What Are You Doing for the Next 30 Days? NaNoWriMo, That’s What

All you fellow writers out there know… tell anyone, anyone at all… the taxi driver, a sales clerk, your grandfather, what you do for a living and 50% of the time you will get  a version of the following: “A writer, huh? You know, I always thought I had a novel in me.” The other 50% of the time, you will get a variation of this response:  “I have always felt my life story would make a great book. I need to write that down soon.”

And who is to say that some of these people DON’T actually have a book inside them? (Well, we are pretty sure the gum-chomping girl at the Abercrombie does not, but then again, this is a real thing in the world.) During the month of November, you can tell those would-be writers, and perhaps yourself, to stop talking about it and really do it.

You will be in good company. NaNoWriMo is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month.  NaNoWriMo is a collaborative effort involving thousands of writers and millions of words.

According to the project’s website, NaNoWriMo is “the world’s largest writing event and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. “There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.”

So what are you waiting for? November 1st is already half over… and you still have 50,000 words to go.


Enlist Your Pet, Win a Kindle Fire!

We’re halfway through October… have you entered eNotes’ competition to win a Kindle Fire yet? It’s easy:

  1. Visit our Facebook page and “like” us (you like me, you really really like me!)
  2. Post a picture on our wall of your pet (or somebody’s pet) reading a classic
  3. Congratulations, you’ve automatically been entered to win a Kindle Fire! (Alright, so this isn’t technically a step but I feel bound to the rule of threes. Don’t judge.)

Need an example? Check out Bubba chilling with Gatz below:

It’s not too late. Enter today!

 


How to Mark National Punctuation Day

Attention, grammarphiles: today is National Punctuation Day!

Commemorated every September 24th, National Punctuation Day is the only holiday in existence to celebrate the wonderful, squiggly world of punctuation marks. In a world where punctuation is rapidly in decline, thanks to texting and trendy writers (ahem, ee cummings and James Frey), this day serves to remind us that “a semicolon is not a surgical procedure,” nor is an ellipsis the moment “when the moon moves in front of the sun.”

Wondering how you can mark this happy day? Unfortunately, NPD isn’t a public holiday (yet). However, there are a few of ways to show your appreciation for all things punctuation-y.

The organizers behind National Punctuation Day hold an annual competition. This year, in honor of the 2012 presidential election, they ask their constituents to elect one punctuation mark as president:

The rules: Write one paragraph with a maximum of three sentences using the following 13 punctuation marks to explain which should be “presidential,” and why: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than once, and there is no word limit. Multiple entries are permitted.

So much for my dark horse vote for the interpunct. Its uses are gravely underrated, if you ask me. Cast your ballot for one of the other hopefuls by visiting the National Punctuation Day website and submitting your thoughts.

The New Yorker‘s Questioningly column is also partnering with NPD for its latest competition. In its post “Punctuation Nation,” Questioningly asks its readers to devise a brand new punctuation mark. The constraints are that it must be made from a combination of two already existing punctuation marks, like the interrobang, for instance (?! or sometimes ‽). The column suggests,

maybe there should be a ,? mark, which indicates slowness and confusion, or a /\, which indicates disingenuous differentiation between two otherwise similar elements. (What?!) Anyway, you get it.

To enter, tweet your suggestion, followed by the hashtag #tnyquestion. You can view all of the current submissions to the contest here.

And if both of those competitions fail you, what else is there to do but sulk at home and bake food in the shape of punctuation marks, right? Yup, National Punctuation Day has a recipe for that.

Bonus Fun:

Haven’t had your fill yet? What a punc you are. This puzzle should set you straight…

Insert the proper punctuation in this sentence necessary to make it correct:

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

Got it yet? Check your answer here. (No peeking!)


The Worst (Fictional) Jobs in Literature

Every week in a competition of wits The New Yorker asks a question of the Twitter-verse. Its most recent contest asked followers to reply to the question, “What’s the worst job in literature?

Although James Joyce’s proofreader appeared several times in the list, most tweeters stuck to the fictional theme. In the end the job The NY found worse than Hamlet’s motivational coach and Jay Gatsby’s poolboy was the winning entry “Narcissus’ girlfriend.” There were, however, so many gems within the bunch that we had to round up a Top Ten for you.

Think your job’s unbearable? Check out the hilarious responses below:

1. Captain Hook’s harpsichord key repairman

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

2. The reception committee for Godot

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

3. The chiropractor of Notre-Dame

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

4. Gregor Samsa’s exterminator

“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

5. Public relations for Lisbeth Salander

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

6. Richard III’s physiotherapist

William Shakespeare’s Richard III

7. Hester Prynne’s stylist

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

8. Huck Finn’s elocutionist

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

9. Ophelia’s swim instructor

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

10. Oedipus’s shrink. Or ophthalmologist.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles


Tableaux Vivants for the 21st Century

“Portrait of Sylvia Von Harden” remake by Stephan Hoffman & SoYeon Kim

“Portrait of Sylvia Von Harden” by Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix

Lest we think we, as “modern” people came up with performance art, here is an idea that is older than our country: the art of Tableaux Vivants.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “tableaux vivants” as a “representation of a person, character, scene, incident, etc., of a well-known painting or statue by one person or a group of persons in suitable costumes or attitudes, silent and motionless.”  Such playful, yet at times, serious, art has been around since at least the mid-18th century. The Italian actor Carlo Bertinazzi performed the “The Village Betrothal in Los Noces d’Arlequin” by Jean-Baptist Grueze for the court at the Palace of Versailles in 1760.

Tableaux vivant “actors” tried to mimic costume, lighting, and theme in order to delight, educate, and inform. These “living paintings” were very popular in the early 19th century when the re-creations were moved from lofty venues like palaces to more humble ones, such as the parlors of affluent Americans. Godey’s Lady’s Book, arguably the most popular and influential magazine of its time, described tableaux vivant as one of the most popular of party activities which also served to “engender a love and appreciation for art.”

Today, actors and artists still seek to create in form what visual artists put to paper. In April, the Adobe corporation challenged students in the UK to create their own tableaux vivant and vie for a 10,000 pound prize. An American website called “Booooom” wanted to participate in the project and asked Adobe for permission to adopt the idea (though not the prize).  Adobe agreed.

Here are just a few of the stunning photographic tableaux vivants. What is truly delightful is the way in which many of the artists do not create a literal homage to the original work, but nevertheless embody its spirit.

Check out ALL the entries here (more accepted until 10/21/11)  and more creative events on Booooom’s  Facebook page.

“Self Portrait 1889″ remake by Seth Johnson

“Self Portrait 1889″ by Vincent van Gogh

“Automata” remake by Or Eitan

“Automata” by Edward Hopper

“Narcissus” remake by Max Zerrahn

“Narcissus” by Caravaggio


The First Annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The University of Alabama is pleased to announce a new award for legal fiction in honor of one of its most famous residents and former students, novelist Harper Lee. In 1960, Lee’s first (and only) novel To Kill a Mockingbird was published, to both popular and critical acclaim. Since that time, TKAM has become of staple of both high school and college curriculums.

The “Prize will be given to the published book-length work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society, and their power to effect change.”

Unfortunately, even if you have the next great legal thriller sitting in your desk drawer or on your flashdrive, consideration for this award will only be given to works published (with an ISBN number) in 2010. But hey, it’s an annual award, so maybe next year!

For full details on the Prize, including how to vote and who will judge, please click here.


Win a Year’s Supply of Bacon From eNotes!

eNotes free year of bacon supplied by baconfreakSure, we are pretty fond of Sir Francis around here, but nothing beats a sizzling pan full of the other white meat. In honor of every college student’s favorite food, eNotes is giving away a year’s supply of bacon. That’s right. A YEAR’S SUPPLY OF BACON from BaconFreak will be delivered to your doorstep, and we’ll also throw in a 1-year premium membership to eNotes.

eNotes has always helped you with your grades by providing great study guides and a free Q&A forum. Now we want to help you out with your breakfast by giving away a 12-month subscription to BaconFreak.com’s “Bacon is Meat Candy” Bacon of the Month club. Check out the gloriousness here.

Wanna win? All you have to do is post on your Facebook page why you need eNotes.com and BaconFreak.com to help you bring home the bacon this school year, making sure to @ tag the event so we know you entered! (Or you can just write it on our wall.)

Don’t know how to tag? Just type an “@” in your status update, and then type “bring home the bacon.” If you don’t tag us, we can’t see your entry, and the bacon can’t be sizzling in your kitchen!

An example of tagging:

I need @eNotes.com and @bacon freak to help me @bring home the bacon. For free, cuz I have five roommates. And bacon is the breakfast of champions.

We’ll randomly select a winner next Friday (September 17)! Good luck!


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