Distractions : Match the Author’s Pen Name

I am completely inundated with books to read and review, novels to write, Kahlua iced coffee to drink, but I have taken an afternoon pause. Shouldn’t you, too? I just finished playing “Can you match the pen names with the authors’ real names?” I got one wrong! And that one is nagging me. But, I hope you can enjoy a quick literary break.

It’s been a few months since I last posted a Distraction. If today’s doesn’t suit your taste, try the archives.


Oyster Pirate by day, Author by night

Or as the subtitle of this post should be: Day jobs of the aspiring writer. 

I find myself, like many people, in miserable unemployment and a frustrating job search. My mind keeps coming back to those lists that pop-up now and again about strange day jobs of the now famous. Some of the more well-known are Kafka’s employment with an insurance company which could easily be seen as a great influence in his writing or Stephen King, who was inspired to write Carrie while working as a janitor at a high school. Below, I have collected some of the more amusing.

Fiction Addiction

courtesy of Fiction Addiction

There are so many reading series in NYC. So, I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t yet heard of Fiction Addiction. I was speaking to the organizer and she said that the series has been around since May 2011. As one of the many who usually finds themselves bored at readings and generally, attends these events either as a reader or as a friend of one of the readers, the latter is what happened last night.

To my pleasant surprise, last night’s reading was highly enjoyable. There were four readers, each reading prose that was engaging and easy to follow (I have trouble when people read at me; I’m a visual learner). The problem with most readings is that the readers like to hear the sound of their own voices, but thankfully, there has been a trend in NYC for readers to limit their time to 5-10 minutes. Usually, when long-winded readers prevail, the audience gets antsy and the numbers dwindled to about half by the time the whole ordeal is over.

On a side-note, I was asked to participate in a 2 minute genre reading series. It was fantastic. It made the readers pay attention to time and also, prepare a little nugget of wonderful prose. All-in-all, it was an extremely fun experience . I’m glad these “abbreviated” series are becoming more popular. When you avoid the long-winded, the crowd is usually packed and in good spirits throughout the entire reading.

Besides the quality of the readers, what made Fiction Addiction stand out was the fact that they hold the readings in the second floor lounge of 2A, with the walls mostly consisting of glass windows that face the streets. Outside of the wall of north windows, you can see where they project the entire reading on the side of the building across the street. You can see the pedestrians below stop and figure out what’s going. However, the readers were taken aback at first when they noticed their faces being beamed onto the side of a four-story building.

25 Avenue A | New York, NY | 10009

Sorry for the crummy photo but I took it on my cell phone with the fire escape and this girl's great facial expression blocking the view of one of the authors being projected on the adjacent building.

Distractions : Pseudonymous Authors

In celebration of everyone’s 30 Day Winter Break Reading Marathon, today’s post will be a Distraction. I submitted my last book review of 2011 to my editor this morning and she said to just let her know in January when I would like my next. Phew! It’s nice to know one thing is knocked off the list. All that is remaining is for me to type up some of my recently translated pages and send them off to the German writer.

So back to the celebration. Maybe in between pages 72 and 73 of your current read, take a break and try out Pseudonymous Authors. Enjoy!

The Writerly Desktop

I stumbled upon this article in the Guardian the other day. It mostly stood out to me because they were interviewing the always intelligent and always fascinating, Tom McCarthy. He was staying in NYC this past spring and making the rounds at our various well-respected literary venues as a guest speaker.

The Guardian chose him to be their first writer for their inaugural series called, “My Desktop.”

In the first of a new series where writers show us around their working lives by revealing what’s on their computer desktops, Tom McCarthy explains how technology is woven into his creative life.

Tom’s desktop (click image to enlarge)

The way McCarthy is as both a person and a writer is completely exuded through his personal work space (e.g., computer). It made me think about my own computer desktop. I differ with him over having a blank slate. I like an image and I like it to be high quality. On my normal desktop, I have an image of Ganesha–the Hindu god of success and remover of obstacles–and on my netbook, I keep a photo I took in the Czech Republic of a castle. Anytime I start up the little fella, my memories of that beautiful and inspiring country come back to me. On my desktop, I also have randomly placed folders, which is unexplainable because I am a tidy person; I think my rationale is if they are haphazardly placed, I look more productive. Also, “sticky notes” to remind me what to do (my brain is usually being pulled in all different directions!). For the first time, I realized that my computer desktop is a microcosm of how I function as a writer.

click to enlarge