The first story has been published for my new series. Expire explores the difficulty of conversation, conveying meaning, and comprehension.
You can read Expire on your phone using the Medium app. If you’re not familiar with Medium, well, you should be. If you’re like me, you didn’t even realize all the content published on Medium that you were reading at first. There’s both individual writers and publishers who use the platform. The app just lets you explore the content easily on your phone, and it is the only way to read series, such as mine. No, I don’t work for Medium, I just really like the sleek platform and huge community of writers and publishers.
Okay, once you’ve downloaded the app and have my series pulled up, you’ll want to subscribe to updates. Like many apps, just scroll up to make the menu visible. There will be a drop down with an option to subscribe to updates. With this, you’ll get notified whenever a new post for the series is made. It also really helps me because it’s subscriptions that count when it comes to series. (Note: subscribing to my profile on Medium.com/@authorgreene is fantastic and appreciated, but it won’t subscribe you to my series. Each series is subscribed to separately).
To navigate through the series, just swipe left to progress forward, right to progress backwards. The app saves your progress through any series, so you don’t have to read it all at once.
Expect one new dialogue every week of 2018. Click here to check out Dialogues: a Collection of Creative Conversations, and thanks for subscribing.
Hey, bookworms! Thanks for being here. Today is a pretty important day, as I’m announcing the start of my series on Medium—Dialogues: a Collection of Creative Conversations, which can be read using the Medium app. Please subscribe to stay notified whenever the next one comes out! The goal is to post a new dialogue every week in 2018. I’ll also try to keep the blog updated as these roll out.
What is a dialogue? That’s a great question. It’s what Plato and Cicero wrote. . .except that’s not what I’m writing. You could call these dialogue-style short stories. They’re different, fun, and most of them are short. So stop back to check them out or send the app to your phone and subscribe. The first dialogue is scheduled to be published next week. The intro to my series was posted today. I go into more depth about dialogues there.
Outside of my weekly dialogues, I’m still writing that darned novel. I’ve also got some short stories flapping around inside my cranium, so I suppose I’ll need to keep penning those out, if only for a bit of of silence. Let me know what your 2018 writing goals are in the comments below.
I only asked for one book this year, and I ended up with seven. So bookworms, here’s my 2017 Holiday Book Haul:
This 1947 treasury came from my mother-in-law. It has many authors I’ve heard of and a few that I haven’t. Broken into 19th century Europe and America and “Our Time” Europe and America, I feel like some of these authors aren’t known to me not due solely to my ignorance (though some undoubtedly are) but because we simply don’t read them anymore. I like the fact that this book is compiled by a woman, as most of my anthology collections with a single compiler have a male selecting the stories. I’m hoping I’ll find some unique stories in this little book.
I read Robert Fagles translation of the Odyssey a little over a year ago. While I own the Samuel Butler translation and do want to read Robert Fitzgerald’s translation, I’m curious what I’ll find in the first ever female translation of Odysseus’s journey home.
Here’s the first line(s) from Emily Wilson’s translation: Tell me about a complicated man. Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy.
Compare that to the Butler translation: Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after he sacked the famous town of Troy.
And the Fagles translation: Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.
In truth, while I’m only working with first lines, I’m in love with the imagery of the Fagles translation. Wilson’s is the second best, and maybe more “correct” or accurate. But the more truthful hero is not the ingenious one, nor the complicated one (though Odysseus is both ingenious and unarguably complicated), but he is the man of twists and turns. I’ll enjoy the Wilson translation, I’m sure, but hopefully she doesn’t sacrifice too much of the poetic for the sake of accuracy in translation.
Destiny and Desire by Carlos Fuentes was the sole book on my wishlist this year. I heard about it on Michael Silverblatt’s Bookworm radio show. Fun fact: it’s narrated by a decapitated head floating in the ocean. My besite, Mike, bought this baby for me.
My bestie also bought me Le Morte D’arthur by Sir Thomas Malory with original spellings! Seriously, probably my favorite surprise book this Christmas. I can’t wait to jump into it sometime this year.
Here’s a sample from “How Uther Pendragon Gate Kyng Arthur”: Whan hit was delyverde to thes kynges, Ban and Bors, they gaff the godis as frely to theire knyghtes as hit was gevyn to them. Than Merlion toke hys leve of Kynge Arthure and the two kyngis, for to go se hys mayster Bloyse that dwelled in Northhumbirlonde. And so he departed and com to hys mayster, that was passynge glad of hys commynge. And there he tolde how Arthure and two kynges had spedde at the grete batayle, and how hyt was endyd, and tolde the namys of every kynge and knyght of worship that was there. And so Bloyse wrote the batayle worde by worde as Merlion tolde hym, how hit began and by whom, and in lyke wyse how hit was ended and who had the worst.
And you thought you had the worst spelling day ever? It just goes to show that spelling standards do change, so it’s okay if you make a typo or misspell a word or two now and again. In a few hundred years everything you’ve written will look an awful lot like a misspelling or a typo to readers anyway.
LitMag, a new literary magazine. This is their inaugural issue. My lovely wife gave me this book. The picture is a wee bit blurry, so here’s just a few of the famous authors they’re publishing: William H. Gass, Harold Bloom, John Ashberry, and Kelly Cherry. I didn’t check, but I believe they rejected a short story of mine that I submitted at some point in 2016. The wife didn’t know, but that’s okay; it’s not like a rejection would keep me from buying or subscribing myself! I’m taking this magazine to read in my downtime at work.
Old issues of the Iowa Review hold some of my favorite writings. Even long before I lived in Iowa, this was a review I turned too for good prose. And now that I’ve lived in Iowa for a couple of years, it’s about time I picked up this review again. This issue was also a present from my wife.
This last one is also from Libby. No, we don’t have any kids yet, but we hope we will, and the wife wants to make sure I know my colors for when the baby comes. This year I’ll be spending many hours studying how blue is the color of sky and blueberries, how green is the color of peas and frogs, and so on and so forth. I’m just glad she got me a book and not a doll with a changeable diaper, which is just one of many baby-related skills I’ve yet to try my hand at, let alone master.
Let me know what was in your holiday book haul in the comments below. Have a happy new year.
Merry Christmas friends. I hope you had many gifts wrapped with love, if not skill. The picture above is the only gift I attempted to wrap myself this year. It’s a little something for my wife, and it’s a great conversation piece! When Libby saw it she laughed, kissed me, and said, “I love you.”
Have yourself some seasonal cheer, and if you missed it, check out this Christmas story I wrote for a little holiday entertainment. See you all next year!
Sibling rivalry + a house full of drunken swordsmen = a rationale for declaring: “I’ll see you in Christmas Hell!”
If you liked it, you can leave as many claps as you think it deserves. Claps on Medium are similar to LIKES on Facebook, except you can clap up to 50 times. And I appreciate every clap you give. To sign up for Medium so you can comment and clap, just link it to your Facebook or Twitter. I linked mine to my Twitter because one of the founders of Medium actually helped create Twitter, plus I have a larger social media presence there.
There’s lots of great stuff to read on Medium, and chances are you’ve already read some stories or articles published on this platform, which is used by both individual writers and literary publications.
I’ll be posting more stories and other writing on Medium in the future, so get yourself ready to clap by signing up for Medium.
Enter to win a signed copy of Descriptions of Heaven in this goodreads giveaway.
All three contests are being held to celebrate the 1 year publication anniversary of Descriptions of Heaven. This will probably be my last goodreads giveaway due to goodreads’ plans to charge hundreds of dollars to authors who want to give their books away for free. A nominal fee? Sure. Hundreds of dollars? Yeah right; not happening. So hop on over to to the final goodreads giveaway of 2017/ever.
You can find me on goodreads where I frequently list the books I’m reading.
Let me know your 2018 reading plans in the comments!!!
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[THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED]
Enter to win one of three Kindle copies in an Amazon sweepstakes. It takes less than a minute and all you need is a twitter account. Giveaway end Dec. 19, 2017.
BTW, I do have a twitter account. Feel to to follow me.
It’s the one year publication anniversary of my novella Descriptions of Heaven. In celebration, I’m holding a CRAYON COLORING CONTEST.
First, I want to say that the journey from conception all the way to this anniversary has been amazing and harrowing, wonderful and weird, and I want to thank everyone who helped me along the way. Thanks goes to my proofreaders who gave Descriptions of Heaven their time and attention back before they could ever have known that anything more than a dream of a book would come from those papers they readily red-penned. Thanks to all those reviewers who took the time to read an advance copy of my book; I know you all could have said no and picked something else to review. And thanks to everyone who has bought and read a copy of my book. You could easily have put your cash toward something else, so thank you thank you thank you for taking a chance on this practically unknown author and spending a little time with his words.
[THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED WITH NO QUALIFYING ENTRIES MADE]
CRAYON COLORING CONTEST: As anyone who has read the book probably remembers, there’s two scenes where Robert and Natalia’s son, Jesse, uses crayons to color a picture of Billy, the lake monster. For this contest, I want you (or your child!) to send in one full color crayon drawing of the lake monster from Descriptions of Heaven. Deadline is Christmas day.
You may use a pencil for outlining if you wish—though no colored pencils please. We’ll need a clean copy of the picture. A high quality photo or a scanned image will work just fine. Please submit one entry to the pinned post at Facebook.com/RandalEldonGreene. Alternatively, you may email an entry to email@example.com
My wife and I will pick the winner. If you are selected the winner, you’ll get your design on a t-shirt and we’ll also send you a copy of the novella along with the t-shirt (we’ll need your address and shirt size only after you win, FYI). Additional copies of the shirt will be available to purchase online.
So go get yourself some crayons and get to drawing. If you’re not sure what to draw because you haven’t read Descriptions of Heaven yet, you can find it on Kindle, a paperback on Amazon, online at Barnes & Noble, or on the publisher’s website. You can also order it from your favorite local bookstore.
CONTEST NOTICE for the CRAYON COLORING CONTEST
How and what to enter: Submit a photo or scanned image of an original crayon drawing depicting the lake monster from Descriptions of Heaven to the pinned post on Facebook.com/RandalEldonGreene or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Materials: Crayon drawings only accepted (a graphite pencil can be used for outlining purposes). No markers, colored pencil, paints, or digital manipulations please.
Deadline: Latest entries will be accepted Christmas day, ending 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Restrictions: Contest is open to anyone of any age. If under the age of 13, please seek permission or assistance from a parent or guardian. There are no country or nationality restrictions.
Prize: Winner’s prizes are 1) their crayon drawing used on an official t-shirt 2) a free t-shirt in the size they specify and 3) a copy of Descriptions of Heaven.
Entrant agrees to these rules and the full Terms and Conditions here. Entrant agrees that they (or their child or the child to whom they are a guardian of) created the artwork submitted as their entry. Entrant winner agrees that Randal Eldon Greene and/or his Brand have full rights and ownership of submitted material. Entrant agrees that by submitting to this contest, if they are selected the winner, compensation for use of the artwork will only be in the form of the prize as listed above and no cash alternative or further prizes or payments will be given. If selected the winner, entrant agrees to respond within one week to a notification message sent to their Facebook profile or at an email address or to a comment on their contest entry. Winners will be announced within three weeks of the contest end date.
I have a confession to make. About Goodreads. And I’m sure I’m not the only one, but still I feel compelled to confess.
I don’t list everything I read. This might explain why sometimes a single book is listed for a month. It’s often that I’m reading two books in tandem, or I put my first book down and read whole other book before I pick up the first again. I also don’t list certain types of books very often.
This list includes:
nonfiction) I often am reading only chapters or parts which interest me or are relevant to my novel research. Because nonfiction is often not a story with a beginning, middle, and end, I find it easier to put down and not get back to for weeks, years, or ever—these particular nonfiction writings just don’t have any characters or story that makes me need to pick it up again where I left off. An exception would be a book like H is for Hawk.
really old books) To get through a book often means taking it with me to work, to my parent’s place, on picnics, etc. But I can’t do any of that with my really old books. When I do read them, it takes me quite a while since I can only read them at home. (And, of course, because I can’t take it with me, but still need reading material when away from home, I inevitably end up reading one or two other books during the course of enjoying my antique). I might sometimes find a contemporary edition to list online, but I don’t really feel like advertising that it can take me two or three months to finish a book.
poetry) Frequently I read a handful of poems here, a handful there. Especially for poetry anthologies. And I reread my favorite collections in a day or afternoon sometimes. I just don’t feel a need to list the books I sample from or those I reread frequently like I do with my favorite poetry collections.
short story anthologies) This last one I covered in poetry, but it’s equally true for short stories. In fact, this is a great example of why recently Requiem for a Nun by William Faulkner was listed for well over a month.
I had just read Sanctuary by Faulkner. Requiem for a Nun is a sequel to this novel. However, toward the last third of Requiem, I suddenly plunged into reading short story anthologies for over two weeks. I sampled from three different books, none of which I’d read since college. It was great fun getting reacquainted with some of my favorite short stories. . .a lot more fun than Faulkner for sure. There was T.C. Boyle’s “Greasy Lake,” Annie Proulx’s “The Half-Skinned Steer,” and Sherman Alexie’s “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” to name three. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Faulkner at his best and, in fact, the story proper of the novel was fine, that is, the parts of the novel that were written like a play. You see, Requiem is part play and part something else. One of the main characters—Temple— from Sanctuary is also the main character of Requiem. And her parts are written as a play with Faulknerian stage directions and everything. However, the play script proper is punctuated by long passages concerning past characters and history, especially the founding of the town of Jefferson and it’s important buildings.
It’s these passages where I ran into a problem. The first one wasn’t too bad; it was actually quite funny and relatively interesting. But the second and especially the third one were just hard to slog through. They dragged, and I was having little luck connecting these “historical” passages with the play parts.
There is an obvious connection—the setting of each “act” in the play is the focus of each historical passage. But beyond this. . .well, I couldn’t find anything deeper, no thematic current tying the two together beyond simple location.
A part of me thought that perhaps it wasn’t the content or its lack of tie-in with the play portions, but the way it was written. The passages are un-indented, pages-long single sentences that liberally use the semicolon. Even where there are line breaks, the block paragraphs are connected due to the use of a semicolon. To be honest, I like long sentences, but I struggled with these.
So I took a break, read a bunch of short stories, and then came back and finished the whole third in one afternoon. I was left feeling it would have been much better had I just read the play bits and skipped the rest. And what I needed was something in between short story and novel, a good segue to get me back into longer works of prose because my mind was swirling with the form of short fiction, which isn’t really the best for me at the moment beings I’m in the middle of writing a novel. That’s when I remembered Seiobo There Below, a novel by László Krasznahorkai that I’ve heard is more like a short story collection than a novel. It being one a book I bought last year to celebrate the publication of my novel, I picked it, hoping it’d be just what I needed.
Upon starting it, I thought I had made a mistake. Yes, it isn’t much like a novel and is really really like a short story collection. But all the stories have a similar voice. And they’re written in the same way, that is, in un-indented, pages-long sentences that liberally use the semicolon. Yes, it’s written almost exactly like the historical parts in Faulkner’s Requiem. The main aesthetic difference between Requiem and Seiobo is that Krasznahorkai uses a period between line breaks. Beyond this, Krasznahorkai‘s motto that the full doesn’t belong to humans, but to God, is followed to a tee.
Now that I’m approximately halfway through Seiobo, I’m very, very glad I did choose this book. It has shown me that it wasn’t the long sentences which made me seek other writing outside of Faulkner; it was the content itself. Faulkner’s long-ass sentences dragged because the content and style of that content (beyond being long and unpunctuated) was somehow uninteresting. Krasznahorkai’s semicolon-rich sentences push you along, are masterfully written to keep you reading, artfully maintaining a strong story momentum. Seiobo is hard to put down.
So I’ll probably be updating my Goodreads sooner than later to reflect yet another finished novel, or whatever you want to call Seiobo There Below. Or maybe I won’t. Because I might get distracted by another book, or even friends, movies, emergencies. I don’t know. What I will confess is this: I don’t list every book I read on Goodreads.
But if you are curious about what I do list on Goodreads (and sometimes rate. . .very occasionally review), just click the meme below.