10.21.2009

Strangeness (cross posted from Writer's Rainbow)

"Strangeness: Make the Familiar Unfamiliar"
Writer's Rainbow [October 2009]

I’m intrigued by oddities in culture and society. Cryptids, aliens, monstrosities. Anything that steers clear of the norm. Freaks of nature. Miracles. The inexplicable.

Look up strangeness in a thesaurus. That says it all! If something is bizarre, curious, eccentric, idiosyncratic, marvelous, oddball, peculiar, quirky, uncanny or weird, chances are, it will capture my attention. And I don’t mean—literally—just the strangeness of objects. Landscapes can be otherworldly right here on earth, after all. Characters can transcend normal expectation. Storylines can take unexpected twists and turns. And readers love all of this.

Read more

9.10.2009

For Magical Realist Wrimos... November is just weeks away!

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know that I'm offering both an online AND a live local National Novel Writing Month clinic (Oct 18-Dec 6) for the 2009 NaNoWriMo challenge. Interested in taking on the challenge of penning 50k+ words in 30 days? You can do it... I've done it twice now and I'm a busy working mom. The lessons I've learned about my writing life (particularly in how to be productive and unblocked in a time crunch) exceed all the benefits of writing two novels in that time (both which I'm now revising). I'd love to help you through this learning curve. Magical realism is an area I specialize in as an editor, as well.




Let me know if you're interested in signing up!



More info Contact me

8.31.2009

Reminder: Registration ends Sept 3 for Rabbit's Hat online magical realism writing workshop

Rabbit's Hat (MRC 101B) is appropriate for writers who are somewhat familiar with literary magical realism or speculative fiction. That's an easy qualification; as long as you know what magical realism is, you can take this class.

Instructor: Tamara Kaye Sellman, editor and publisher of Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism and director of Writer's Rainbow Literary Services, LLC

Level: intermediate

Duration: Three sessions of generative writing aided by prompts

Format: Online/NonInteractive

Dates: September 17 through October 1 (Thurs)

Description: In this three-week online workshop, you’ll use your time generating new work and learning strategies for incorporating literary magical realism into your prose. Participants are expected to submit 1-3 new drafts (a total of 3,000 words) for review over the course of this workshop and will receive weekly prompts to get them started. I will offer my feedback on what works, what could be improved, what questions might linger, and how well you were able to capture elements of magical realism. My aim is to nurture your understanding of literary magical realism so that it becomes a natural and organic direction for your writing.

My specific focus will be on assisting writers in generating new work that shows a mastery of literary magical realism. Handouts will offer writing strategies and some light supplemental reading. This class is limited to 8 members and will meet with me through a private platform online. There is an orientation period so that participants can familiarize themselves with the platform (which is pretty easy to use). There is no live chat session for this workshop; the focus for now is to learn by doing; that is, generating new magical realist work and acquiring new tools for honing those skills. This is an excellent workshop for people who live outside the Pacific Time Zone and who cannot meet for a live workshop due to scheduling, but who still want to get some solid feedback and inspiration for their magical realist writing. This workshop will be offered again in February 2010.

Texts/materials: Announced once class is filled

Price/Payment Form: $75USD; PayPal

Registration Deadline: September 3

Class Min/Max: 4/8

Platform orientation: September 10

7.23.2009

RE: magical realism online workshop

This class is appropriate for writers who are somewhat familiar with literary magical realism or speculative fiction.

• MRC 101B: Rabbit’s Hat: (for magical realist writers) Sign up here
Instructor: Tamara Kaye Sellman, editor and publisher of Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism and director of Writer's Rainbow Literary Services, LLC
Level: intermediate
Duration: Three sessions of generative writing aided by prompts
Format: Online/NonInteractive
Dates: September 17 through October 1 (Thurs)
Description: In this three-week online workshop, you’ll use your time generating new work and learning strategies for incorporating literary magical realism into your prose. Participants are expected to submit 1-3 new drafts (a total of 3,000 words) for review over the course of this workshop and will receive weekly prompts to get them started. I will offer my feedback on what works, what could be improved, what questions might linger, and how well you were able to capture elements of magical realism. My aim is to nurture your understanding of literary magical realism so that it becomes a natural and organic direction for your writing.

My specific focus will be on assisting writers in generating new work that shows a mastery of literary magical realism. Handouts will offer writing strategies and some light supplemental reading. This class is limited to 8 members and will meet with me through a private platform online. There is an orientation period so that participants can familiarize themselves with the platform (which is pretty easy to use). There is no live chat session for this workshop; the focus for now is to learn by doing; that is, generating new magical realist work and acquiring new tools for honing those skills. This is an excellent workshop for people who live outside the Pacific Time Zone and who cannot meet for a live workshop due to scheduling, but who still want to get some solid feedback and inspiration for their magical realist writing. This workshop will be offered again in February 2010.

Texts/materials: Announced once class is filled
Price/Payment Form: $75USD; PayPal
Registration Deadline: September 3 Sign up here
Class Min/Max: 4/8
Platform orientation: September 10

7.15.2009

The Twittered Resurrection of Serendipity

From Neil Ayres, editor of Serendipity, for VeggieBox:

"For anyone out there who liked and is missing Serendipity, I'm resurrecting it, sort of. I want tweets of a magical realist nature addressed to me on Twitter (@neilayres) and I'll retweet the ones I like best. I'll also regularly include the very best in a post on this here blog, with a credit and short bio for the author. Poems and song lyrics are as welcome as prose."

I know *I* miss Serendipity. This is cool.

For more details and examples of what Neil's looking for, please visit the site.

7.14.2009

Posthumous notes on a spec-fic trailblazer: JG Ballard

Whether you consider JG Ballard a magical realist depends a great deal on how you define MR. I know some writers who insist he's a magical realist, while others will say he's more of a social sci fi writer or a speculative fiction author.



Regardless, much of the content of his work borrows from the bizarre inequities of the real world. Certainly, his view was dystopic but he wasn't, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, without hope at all. Like Gabo, Ballard understood how the structure of reality in a novel can spurn the expectations of the status quo and that, by writing outside the formal limitations of Realism, a writer might, in fact, tell the truth more transparently.




Here's a great analysis of and tribute to Ballard.

7.09.2009

Resistance to MR: Paul Harding joins other writers who dance, at first, outside the MR spotlight (Bookslut Interview)

Paul Harding in a recent interview for Bookslut:
"The writers that first got me into writing were kind of the more fantastic writers. I hate the term magical realism, but ...Carlos Fuentes' Terra Nostra was the first novel I read where in the middle of it I said I'm going to be a writer. Cortazar, Borges,
Calvino. Then all the writers they loved."
It's so amusing how writers resist the notion that MR might actually work for them (as a form for writing or as a source of inspiration) until they find and cleave to its greatest examples.

So easy, too, to assume that somehow McOndo is the only Latin American style that remains relevant, when really, where is the shame in appreciating classics, both old and emerging?

I say there is a world for both movements and all the others in between. What do you think? magicalrealismmaven@hotmail.com

Read the entire Bookslut interview with Paul Harding here

6.30.2009

Quality Summer Reading a la Magical Realism: The Undiscovered Island by Luso-American author Darrell Kastin


Check out this new magical realist novel by Luso-American author Darrell Kastin:

The Undiscovered Island
by Darrell Kastin
Publisher: Portuguese in the Americas Series
ISBN: 9781933227238
Price: $25.00
Pages: 411

From the website: "Alarmed by her father Sebastiao's unexplained disappearance, Julia Castro travels from California to the family's ancestral home in the Azores and finds the mid-Atlantic islands abuzz with tales of ghost ships, seductive sirens and witchcraft. The mystery deepens when a drowned man's body is discovered on a mountainside and an unknown island emerges from the sea.... History, legend, poetry and myth are seamlessly interwoven as the novel explores relationships between personal and cultural identity, fate and self-determination, reality and illusion. The novel is a lyrical evocation of a locale and a people, rendered with wonderful respect for Azorean tradition." Read an excerpt
Kastin's short story collection, The Conjuror & Other Tales of the Azorean Nights, is slated for publication in 2010. Read Darrell Kastin's short story, "Constança's War With the Elements"

6.15.2009

Sail your MR manuscript off to a polished completion with Magic Carpet Ride


Tamara Sellman, director of MRCentral, announces the third annual Magic Carpet Ride, an innovative one-on-one creative writing mentorship.

The purpose of the Magic Carpet Ride mentorship is to assist a promising magical realist writer from anywhere in the world in the completion of a polished manuscript by the end of the session which can then be actively submitted to potential publishers. This competitive opportunity is the first of its kind to provide specialized instruction, direction, and motivation specifically for a writer of literary magical realism.

This mentorship, valued at $2000*, will be awarded annually, and on a competitive basis, to a single applicant who is able to demonstrate:
• a deep commitment to completing their work in progress
• strong writing skills

• a desire to learn and to succeed

• a good understanding of the magical realist nature of their manuscript

Postmark deadline for receipt of all application materials for the 2010 mentorship session is October 31, 2009.

Email deadline for receipt of all application materials for the 2008 mentorship session is midnight [Pacific time], October 31, 2009.


Full details:
http://www.angelfire.com/wa2/margin/MRCentral/mentorship.html

5.09.2009

nbcc reads, spring 2009: work in translation

(x-posted from LundBlog: Beautiful Letters)

Five weeks ago, the members of the National Book Critics Circle were asked, "Which work in translation has had the biggest impact on your reading and writing?" This was a tough question for me, as I've read lots of translated works [much of it in a MR conext]. Would it be Borges? Or Bulgakov? Or Kafka? Calvino? Murakami? Zivkovic? I've of course read more translated authors than just these, but this list of writers was certainly influential in some way.

In the end, I settled on The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. I wrote up my response and sent it back to the NBCC.

[This past week], the NBCC Reads: Spring 2009 list was posted to Critical Mass by James Marcus. It compiles a digest of some 9,000 words sent in by nearly 80 NBCC member critics, former finalists and winners, on their favorite works in translation: Camus, Proust, Thomas Mann, the Bible, etc.. To my surprise, my response about Kundera was quoted about a third of the way through. Eep!

If you're curious, here's the money shot:

Jason Erik Lundberg opted for a different [Kundera] novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. “It combines the fascinating narrative of Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia with amazing philosophical erudition and trenchant observation,“ he wrote, “and it does this using elements of the fantastic. The novel is also very structured (as are many of Kundera’s texts), so that it feels like a symphony built of disparate parts, but held together by common themes and experiences.“

I have to credit Wilton Barnhardt for introducing me to this novel when he read from the beginning of it during one of his graduate writing workshops. I think I'd read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by that point, but soon after, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting replaced it as my favorite Kundera book.