Mussels and Manporiums in Portsmouth

I had a critique session this morning on a partial story I submitted.  Pain has never felt so good.  I  was able to elicit a fairly strong emotional reaction to my story–if one considers uniform massive confusion an emotion.  There were some great suggestions.  A few of the guys pointed out that my action/fight scenes were rubbish (Not in such words of course; they are always graciously kind).  I agree completely.

Overall, I knew this piece had problems, but it was great to have some feedback and direction.  It’s now almost the end of my third week at Odyssey, and I still feel absolutely blessed and awed to be working with a group of such talented, dedicated and insightful people.  And Jeanne.  Jeanne is an amazing fountain of knowledge.  Although she much prefers the title of Overlord.

Yesterday, we went to Portsmouth to see Neil Gaiman, but we also got to explore downtown Portsmouth.  It was a charming town.  The people were all very friendly.  One very nice woman gave me a free ticket to see Neil Gaiman.

Our Adventure began at the beach. It was rainy but we didn’t care.

Some places to Note:

The Portsmouth Brewery.  Fantastic selection of beers and their mussels are TO DIE FOR.  I had a glass of Mottley Crew’s Old Ale and the Ale House mussels which are perfectly cooked fresh mussels in a blond ale sauce with garlic, oregano and something else.  Drool.  Tanith tried the spicy curry mussels, which I thought was a weird combination, but it turned out to be delicious.

Afterwards, the coffee shop to enjoy caffeine and lovely downtown Portsmouth.

And on the walk, we found a Manporium, where they sell murses (man purses) for manscaping metrosexuals.

The group of people there were all heading to see Neil Gaiman.  It was a full house.

Must get back to work now.  I have a flash fiction piece to write for Saturday and three critiques to type up.

Neil Gaiman


Four gals played hooky today.  But it was totally worth it to see Neil Gaiman.  He was charming, funny and loved by the audience. He read some selections of American Gods.  Fantastic experience.

Favorite Nel Gaiman quotes of the night:

Regarding writer’s block and how he feels that it is a fabricated conspiracy created by writers.  Only writers have a clever term for “I can’t move forward with my work right now”.

“We only have writer’s block because writers are very clever.”

And regarding his appreciation of libraries and librarians:

“Google can bring you a billion answers, but a librarian will bring you the right one.”

More to come tomorrow when I’ve had more than two hours of sleep…

Yes, the blob of light is indeed Neil Gaiman.

Garlic Butter: No Excuses Required

In class this morning, we learned some finer points about POV.  Among other things, we learned about how 99% of the time first person is not the right choice for POV.  Too much telling and little showing.

After class Natalie and I sequestered ourselves in the library until six.  We both have a story due Wednesday morning.  And Wednesday evening–Neil Gaiman in Portsmouth! Eeee!!

For dinner, Natalie boiled artichokes and Tanith made a Mexican casserole.  We each had our own bowls of fatty delicious garlic butter to soak our artichokes in before devouring the tiny fleshy bits at the end.  Mmmm…Garlic Butter.

Dinner and Critiques

On the writing front–Fortunately, my story has finally taken shape.  Unfortunately, I had to scrap nearly 5000 words to do it.  I’m thinking this story is going to be about 6000 words, so I have about 4000 more words, give or take, until this story is complete.  Type fingers type!

This Saturday is going to be the Odyssey Barnes and Noble Slam in Nashua.  I still have to create a piece of flash fiction to read aloud.  No pressure.  None at all.

And finally, my dad, showing off his Father’s Day gift.

I think he likes his tie.

Dragon’s Egg, Bag Making and X-Men

It has been a lovely Sunday.  The morning was spent on writing and critiques and the afternoon on cleaning and exercising.  We all decided to reward ourselves with a nice dinner and a movie.  We went to a very nice Italian Restaurant.  But while my fellow Odyssians (is that a word?) were rather pleased with their meals, I found my ceasar salad to be slightly lacking.  I wouldn’t mind so much if they had not explicitly printed that their dressing was authentic, which I took to mean anchovies mashed with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan cheese.  It wasn’t.

On the bright side, X-Men was pretty awesome.  There was some cheesy dialogue, and I mentally critiqued the storyline throughout the movie, BUT it was still a satisfying movie.  I’m a sucker for those stories about people coming together and bonding over a common goal.  And poor Professor X.  He doesn’t even know yet that baldness is inevitable.

My Dragon’s Egg.  (It’s actually a goose egg rock from Goose Egg Beach in Maine.  Given to me by the very nice copy center lady when I expressed my obsession for Maine.  Dragon’s egg is much more interesting though.)

I wonder when this egg will hatch?

Bag Making Machine from the early 1900’s.

A most intriguing hunk of metal.

And finally, the Odyssians who played hooky for the evening.  One can only take so much of Cyclops and Lotus Eaters.

Alrighty.  Gotta get back to lost queens, avenging warlords and other such typical things.

Moments pass too quickly.

I decided to start this blog tonight, this very minute, because I realized that moments pass by too quickly. As much as I wish to hold each second of the day and savor it to its fullest, sometimes a single day passes in the blink of an eye, leaving me to wonder if I have made the most of my time.

I’m currently on a fantastic journey, pun intended.  I’m at Odyssey Workshop at Saint Anselm college in New Hampshire, learning the finer points of writing fantastic fiction. I feel as though the days have picked up speed and I don’t want to forget a single moment of this epic journey.  Already it had been two weeks, and my classmates and I are left wondering where the time has gone.  Between classes, critiques, readings, assignments and writing our own stories–our days are busy from the moment we wake up until we fall into bed exhausted at night.

So far, I have loved every moment of this journey.  For me, Odyssey has  been more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.  The chance to work with people who are just as dedicated and passionate about writing is a dream come true.  My classmates come from all around the United States, Canada, Sweden and Australia.  So far, they have managed to surprise me everyday through with their astute critiques, beautiful and distinctive writing, and delirious humor.  It’s sometimes hard to believe that we are all sober during all of these conversations.  Perhaps we’re simply drunk on excitement.

Since it’s Saturday, most of us felt relatively safe to leave our dark corners and our overworked laptops to venture forth and seek some food together.  We went to Lakorn Thai off Main Street and I was pleasantly surprised.  The food was decently good and the people who served the food were actually Thai.  As a whole, food in Manchester has been pretty good, although I’ve had Chinese and Mexican food in the past week that was thoroughly Americanized.  There is also a place walking distance from my dormitory/apartment called Nadeau’s that has amazing sandwiches.  You can never go wrong with their meatball sub.

Before dinner, my roommate and I struck off to the air-conditioned Reading Room on campus to write.  We were able to get a fair amount done, but we also missed the trip to the comic shop.  One roommate found out that Neil Gaiman will be in Portsmouth next Wednesday.  Eeeeeee!!!  We’ve already decided to make a date of it.

The roommates and I spent some time on the front porch writing and watching the thunderstorm pass through.

And now… I have procrastinated long enough.  Back to writing my short epic fantasy.