So, What’s It Like Being Married to Hunter S. Thompson?

Filed under: Fun — joy at 8:29 am on Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Here’s an interview with Anita Thompson, wife of Hunter S Thompson. She talks about his last days, what it was like living with him, and the struggle with his estate. It’s all pretty predictable and gossipy, but interesting none-the-less:

“The best thing about our marriage was that it was like being married to a teenage girl trapped in the body of an elderly dope fiend,” says Anita. “Which was also the hardest thing about our marriage.”

~ Joy

Political donations by occupation: Writers

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 8:07 pm on Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Huffington Post has a fun thingy — FundRace 2008 –that lets you look up political donations based on all sorts of criteria. Searching for political donations by those who list their occupation as “writer” shows that writers donated almost $2 million … with about $1.7 million of that going to Democrats.

Some people I’ve heard of:

Dean Koontz donated $4,600 to Mitt Romney (He also donated $2,300 to Fred Thompson)
David Mamet donated $4,600 to Christopher Dodd
Michael Chabon donated $4,600 to Barack Obama
John Grisham and Amy Tan donated $4,600 each to Hillary Clinton

I don’t know what this is, besides a strange way I entertained myself for 10 minutes. Politics!

–Marcia

Send Glimmer Train your short story, dude

Filed under: News — marcia at 11:48 am on Sunday, March 16, 2008

If you have a short story, you best submit it to Glimmer Train. There’s no reason not to. It’s a quality publication. It’s free to submit your story, and payment for accepted stories is $700 plus 10 issues. The current reading period is the entire month of April, so you still have a few weeks for editing and polishing. (Or writing something new altogether) Snap to it. Go to Glimmer Train for the full details.

–Marcia

Introducing the Gender Guesser

Filed under: Fun — joy at 9:33 pm on Saturday, March 8, 2008

Word Pirates, let me introduce you to Gender Guesser. It claims it can tell whether a man or a woman is writing a paragraph. See, maybe you didn’t know, but women and men write differently. Men use ACTION verbs and women write about their feelings. Thus, using a handy algorithm, it can predict what sex a person is based purely on their syntax.

I decided to give it a try. Gender Guesser says it needs 300 word to properly analyze someone’s sex. So I put in the following:

He looked around the room. There was a gun lying on the dresser. The bullet had been fired not too long ago, he thought. He could almost smell the gun powder. His penis twitched in his shorts. “Got to do something about that,” he thought.” But later, after I find that dame and find out what she knows.” Quickly he went to the closet door and flung it open. Nothing but a suit hanging on the hanger. “Dead end,” he thought.

“Now where can that dame be?” he thought. He went to the liquor cabinet and opened it. No beer. There were, however, small square bottles of absinthe. He eyed them suspiciously. “No,” he thought. “They probably cost $20-per-bottle, easily. And even though the patsy who rented this room would get charged…”

“No no no! Never mind my alcoholism! I have to find the dame. What was I doing? Oh yeah, looking for clues. Fine. Here are the clues: there is a gun. It fired. There is possibly a dead body somewhere.”

He turned and threw open the front door to the room. Outside, there was a hallway. He looked down it, waiting sternly for a new clue to materialize. He couldn’t see or hear anything of interest. He stalked out into the hallway, striding in his black coat. In his pocket, his own gun nestled comfortingly against his leg. He patted it. “Ol’ Nelly,” he thought.

As he rounded the corner, he stopped and looked around. He put his hand in his pocket and put his finger on the trigger, just in case something jumped out at him. For a moment, he held his breath. He thought he heard a woman whimpering pathetically somewhere. It was faint, but yes, but he could hear it.

“The dame!” he thought…

The result? Gender Guesser believes I am 82.14% male.

Just goes to show, these things are based on science and reason, not stereotypes and folderol. Boy, you really can’t fool the Internets…
~ Joy

Falling out of love with love?

Filed under: The Writing Process — marcia at 7:06 pm on Sunday, March 2, 2008

“Mail & Guardian” has a commentary by Tim Lott called “Whatever happened to literary love?” In it he says that stories about love are becoming rare, though they were once the standard of great literature.
Richard Curtis, screenwriter of “Four Weddings and Funeral,” “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually,” brings the point home:

“If you write a story about a soldier going AWOL and kidnapping a pregnant woman and finally shooting her in the head, it’s called searingly realistic, even though it’s never happened in the history of mankind. If you write about people falling in love, which happens a million times a day … you’re accused of writing something unrealistic and sentimental.”

I am assuming Lott means love as the sole plot for a story, because tons and tons of books have a love relationship as a part of it. (Heck, you could easily argue “Fight Club” is a love story, but I’m sure that’s not the kind of book he means.)
A good love story is hard to write. You are writing about a universal experience, so it has to resonate as true. But you also don’t want to bore people with cliches. You want to say something new. You want to be original.

The New York Times best seller list is topped by mystery and suspense books. Was there a time when it was topped by romances?

-Marcia