Anyway, at Kathleen's (Ms Dalton-Woodbury's) suggestion, I offer the following personal introduction that I composed for her as fare to gain passage to this side of the Hatrack River:
I am a 52 year-old physician (Diagnostic Radiolgist), who has had a passion for reading since I was old enough to be read to. I came to enjoy escapist literature, first sf and then fantasy, by the time I was 12. I can even recall the first sf novel I read was "Revolt on Alpha C" by Robert Silverberg and my first fantasy novel (excluding Greek mythology and the Brothers Grimm) was "The Hobbit." By the time I was 14, I was writing pastiches inspired by the style of Ray Bradbury. Later, I became an English Major at the Univ. of New Hampshire, with emphasis in Creative Writing, Critical Analysis, and Chaucer. My writing professors included John Yount and Tom Williams (author of "The Hair of Harold Roux" and "Tsuga's Children"). The latter became my mentor and a great source of encouragement. I wrote a number of short stories and the first chapters of an epic novel in my college years, none meeting the standards necessary to achieve publication--though I received a few personally written rejection letters from the then editor of "The Magazine of Fantasy of Science Fiction" (that I have kept). I had promised myself I would pursue a career in Teaching and Writing IF I could produce work worthy of publication(other than a collection of my comic strips from the University newspaper that were offered for sale by the University bookstore). As I did not achieve my goal, I settled for my second career: Medicine. >chuckle<
I have been successful in my medical career, published once in my specialty's major journal, and presented at medical conferences both local, national, and international, and even was elected by my peers for my contributions to the discipline as a Fellow of the American College of Radiology.
My rather long work hours over the decades, administrative responsibilities, and volunteer service on a number of state andd national medical societies and committees left little time for creative pursuits, but I did indulge in collecting and acquiring many works by authors I admired, and I've continued to read for knowledge, enjoyment and escape.
In 2006, my artwork (if you consider comic strips art) was placed in an exhibit along with other cartoonists of the Univ. of New Hampshire. I met the Library Museum curator, a lovely woman, who happened (to my surprise) to be a fan. Though I had been initially discharged from the university newspaper for "controversial" work, I was now asked 30 years later to house my collected artwork as part of the university's permanent archive. I got such a kick out of this that I drew 5 new strips, the first in decades (and likely the last), to commemorate the university's cartoonists exhibition. I was delighted to find, when called upon, I could still find inspiration and be creative.
Following retirement, my father, now 81, has written seven mystery/detective novels (self-published) and has utilized me as an editor. All this editing prompted me to attempt a return to writing. As I write this, I am composing [Note: today I just finished!--Bob] the final pages of my first (completed) novel, an urban fantasy/mystery with a paranormal investigator who happens to be a Rabbi (unordained) and a Kabbalistic Mage. It has been a lot of fun to write, but it has been long since I have studied the craft of writing.
I saw Mr. Card's book on writing and publishing SF and Fantasy recently at Borders (and I happen to possess most of his works and admire his good taste in being a fan of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity"). I was subsequently led to peruse the internet where I came across this Workshop forum and tips for prospective authors. "It couldn't hoit!"
Oh, yes. And as you're a novelist, check out the Novel Support Group (NSG) in Hatrack Groups. Also the Future Published Novelists Anonymous (FPNA) in Hatrack Groups.
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I really love Kabbalah, its fascinating to me. Strangely enough, it was the Japanese that introduced me to it, via its featuring in the classic anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
One day I may be asking to pick your brain.
quote:I had promised myself I would pursue a career in Teaching and Writing IF I could produce work worthy of publication(other than a collection of my comic strips from the University newspaper that were offered for sale by the University bookstore). As I did not achieve my goal
This time around, I suggest that YOU decide whether YOU think your stuff is "worthy" of publication. Editors opinions are no better than anyone elses...they just happen, through whatever series of circumstances, to be in positions where they publish stuff ~shrug~. As far as I'm concerned, if your heart is in it, its worthy.
Kathleen: I did read and appreciate your Moderator's advice in the "Please Read Hear First" subforum. It is excellent. My question here was merely to gain additional insights from the experience of Forum Members.
Merlion-Emrys: Feel free to ask me any questions regarding Jewish mysticism. I've been fascinated by the the Kabbalah for over 30 years (the real thing, not New Age Madonnabbalah), and i have been intrigued by the notion of incorporating both its spiritual insights and its theological cosmology into fiction. I am not the only one to be thus inspired[e.g. See Alan Moore's Promethea comic books and the poem "Sandalphon" by fellow Mainer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (http://www.readbookonline.net/read/3076/12608/ )]. Having just completed this first novel, I have found that less is more. I make no personal comparison (G-d forfend such arrogance), but I understand how Tolkien could barely hint at his Silmarillion mythos in the LOTR, but conveyed its essence. I similarly could barely touch on Jewish mysticism but hopefully was true to its ideas and themes. The references I've included in the work are authentic but I limited them to conveying the story. No one likes to be lectured in fiction.
I tend to be my harshest critic. I like the story but found I was unhappy with the writing immediately upon initiating the first revision yesterday. Then again, I had just completed the first draft a few days ago. I am taking some advice and putting the book away for two or three weeks in order to come back to it with a fresher perspective. Thank you for the encouragement.
Meredith: Thank you. I'll be sure to check out the NSG and FPNA subforums. P.S. Does the "treehouse" have a railing? I'm not so good with heights.
DerekBalsalm and Lissa et al: Thank you all very kindly. Writing is fun. I find I am more successful in my attempts in the craft when I make this apparent. Don't you? The problem I have is achieving this consistently.
My thanks to everyone. G2G. I have patients waiting. I hope to visit again soon.
Be working on something else in the meantime, History.
And the treehouse is fully equipped with railings that come up to above most people's centers of gravity (so you'd have to be pretty tall to lose your balance and fall over one).
I would not recommend that you go through that door over there, however. It leads to the weightless room (actually on a spacestation--the door is a transporter), and people who have problems with heights don't do well in there.
Since the diagnosis of my GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux disease) 7 years ago, I upchucked my dreams of ever being an astronaut, or ever floating weightless in space, or ever gazing at the panorama of the earth twirling beneath me in all its beauty and grace. Rollercoasters and even jumping jacks are out.
Though I am pleased my Yehudi brethren will some day travel the stars, if Joel Rosenberg's novels "Not For Glory" and "Hero" are at all prophetic. Heck, even Frank Herbert has us 34,000 years in the future in "Chapterhouse: Dune." However, the image from Mel Brook's parody "Jews in Space" in his "The History of the World Part 1" is what I sadly envision.
I have had the chance to glance at other areas of the Forum. The challenge (and the good practice) associated with writing for WOTF has put the fire in my pupik*. Thus, I may take your advice and start plotting a short story--as, >sigh< , time (and family) permits.
I admire you, and all here, who are so disciplined that you MAKE the time to write while still working full-time. After a day at the hospital, even without being on call, all I want to do is plotz** on the couch either in front of the television or with a good book. How do you do it?
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
* pupik = belly, literally belly button [Yiddish] ** plotz = (just like it sounds), drop, have your tush (rear) hit the ground, couch, floor. [Yiddidh]
"I do it because the voices in my head leave me with no choice." At one time, I prescribed Haldol for this. >smile<
"That was, in fact, what finally got me started writing in the first place. I just couldn't take their yapping anymore. Telling stories is part of who I am. I can't not do it; everything I do is part of it." I envy you, then. Personally, I believe I lack a corpus callosum and the two halves of my brain are completely independent of one another. By this I mean, when my days (and evenings and weekends) are predominately occupied with my profession, the creative half of my mind goes quiescent. It is only when I have time off that it awakens, usually after 4-5 days of not working. It is only in this past year when I have divested myself of all my administrative duties (Department Chair, Group Business Leader, state/national society committees) that I have begun to have flashes for stories--even truly dream again. Many of my story ideas come from dreamscapes. Have you had this experience?
"Speaking of which, beware also the pulsating blue door with the non-Euclidean geometry. That one leads into the fathomless nighted abyss that is the inside of my mind." I'll be wary wary, then. I'd hate to fall in and find the endless dark in whose center lies the demon-sultan Azathoth: "[O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes"--HP Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Randolph Carter [nice picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azathoth ] I'll stay outside the door to your mind. ... and wait for it to open, just a crack, to witness a spider-like hand toss out scrolls filled with the crabbed opalescent letters of your visions. Personally, my mind is more like an M.C. Escher drawing.
"Do you speak Hebrew as well as Yiddish?" Only some of both. I can read Hebrew somewhat better (particularly Biblical Hebrew). Still learning, though.
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
P.S. Am I misusing this "Introduction" subforum? I seem to comparatively have way too many posts.
The introduction topics are for whatever the people introducing themselves want to talk about (within the guidelines of the registration agreement, of course).
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Hi, Lissa. I tend to work long hours for five weeks, then take a week off; two in a row in the summer. And, for the first time in my life, had 20 days off in a row just this past month!! Unfortunately, this was medical leave and not vacation (I'm better now thank you). Since I am no longer spending my non-clinical hours doing administrative work or committe work, this has also opened some time, decreased my wordly concerns and stresses, and permitted me to pursue my otherwordly interests.
I also purchased a cheap little netbook computer. It is smaller than a hardcover book, weighs only a few pounds, has 7 hrs of battery life, and I can take it with me anywhere. Right now I am in bed and it is sitting (quite comfortably) on my chest as I type.
Even so, it did take me a whole year to write one novel, and I fear how long the rewrite will take.
Thanks for the post.
Respectfully, Dr. Bob
[This message has been edited by History (edited August 19, 2010).]
quote:I envy you, then. Personally, I believe I lack a corpus callosum and the two halves of my brain are completely independent of one another. By this I mean, when my days (and evenings and weekends) are predominately occupied with my profession, the creative half of my mind goes quiescent. It is only when I have time off that it awakens, usually after 4-5 days of not working. It is only in this past year when I have divested myself of all my administrative duties (Department Chair, Group Business Leader, state/national society committees) that I have begun to have flashes for stories--even truly dream again.
I actually do some of my best brainstorming at work, especially during certain types of tasks where I can put my hands on autopilot and let my mind do its thing. Of course, thats not really an option in your line of work. I guess maybe its related to the fact that I tend to see everything in a unified manner...though not religious, I'm intensely spiritual. I write about, believe in and see everything in terms of magic and spirituality, so like I said...everything becomes part of my storytelling proccess.
quote:Many of my story ideas come from dreamscapes. Have you had this experience?
Yeah I've had some dream inspired stories. When I was a small child I had relatively frequent night terrors. When I was a little older, I still had a lot of nightmares. Its grown less and less over the years, but I still tend to have a lot of very odd sometimes disturbing dreams. Usually the only normal dreams I have are about baked goods. I also end up with a lot of story ideas from artwork and music.
Nice Azathoth pic. And yeah, I have my M.C. Escher moments too, especially after watching Labyrinth. Usually brings on Froud fits as well.
Hey! We're back up! I have to admit I was going through withdrawal while the Forum was in Limbo. I've found the Forum has been a wonderful asset for me and I've met a number of wonderful and helpful authors. Thanks.
Sorry. Wasn't sure where to put this observation regarding my appreciation for the Hatrack community.
Simultaneously, I see I've been a member for three years this month, and my line item successes have been two published flash, a couple enthusiastic editors (yet who still didn't buy a story), and a single WOTF Finalist award.