25 July 2011

Book Giveaway for Grad Students

This is not so much a draw or a contest as an offer to pass on genuinely helpful books to someone who can use them. As I've mentioned before, I attended grad school and earned a PhD. in English Literature, with a specialization in Renaissance drama and a twist of medical history. I have a handful of books from that time that I can no longer use, but which are good and helpful.

If you are a grad student, and especially if you are a doctoral candidate in the arts or social sciences, and you would like these books, I will mail them to you. Not to frown upon science majors, but these books are skewed toward the arts / social sciences side of campus, where publishing a book when you're fresh out of grad school is de rigueur these days. I will mail them anywhere in the US or Canada.

Just drop me a line in the comments on this post and include an email address that I can use to contact you. This is a first come, first served situation. I do ask that you be in grad school and planning to complete a PhD in the arts or social sciences. 

Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral ThesisJoan Bolker, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day

This is the single most helpful how-to-write-a-thesis book I encountered during grad school. My copy is unmarked but a little wrinkly because I read it multiple times and possibly put it on a shelf under a leaky houseplant for a while. It saved me a lot of headaches as I worked out how to do the dissertation.

From Dissertation to Book (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)William Germano's From Dissertation to Book

Let's say you get your thesis finished and you defend it successfully and you've got your shiny PhD in hand. This book is aimed at helping you convert that project into a publishable book. My copy is in good shape with scanty highlighting throughout. In today's academic environment, where you are expected to emerge from the womb clutching your already-published book, it might help you to keep in mind the dissertation / book relationship throughout the writing process - save a little time, you know?

Getting It Published, 2nd Edition: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)William Germano's Getting It Published

My copy is the first edition, not the second edition pictured here. It is fairly pristine, and is about publishing your serious book once you've finished converting the thesis into a book.

The Thesis and the Book: A Guide for First-Time Academic AuthorsVarious Authors, The Thesis and the Book

Along the same lines as From Dissertation to Book, this is a collection of essays about common pitfalls and solutions as you work toward publishing your first academic volume. My copy is fairly pristine.

22 July 2011

My Guest Post at Wicked & Tricksy

Over at Wicked & Tricksy today I've got a post up called Why I Write Horror. Really it's about my earliest defining encounter with a [literary] ghoul who just wouldn't leave me alone. Go check it out. While you're there, poke around W&T if you haven't had the chance to yet. There are many fine and enlightening essays up about writing speculative fiction. It's good stuff.

Writing that post inspired a trip down memory lane. I plan to post more about my early encounters with horror over the next month or so.

Source: the deliciously gruesome Keith Thompson 

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

epic win photos - Apropos Sign WIN

20 July 2011

How You Found Me

Further to L.G. Smith's post on Bards and Prophets about the surreal contents of her search statistics, I bring you the following (and welcome, if any of you came to me via any of these):

feng shui writers
dose [sic] dan aykroyd strangle albert brooks?
people who liked when dan aykroid [sic] strangled albert brooks
bubonic plague
chakra-caduceus images
friendly tulpa
fisticuffs queensbury
hair shirt might

That last one is the most uncanny for me. The short story I wrote based on my Hair Shirt blog post was called "Hair Shirt Day."

It's like I've already got a reader for it, and it isn't even published yet.

To date, my most popular post is by far The Broken Aquariums of Will Ferrell. It's about a Boston Terrier snore-induced dream. I'm pretty sure that just about everyone who stops by to read it is confused and disappointed. Then again, a little cognitive dissonance is good for the soul, right? 

08 July 2011

Brains Are Tricky Business

I'm a big fan of the leaky, insubstantial, and unreliable aspects of our experience. As someone who has spent a lot of time working on opening up my perceptions (mostly via meditation), I am all too familiar with the idea that our minds are shaped by what we believe we should be seeing. We constantly discard evidence of the senses that doesn't square with consensus, culturally approved reality. Once you begin open the perceptions, things get really interesting, really fast.

Many people are skeptical of the idea that observation, that time-honoured tool of the scientist, is not all that reliable. But the brain stumbles on certain forms of sensory input. Some things we cannot perceive accurately, no matter how hard we try.

I give you the McGurk Effect. (If you close your eyes, you'll hear "ba" again.)

06 July 2011

04 July 2011


...sucked. I have tried to figure out some way in which June was okay. Yes, there was this, and it was great. In general, however, June was not good for me, and not good for my writing.

Allergies happened. I was traumatized. Freaky people with the emotional equivalent of spastic colon detonated in my general vicinity. I was traumatized. Weirdos with bizarre tics ticked bizarrely at Dave. He was traumatized.

So, this past weekend we took it upon ourselves to arrange some fun times - a real palate cleanser for the besmirched soul, if you will. We took in the Canada Day fireworks in our town. They were lovely. We went to see a movie (Super 8, which was adequate but ultimately disappointing, but hey, we got to see a movie.)

All that was fine, but it wasn't as good as what we did on Sunday: donkeys.

Oh my gosh donkeys.

This is Cocoa. Cocoa!
The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is 100 acres of pure magic in Puslinch, Ontario. The awesome people who run it take in donkeys who are about to be auctioned, who are suffering abuse, or whose owners can no longer care for them. They are open to the public on Wednesdays and Sundays. There are people there who will talk to you about donkeys, but basically, you can go into the barnyard area, grab a brush, and spend the afternoon petting and grooming and hanging out with donkeys.

Rosie wants to gently nudge your arm.
I've hung out with horses a little bit. I guess I was under the impression that all equines are kind of skittish. (I know not all horses are, but I'm speaking relatively, here.) The donkeys at the sanctuary are super, super calm and patient. These are cool animals. They move slowly when they're around people. If they don't like what you're doing, they'll gradually ease away from you. Being around them is...soothing. A day later, Dave and I are both what we are now calling "donkey mellow" - that extreme form of relaxedness that is both happy and unflappable.

Sable is waiting for more brushing.
Despite June, and because of donkeys, I am now looking forward to July.