Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday Weird: The Codex Gigas

The largest known ancient manuscript is the Codex Gigas, more famously called “the Devil’s Bible” due to a full-page illustration of the Devil himself and the legends that swirl around the book.

The book is made of more than 160 animal skins and is so huge that it takes 2 people to lift it. It was written in the 13th century A.D., and it currently resides in the National Library in Stockholm, Sweden.

Legend has it that the Codex Gigas was written by a monk. The monk supposedly made a deal with the Devil after being sentenced to death by being walled in alive. The monk wrote the book in a single night (and, of course, the portrait was painted by the Devil himself).

In actuality, though, it would take five years of nonstop labor to write so much and most scholars think it took closer to 30 years.

The contents of the book are as strange as the book itself. It has a full Latin Vulgate Bible, interspaced with several other books, including Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, a collection of medical works by Hippocrates and Theophilus, The Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas of Prague, the Encyclopedia Etymologiae by Isidore of Seville, and other, smaller texts. It also has a text on exorcism, magical formulas, and an illustration of the heavenly city.

No one really knows who wrote the book, or where it came from.

Thoughts or theories?

Monday, April 27, 2015

In Which I Attended AWP

AWP (Association of Writer's Programs) is an annual conference that roams around the country, landing in a new city each year. And this year it was at Minneapolis, so I registered to go.
Also, since I was a student, my registration cost was vastly cheaper than if I wasn't a student, so that was awesome.

AWP was a three day event, running from nine in the morning until after midnight. I'm not even kidding. There was a party on the schedule every night at the hotel that didn't even start until 10.
I, though, am an old person and so I didn't stay out later than 9pm.

The schedule had like 15-20 panels every hour, so sometimes picking what to go see was a bit of give and take. A couple of my MFA friends were there, though, and some of my MN KidLit peeps, too, so there were times when we were sort of able to split up and then reconvene with stories of what we missed.

Going in, I knew that there would be a lot of great panels by the MN KidLit peeps and the Hamline MFAC peeps. On day one I was torn, did I want to go see the panels my friends and teachers were on? Or, because I see them at school, and locally, did I want to take the opportunity to go see panels I couldn't usually see?

Logic won out and I decided on the latter.

That only lasted for one day.

None of the other panels were as good. And I wasn't the only who thought so. Time and again I heard the same story from others, and as the days went on, the Hamline MFA booth at the book fair got busier and busier as more and more people saw the Hamline panels and then decided to check out the program. Which is awesome. The program is amazing and I would love to see more people apply.

But the other panels. I would be so excited about them. They had titles like "What I Wish I'd Known Before My First Book Came Out" (this is timely and relevant to me, since my book will be out in less than a year) or "Women Writing Darkness: Violence, Villains and Unhappy Endings" (I write a ton of violence and I was so excited to see what other women had to say)

The Women Writing Darkness panel was packed. This photo was before it even filled up.
I did come away with this gem of a quite from Kate Acculia:
"No one ever questioned if Walter White should be respected."

But I would get to the panels and they would fail to deliver on the topic at hand. Women Writing Darkness was less a conversation about the problems we face in regards to publishing (women are "supposed" to write "likeable" characters, whereas men can pretty much write whatever they want) and instead was a panel where the panelists just read parts of their books. Which, I mean, I came away wanting to buy their books (which I'm sure is a bonus for them) but with no greater knowledge or understanding of the topic.

And for the first book, panel. Two of the panelists were poets with small houses, which didn't really help me much, and the one novelist on the panel's first book came out in 1979. I wasn't even born, and to say that publishing has changed a bit since then is just a tiny understatement. Also, none of them actually addressed what they wished they'd known, other than "Have a writing group before you submit anything", which, for those of us who had already sold a book (and the panelists took a poll beforehand. There was a large chunk of us) knew, or complaints about how much social media has to do with marketing now.

Anyway, for the TL;DR crowd (and sorry, this post ran longer than I planned) my MN KidLit and Hamline MFA peeps were the highlight of the conference. By the end of the week their panels were standing room only, something I hope the conference organizers took note of.

AWP may come back in 2020, and if it does, I'm going to try to put on my big girl pants and get on a panel or two myself. Because more than once I was a spectator in the audience wishing I had been on the panel because I had things to say regarding the topic at hand.

How about you? What kind of panels do you like to attend when you hit a conference? Something unexpected? Or the tried, yet true, panels of your colleagues?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Fun

It's Friday, Ape-friends, and you know what that means?


It means time to have some Friday Fun! Off we go!








Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Weird: Michael Rockefeller Disappearance

Michael Rockefeller (of the famed Rockefeller family) traveled to New Guinea in 1961 to study the Asmat tribe and their art. Soon after he would disappear, and in 1964 he would be declared dead, though his body was never found. To this day, no one is really sure what happened to him after he was last seen by his friend, Dutch anthropologist Rene Wassing.


On November 17th, 1961, twenty-three year old Rockefeller and Wassing were traveling in a 40 foot canoe three miles off shore with two local guides when their canoe was swamped and overturned.

The two guides swam for help, leaving Wassing and Rockefeller drifting. Help didn't come soon and after two days, Rockefeller turned to Wassing and said "I think I can make it".

By this time they were twelve miles from shore, but Rockefeller left Wassing and swam for shore. Wassing was rescued the next day, but Rockefeller would never be seen again, despite a lengthy and detailed search effort.

There are three prevailing theories as to what could have happened to Michael Rockefeller. The first is that he made it to shore and decided to live out a life in the jungle, either as someone's captive or as a personal choice.

The second is that he either drowned on his twelve mile swim, or was killed by a shark or saltwater crocodile.

Or, finally, that he was killed and eaten by local indigenous peoples, famous for headhunting and cannibalism.

Members of the Ostjanep tribe had been killed in 1958 by a Dutch patrol and there were rumors that members of the tribe had killed Rockefeller as revenge once he swam to shore.


Monday, April 20, 2015

In Which I Win The Arcade And Cross An Item Off The Bucket List

Remember when you were a kid and you'd go to the arcade? (and, I guess this is assuming you're roughly the same age as me, but regardless, if you can't rely on your memories, then use your imagination)

And so you'd play games and some of those games would reward you with tickets when you played well (or maybe not so well). And you'd be so excited and you'd go up to the counter to see what you could get for your tickets?

And it was always something disappointing. Like some taffy. Or a plastic ring, or, like, maybe a slinky if you were real lucky. And behind the counter they would have the high value prize, that would take thousands of tickets. And you'd look at them and wonder what it would take to get one of those most awesome prizes.

Well, I have the answer. It takes you being an adult, your two siblings, a bit of disposable income and about a month of Saturdays.

And if you do that, you too, my friends, can finally cash in enough tickets (though it's all digital now) and get yourself one of those super prizes.

Like a PS4, worth 52,000 tickets.



Monday, April 6, 2015

In Which I'm At AWP This Week

Hey pals!

I'll be at AWP for most of this week, which means no real blog posts (outside of this one) just because I won't be around to check it and stuff.

I'm super excited for AWP, but also already overwhelmed just because it's SO BIG. We're talking like 10 panels every hour for three days big. I don't even know how I'll go about picking what I want to see.

Anyway, I hope you have a great week!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Fun

Woo!! First Friday Fun in April, Ape-friends!

I know we were already technically in spring, but it never really feels like spring until we reach April.
I mean, I know we could still get snow, or even a snow storm up here. But that doesn't matter. It's April, which means the warm weather is likely to stay.

Hello Sun. Let's get reacquainted

Onto the fun!









Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

First Wednesday of the month means it's IWSG.

Co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG will be Suzanne Furness, Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!
And because this is the first day of April, it means a ton of people are taking their first steps on the A to Z blogging challenge. Not me, though. I'm way too busy right now to deal with that. But good luck to everyone jumping in. The month will be over before you know it.

Things have been pretty much same 'ole same 'ole for me lately. Just tying to keep my head down and get as much writing and work done as possible.

It's been really hard trying to juggle writing two books at once, Book 2 for ASSASSIN'S HEART and my MG fantasy for school. I thought I'd be able to work on one in the morning, and one in the afternoon, but that only worked once.

The problem with switching between stories is, it gives me an opportunity to stop writing for the day, which I almost always take. And then throw in other work that needs to be done (revising my critical thesis, revising my picture book) and it's just too easy for me to say "well, I'll work on that story tomorrow because right now I'll revise stuff because that needs to be done too"

Things went a lot better for me when I hit my page goal for the MG fantasy and then was able to completely set it aside and work on Book 2 alone for a week.

So I don't quite know what the solution is yet. I'm hoping things will go better once the thesis is officially done, but I guess we'll see.

How about you? Ever write two novels at the same time, both with deadlines? Have any tips for me?
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