Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It's Wednesday.

Besides pointing out the obvious, I will also use this post to talk about revisions, or re-visions as I call them.

When you break up the word revision, you literally have "re-vision", which is a good way to look at what you're about to do to your book, poem, screenplay, essay, etc. You've written a first draft. Huzzah. Now it's important to imagine this draft, only better. Imagine all the things it could be, rewrite what doesn't work, and adapt your original vision to something that conveys your message more concisely than before. And repeat this process multiple times.

Last year, I had a professor that had a good point about revising. She said to look at a first draft of a piece of writing as a house with a partially collapsed roof.

When partially collapsed roofs are rebuilt, the WHOLE ROOF is rebuilt. Otherwise, there's no way of knowing if the undamaged part of the roof is structurally sound.

So, basically, when you rewrite anything, it's a good idea to rewrite THE WHOLE THING. This idea works better for poems and short stories than for novels, of course. For novels, it's important to be dedicated to every. Single. Word.

Does any of this make sense? I hope so!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Markers of Time Forgotten" by Dara Sorensen

It's time for Poetry Tuesday! On this particular Tuesday, Dara has been brave enough to submit her own poem for critique! Yay Dara!

So, let's all leave some nice, helpful comments for her.

"Markers of Time Forgotten"
by Dara Sorensen

Deep within an ageless forest
Where light and sound doth fade,
The passage of time seems to stem
To those who tread this glade.

Within this dell between time’s weeds,
Covered by countless years
Four faded gravestones catch the eye
A sight that one reveres.

Beneath a tree with sprawling roots
A tall white marker stands—
Enshrouded in a veil of moss,
Reflecting a life once grand.

Another stone stands tall within
The regal marker’s wake.
The only words that do remain:
“The Lord my soul doth take.”

Yonder within the shaded grove,
Two smaller stones still lie—
Akin in size, shape and shade
The two sit side by side.

One little stone is chipped and cracked,
A victim of the years.
The other fares little better,
Erased by heaven’s tears.

Four lonely graves within the grove,
Abandoned to the past.
Bygone memories, cherished lives—
Forgotten oh so fast.

Our lives are but a moment now
On this temporal sphere.
Seasons pass and memories fade
Relics of yesteryear.

These four stones will surely crumble
As time and years pass by.
But these four lives will surely wake
With the final trumpet’s cry.

Great work, Dara! This is a nice narrative poem, but I think you got a little caught up in the rhyme scheme in some parts and focused less on content of the actual lines. Otherwise, this is an excellent piece, one that sounds like it could be part of a book!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Resident Expert: Florence + the Machine

Happy Friday, ya'll! I was considering writing about Speak and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, since I just finished reading them this week, but I think they need a little more time to stew in my brain. So let's have something happy!

I can't remember how I became addicted to Florence + the Machine, but I found this song/video a few months ago, and I wanted to BE Florence.* Still do.

I can watch that video over and over and never grow sick of it; it's simple and beautiful. She seems so energetic and passionate... and I TOTALLY dance just like that (Sometimes. Crazy times.)!

Why wasn't I born as a crazy-talented British redheaded singer? The world will never know.

Another fave:

Hear any good music lately?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

* I do know I didn't find her from the "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Eclipse" soundtracks, but I'm glad she's gaining so much popularity!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"White Knuckles" Music Video

I've decided today is a video day.

Have you seen the new OK Go video yet? No?

We need a remedy! Stat!

And there were dogs! Everyone wins.

Well, except for anyone who is allergic to dogs like I am.

I lose.

But wait! I just added tabby pages to the top of my blog!

Tabby pages= WIN!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Writing Progress

Me: Progress? What progress?

Other Me: Writing progress. You know, like the title of this post says.

Me: *squints* Oh. Did I just write that?

Other Me: Yes!

Me: Okay! Don't get your panties in a twist.

Other Me: You mean your panties.

Me: OUR panties.

Other Me: Can we please stop talking about panties?

Me: Yeah, this is getting weird.

Other Me: Just talk about your writing progress for The Quiet Calling and I'll leave you alone.

Me: Well, I've read over all my critiques...

Other Me: AND?!

Me: *in tiny voice* ... and revised the first chapter?

Other Me: *sigh* You're never going to finish revising this draft before November.

Me: Shut up! I totally will. But first, let me make this Wordle...

Wordle: Untitled (link will make it bigger and clearer, promise!)

Other Me: Stop goofing around!

Me: Fine. Don't get your-

Other Me: ENOUGH!!! I'm leaving you!

Me: See if I care!

There's a lot of echo space in my brain now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I'm thinking that I should make Tuesdays "Poetry Tuesday" from now on. Why? Because they both have "e" as a third letter.

And because my creative writing class has gotten me thinking about it.

Here's a poem I liked from class. It's simple and understandable, but the imagery is beautiful.

"What Makes the Grizzlies Dance"
By Sandra Alcosser

June and finally snowpeas
sweeten the Mission Valley.
High behind the numinous meadows
ladybugs swarm, like huge
lacquered fans from Hong Kong,
like the serrated skirts
of blown poppies,
whole mountains turn red.
And in the blue penstemon
grizzly bears swirl
as they bat snags of color
against their ragged mouths.
Have you never wanted
to spin like that
on hairy, leathered feet,
amid the swelling berries
as you tasted a language
of early summer? Shaping
the lazy operatic vowels,
cracking the hard-shelled
consonants like speckled
insects between your teeth,
have you never wanted
to waltz the hills
like a beast?

So, Poetry Tuesday... yay or nay? I could feature my own poems for critique, even some of yours if your brave enough!

Monday, September 20, 2010

SPEAK Loudly

I'm going to upfront admit that I haven't read the book Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, and also that that is a crime I'm about to fix.

If you haven't already heard, Speak is under attack for being "pornographic", "filthy" and un-Christian. Here's Laurie's retaliation.

Once again, I have not read this book, but it isn't because I'm too afraid of things that are scary and true, like book censors would have me believe. I'm honestly shaking with rage right now. How DARE anyone take away and individual's Constitutional rights? How does that "protect" anyone? Yes, censorship is in place to "protect" the young, but no book should ever be banned out of fear of new or different thoughts.

True, I've heard that Speak has rape scenes. Like Laurie says, this should not be considered pornographic. If anyone's offended by it in some way, they can certainly walk away from the book, maybe even tell their friends they don't like it, but don't ban an entire school system from reading a book otherwise beautifully written!

My own book, The Quiet Calling, has delicate subject matter. Knowing that in the future, if it's ever published, it could be banned.... I can't help but cry.

I'm going to go find a copy of Speak right now and I'll be one more person that isn't afraid of the unknown.

ALSO: Lisa and Laura Roecker are donating a copy of the book to a library or classroom for every 25 comments left on THIS post. Go comment now!

(Sorry this post is all ranty and incomprehensible. Book banning does that to me.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Resident Expert: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

*runs onto Internets*

Whew! I almost didn't make it to Resident Expert Friday!

But I did, so everyone can calm down now so we can greet our very special guest.

Everyone ready?

I present to you....



I admit, for a while I only thought of him as "that kid from that show about aliens or something", but after "500 Days of Summer"...

... LOVE.

But, I mean, Zooey Deschanel + hot guy = <3. style="display: block; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 240px; height: 200px;" src="" alt="" border="0">

I haven't seen "Inception" yet, but this makes it seem promising:

Enough of my blabbling. Let's get to the good stuff!

Look, he dances!

Also, he's in some steam-punky, high-falutin' languagey short films I recently found.

Ahh, what a nice Friday.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Today is a SUPER DUPER busy day for me, so in lieu of being witty and charming, I'm giving you guys some clips from "Friends"!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WiP Wednesday

It is Wednesday, right?



First, I must remind everyone to give me vlog ideas if you want my vlog next week to be super awesome! You have until Friday, so make your voice heard!

And now for WiP Wednesday!

Okay, I'll admit I haven't written in a while.

*dodges staplers*

Hey! I've been busy (and I'm the Queen of Lame Excuses) and I've been trying to give The Quiet Calling a little space before jumping into revisions again. As of now, my goal is to have a good draft finished before November so I can maybe-possibly-I'm-thinking-about-it enter National Novel Writing Month again this year.

So, instead of sharing my writing today, I thought I'd share the things I've been using to inspire me to start writing again.

First, I watched "For a Few Dollars More" this past weekend.

This is a great Western and I really loved the towns they traveled through. It gave me a lot to think about!

I also love Clint Eastwood when he was in his 30s. Such a great voice. So handsome.

Then, I've been listening to this song by Ray LaMontagne on repeat.

It's SOOOOO August (character from the book) that it tears me apart. Seriously. It makes me a mess.

Anyways, what have you guys been working on? Anything inspire you lately?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In Which You Give Me Vlog Ideas

I have a vlog in the works guys, I swear, but I want to make another one for ya'll while you wait for it. So...

What do you want to see me do in a vlog? Sing? Dance? Dramatic reading of something terribly written?

YOU CHOOSE! Tell me what to do, peeps! And if you do, I promise I won't call you "peeps" anymore.

My only rules are I won't do anything violent, illegal, or disgusting.

You have until Friday because I'll probably film it over the weekend.

In the mean time, here's my last vlog (from April):

It's silly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Classic Movies

When you read the phrase "Classic Movies", what comes to mind?

No right or wrong answer here, just curious.

There can be a couple of interpretations. For example, I think of "Gone with the Wind", "Casablanca", and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", just to name a few.

This could be because when I think of classic books, I think of books like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, and Crime and Punishment. Other classics may be books I happen to enjoy extremely well, but not necessarily "classic" in the strictest sense of the word (which is defined as of the first or highest quality).

Why am I babbling about all this, you wonder?

Well, I got to thinking this weekend as I was watching "Gone with the Wind", do people my age watch movies like this? Are we supposed to enjoy "old" movies? I mean, they're only about 70 years old. We read books older than that all the time, although not everyone enjoys doing so.

Basically, my main question is this: Will future generations watch "Gone with the Wind"?

Maybe my grandchildren will just wait until it's remade. Or maybe they'll have some strange technology that lets them watch movies on the inside of their eyelids. I have no idea.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Resident Expert: Suckiness

This is an old video (from, like, February) but I'm posting it for three reasons:

1. Maureen Johnson is awesome.

2. This video contains good advice.

3. My WiP sucks.

So, for those of you that haven't seen it, I humbly present DARE TO SUCK!!!

I, Mariah Irvin, give myself permission to suck.

What about you?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blogger Dilemma

Question to all bloggers that are more technologically gifted than I am:

Why can't I comment on certain sites using my Google account? Or even my name and web address for that matter? Is it me? *cries*

For example, I can't post a comment on Jon's blog. This was very frustrating yesterday when I was trying to proclaim my love the Freelance Whales.

I've definitely been reading all your blogs, my bloggy friends, but until I can figure all this out I can only comment on a few. Sorry!

Here, have some love:

I... can't... tear.... eyes... away....

*bobs head*

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Poetry. Oh Noetry.

I'm in a Creative Writing class this semester and we've started out with writing poetry, otherwise known as that which I fail at.

Sure, I can appreciate poetry. I'll read it and analyze it all day long until the BenBarnes comes home (What?! You think I'm going to be waiting on a bunch of smelly cows?).

When I write it, however, it becomes a black hole of suckiness.

I'm over exaggerating, but not by much.

I think the big part of my struggle with poems is the length. Every. Single. Word. Counts. Yes, the same rule applies for all writing, but I feel more self-conscious about my word choice when they just dangle around on the page trying to hold multiple meanings.


Okay, whinyness over. It really is an excellent class and I can't wait until I get to write fiction. For now, I'll just pretend that Chris Martin of Coldplay is crooning my poetry like song lyrics.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

*is laughing her head off*

The drummer in this video....

That's all I can say without bursting into laughter.

And the really awesome part is he never missed the beat.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Will this excerpt redeem my absence?

I'm back in the blogosphere for reals this time, you guys. PINKY SWEAR. I'll even be dropping by other blogs to say hi.

Blows your mind, don't it?

Anywho, I've been in a writing funk lately. Sure, I love The Quiet Calling but things haven't really been clicking.

Until this past weekend, that is.

I had a MAJOR epiphany.

*salutes Major Epiphany*

So, in celebration of this epiphany, and of my FOR REALS return to the blogosphere, I'm posting an excerpt today.


Yep, it's true. Excerpt time!

From what I've gathered, a lot of you guys seem to like August (the character, not the month) so this excerpt is for all of you.

Just a little background: Jane Hawkes, the MC, ran away from home in the beginning of the book to a town called Silver Creek, where August Phoenix works as a doctor's apprentice. They got into an argument the night before this scene. Let's see what happens.

She walked back towards the saloon at a slow pace; it was about a half mile from the church, but she didn’t mind the walk. Other young ladies might have worried about walking by themselves, but Jane wasn’t. She wasn’t even surprised to see August fall into step with her out of the corner of her eye. He had been waiting for her near the tanner’s shop and caught up to her when she walked by.

“I knew you would try to make a getaway,” he said to her while they walked.

Jane didn’t respond. She continued to look at the path ahead of her and ignore the presence by her side.

So they walked. The sun was beginning to grow hot, but neither one of them mentioned it. The left side of Jane’s body resembled that of a rag doll; her broken arm hung by her side, but if she had any pain she didn’t discuss it. She looked very fragile to August, but he knew that she was far from it. That fact had been proven the previous night when she yelled at him.

Jane felt her anger towards him receding as they walked farther and farther. Then she remembered that she was going back to the saloon, and later to visit with Strickland. These thoughts were more than she could handle.

August stopped walking when he felt her absence. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

She sighed. “I don’t want to go back.”

“What do you mean?” he stayed where he was, but let his curiosity show.

“You might not know much about me, but you know how much I hate being a saloon girl,” she explained. “Also, I’m exhausted.” Then she sat. Right in the middle of the road. She sat in the middle of the dusty dirt road in a dress that didn’t belong to her. Then she lay down fully, determined to stay there until Mrs. Slate came to marry her off the Strickland. Her hair was in a tight bun, which hurt her head as she lay on the ground, so she let her hair out to mingle with the earth.

August let his mouth gape. Did she really just lie down in the middle of the road? This girl never ceased to surprise him.

And he hoped it would stay that way.

He lay down next to her.

They both closed their eyes and let the sun warm them.

Jane’s mind relaxed and she decided not to be angry at August anymore. He was probably the only one in town that was willing to help her, besides his uncle.

“August, I’m not angry at you anymore,” she stated matter of factly, eyes still closed.

“What made you change your mind?” he asked, skeptical of her sudden change of mind.

She propped herself up on her good arm to face him. When his eyes opened to look up at her, she said, “Because you’re laying in the middle of the street with me.”

He cracked a smile. He couldn’t help it. He was lying in the middle of the street with a beautifully stubborn girl.

Wow, I just realized that was kind of longish for a blog post. Apologies!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Resident Expert: Workspace

I have this awesome bulletin board hanging over my desk.

Inspiring, right? Also covered with my favorite guys and cuteness.

What does your workspace look like?

(Also, sorry for the lameness of this RE. I'm still settling into school, picking up and dropping classes and such. Next week should be dasaloff).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Do Not Read List

Aren't you tired of hearing about all the awesome books you need to read? How about all the books you should avoid?

Brought to you by a sad, sad girl without her copy of Mockingjay. And Jimmy Fallon.