Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Poetic Justice.

Okay, Poetic justice has very little, if anything, to do with actual poetry. I did some research (wikipedia) and came up with it's actual derivitives. Wikipedia states: Poetic justice is a literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded or vice punished, often in modern literature by an ironic twist of fate intimately related to the character's own conduct.
I personally see that our culture has transformed this meaning, due to our waning literature references, to fit actual life. Poetic justice is when you recieve a punishment fitting the crime, especially a punishment having no relation to the crime but usually compesating for it's greviousness.

Either way, I met my own poetic justice today. It's move in week in town, and I made the horrible mistake to drive. I know, why would I do such things? Unfortunately, time continues moving forward despite the fact traffic refuses to. There were two instances where I was reciting prayers for my safety of my own accord. I can be a bit of a foolish driver. But then, later that day, I got honked at for not moving fast enough in the turn lane. This SUV was really rushing to get absolutely no where.
Now, as a woman of choice words, I do not regret my to-the-point assertation of this person's character. I shouted, "What do you want, Assfuck?" startling the person I was speaking to on the phone.
And I believe it was entirely appropriate. Looking back, I laugh that perhaps that honk was a universal compensation saying 'you needed a warning, but we don't want to give it when you'll be overwhelmed. here's your free pass, everyone gets one.'
Everyone gets one.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Collective Writing

I've recently joined a local (well, an hour away) writer's group. I'd frequented the group a number of times previously as a friend of a few of the members, but I've moved to the status of submitting member fairly recently.
My feelings on such a group? Mixed. Considering that the bulk of the group will read this, perhaps I will speak overly optimistically.
But in the hopes of complete honesty, I do really enjoy it, and if I hadn't I'd probably have made an excuse not to join, considering the distance. I think it's a fairly good group of different viewpoints and different life stages. Okay, so it isn't extremely diverse, considering it is four members and the greatest minority represented is white female. But we've all developed very different viewpoints and interests, so when we edit each others work we often find very different conceptual problems. It's almost a shock when two members pick on the same point, and come to the same conclusion as to how to fix it.
So now it's time for my helpful hints, some for the writer hoping to be a good member of the group, and some for a hopeful group.

To be a good group member:
  1. Edit your work before you submit it. If people don't have to waste their time editing things you could have caught, then they are more likely to catch the things you can't see.
  2. Edit others with an equal eye. Don't be afraid to criticize, constructively. Don't be afraid to tell someone when they wow'd you. Just because you didn't find errors doesn't mean that there is nothing to be said about the piece.
  3. Actually use the comments and edits, but keep your intentions in mind. If you have a fairy that has green hair, and they wanted brown, consider what the green hair means to you. If it successfully makes a difference, then keep it. If it sticks out for no reason, then go ahead and change it.
  4. Adding on to the last point, no one is an expert, even published writers. This means that everyone's opinion and experience should be considered equal, and your judgement should only be about the story and how their comments affect the story, not who they are coming from or how valid that person's opinion is.

For groups:

  1. Pick a consistent time to meet, so all the members can clear that time in advance. That doesn't apply as much to smaller groups or younger groups, but with adults or large groups it would be very difficult to get things on the fly.
  2. There is no right way to hold a meeting, find a way that works for your group. If you have a very big group, maybe appoint someone president to direct it, or utilize the talking stick. (no talking or you get the stick) Just kidding folks, I don't advocate violence in this situation- it doesn't mix well with the collaborative atmosphere.
  3. Finally, have fun, whatever that may mean to your group. In my group, we often eat during the meeting, because that offers two advantages: it cuts in half the time spent eating and meeting, and it also serves as a level of enjoyment based merely on enjoyment of good food.