Monday, March 26, 2012

Phone Booths as Libraries

Perhaps phone booths won't entirely disappear from the scene after all.   In both the United States and Britain, some people think they make good libraries. The Committee Room isn't so sure.  
Check out (no pun intended) these articles --  

Repurposed Phone Booth Library in NYC. Designboom. February 2012 (photo above).

Image from Mystery Fanfare

Red Phone Box Turned into Little Eaton Village Library. BBC News (Derby). December 31, 2011 (photo at left).

Monday, March 19, 2012

TCR's List of Ten Overused Phrases

Master the use of these phrases and begin your career as a pundit --

I would argue
That said
Moving forward
Quite frankly
Game changer
At the end of the day
Crunch time
Wake up call
Red flags
Get it right

To put it another way -- "Quite frankly, I would argue, this is a wake up call.  The red flags were ignored. It's crunch time.  That said, moving forward, this will be a game changer and at the end of the day, we've got to get it right."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TCR Story of the Month for March: "Paradise" by Jean Ryan

The Committee Room is thrilled to offer Jean Ryan's "Paradise" as its Story of the Month for March. A brightly told tale of a woman making a new life in Palm Springs after a failed romance in Vermont, "Paradise" is an emotionally truthful and often laugh out loud funny look at human (and animal  -- love that parrot!) nature.

Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Napa, California. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Other Voices, Pleiades, The Summerset Review, The Massachusetts Review and Blue Lake Review. She has also published a novel, Lost Sister (2005). A collection of her short stories will be published by Ashland Creek Press in 2013.

"Paradise" was published by Blue Lake Review (November 2011) and previously appeared in The Massachusetts Review.

To read "Paradise" click here

TCR Story of the Month highlights an outstanding work of fiction published online in the preceding twelve months.

TCR Chats with Jean Ryan

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Since I was a child. I’ve had dry periods that lasted more than a year, but inevitably I am pulled back. Translating ideas and experience into words is how I make sense of the world. Finding the right phrasing is a tremendous challenge—like tuning a musical instrument, perhaps: one just knows when the right chord has been struck. This intuitive knack may be the one thing that can’t be taught in writing classes. Humor, another element I strive for, is also challenging. Like other aspects of composition, it is best approached from the side. Jean Thompson does humor very well.

Q: What was the inspiration for “Paradise”?
A:  I had watched a program about intelligence in birds, parrots in particular. One bird had acquired a prodigious vocabulary and this stirred my imagination. I thought it would be fun to work this creature into a story, to use him in fact as a main character. In order to create conflict, the parrot in this tale is malicious as well as brilliant. The extravagance of Palm Springs, its artificial overlay, seemed an apt parallel to the various indulgences that Max enjoyed in his man-made abode.

Q: Who are some of your favorite contemporary writers? 
A: I love the immediacy and brevity of short stories and some of my favorite contemporary authors are masters of this form. Among many others, I admire the work of Lorrie Moore, Helen Simpson, Amy Bloom, Antonya Nelson, Jean Thompson, James Lasdun, Marisa Silver, Annie Proulx, Rick Bass and Joy Williams. Russell Hoban’s Turtle Diary is one of my favorite novels, along with J. L. Carr’s A Month in the Country and Rhine Maidens by Carolyn See. In the genre of poetry, I am in constant awe of Mary Oliver

Q: Favorite classic authors?
A: Virginia Woolf of course. And Anton Chekov. Graham Greene is wonderful, along with George Orwell, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee and E.M. Forster. I also admire Paul Bowles and the eerie suspense he was able to create. My favorite Hemingway work would have to be A Moveable Feast. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is an exquisite novel.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hear Authors Read Their Work on The Writers' Block Podcasts

A decade or so ago, even unknown authors often found themselves on publisher-funded promotional tours.  Bookstores worked overtime to keep up with busy schedules of reading/signing events for authors passing through town. Those days are gone but we can now console ourselves with podcasts.  Hear the voices of contemporary authors of both fiction and non-fiction at The Writers' Block, an impressive series of podcasts put out by KQED, San Francisco's NPR/PBS outlet.  Writers can also submit their own work to the series.  The focus is on younger writers so you're likely to encounter some new, interesting voices.