Posts Tagged ‘cindy pon’

I was considering posting another Completely Random Crap Teaser today, but then Cindy Pon brought up the movie Bright Star, which she saw recently.  That got me thinking of John Keats, dead so young, and that in turn made me think about the very idea of my Random Crap folder, from which spring all these Random Crap Teasers.

Negative Capability

Negative Capability

Keats was the one who put forth the idea of Negative Capability, which entails people being able to accept and embrace the fact that not everything can be resolved.  The ability to exist comfortably in the presence of uncertainty and the unknowable.

That is at the heart of my Random Crap folder.  It is a collection of ideas that bows before  pragmatic reality: they cannot all be written.  When I put a story file into the Random Crap folder, I acknowledge that in all likelihood I will never finish it.  For every idea plucked out of the folder and written to some form of completion, another dozen have crawled into that dark cavern to languish, perhaps never to see the light of day again.

I am okay with that.  It’s the nature of writing.  If I dropped dead today, killed by boredom at a departmental meeting, I would never get to work on those ideas.  I would never do final revisions on THIRTEEN.  I would never finish a first draft of HORNBEAM.  I would never find out why Axyl Witt has a daughter named Ninja.

Are you okay with that?  When you read my Random Crap Teasers, does it trouble you to know that they’re scraps of some larger work that only exists in my brain?  Do you lie awake at night worrying about the stories in your Random Crap folder?  Do you try to imagine what would happen if you died before finishing your magnum opus?

Keats opined that a person who possessed Negative Capability was a “Man of Achievement,” but I suspect it’s just a matter of type.  There are people who require resolution and people who don’t.  Some people are okay with books that end uncertainly.  Others prefer that all the questions be tied up in the last chapter.  Different genres even cater to that dichotomy.  Those who like all the ends tied up perhaps prefer murder mysteries and romances.  Those of us who don’t perhaps prefer literary or oddball books not easily classified.

As for the writers who die before they complete the next book in a series, you can find a glaring absence of Negative Capability in the people they leave behind.  Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien, and Douglas Adams have all been raised from the dead to assuage the readers who don’t hold with Negative Capability. (And more likely to satisfy the publishers who own the rights.)

As for me, I would have to decline.  Even if offered a posthumous sequel to such beloved and ambiguously-ended books as Invisible Man and Maurice, I would prefer to embrace my Negative Capability.

How about you?

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If you’re a curmudgeon like me, you probably occasionally run into people who are so positive and friendly and sweet and helpful that you’d just like to ring their necks.

Then there are those rare people who are just so nice you can’t bring yourself to hate them, no matter how early in the morning it is, no matter how perky their cheerleading ways are.

Silver Phoenix

Silver Phoenix

Cindy Pon is one of those people, which is why it’s nice that her writing dream is coming true.  Today is the official release date for her first novel, a young adult Asian fantasy titled Silver Phoenix.  (Now I’m a little worried about the Googling fall-out of “adult Asian fantasy,” but I’ll soldier on.)  I’d be telling you all about her book here, but I haven’t read it yet.  My local bookstore just called me last night to tell me it was in, so I go pick it up tonight after work.  In lieu of that, I’ll talk a little more about Cindy.

She’s the evil genius mastermind behind the Absolute Write Purgatory thread, where a bunch of writers have been gathering for the last year to commiserate as they wait to hear from agents, editors, and publishers.  Cindy’s initial wait is over, but she goes on being supportive and helpful to everyone else who’s still in the trenches.

Here’s how nice Cindy is: to celebrate her release day she’s holding a contest to give away one of her original framed brushpaintings (and a copy of her book) or a bookstore gift card for those who aren’t fans of her work. (See what I was saying about the niceness factor?)  So, be sure to check out her contest.  And check out her book trailer.  I used to be a bit suspicious of book trailers, but now that I know how little this cost her and how amazing it looks, I think I’ve been converted.

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