“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”―Yann Martel
EXTRA BUSY LIFE SINCE I MOVED TO CHAPEL HILL IN JUNE. STILL TRYING TO GET THIS BLOG TOGETHER. LOTS OF EDITING AND REVISION TO DO. I’M A LITTLE BEHIND SCHEDULE BUT READY TO START POSTING BEFORE SEPTEMBER 2016. IF YOU DON’T FIND WHAT YOU NEED, PLEASE RETURN IN A FEW WEEKS AFTER I’VE DONE SOME CUSTOMIZING AND EDITING.
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY
Measure and Madness is for fiction and creative nonfiction writers who want to get their stories out of their imaginations and onto the pages of a book or an ebook. Many blogs welcome only certain types of writers and writing. Not here. If you are in the process of writing a novel, short story, or memoir, this is the site for you. If you’re a writer who has not yet started writing, you’re in the right place. Writers from all sexual orientations, gender identities, racial groups, and ethnic groups are encouraged to share their experiences with the creative process or with the publishing industry. If you are a writer, or hope to become one, this is your spot.
So, please feel free to join our conversation if your stories shock readers in order to provide insight into social environments they’ve never experienced. An interesting character can live in the distant past, the present, or the distant future. An interesting character doesn’t have to have ever been alive at all. The only thing that really matters is the way you tell (write) the story. Measure and Madness is about the process of storytelling.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Before we get to the more interesting stuff, I should warn you that this site is NSFW (Not Safe for Work). It’s probably OK to visit during your lunch break—that is if you work in a sports bar, insane asylum, brothel, prison, strip club, or elsewhere in the adult entertainment industry. For most other jobs, use good judgment. My posts, guest posts, and readers’ comments are by and for writers. Occasionally, I’ll post excerpts from a novel, short story, or memoir by an emerging writer. There’s no telling what their characters will say or how explicitly they’ll say it. I’ll never censor writers who have something meaningful to contribute. But if your comments are littered with profanity, I will remove the unnecessary words if I think you’re interesting.
This site is also NSFPWA (Not Safe for People with Word Allergies). If you recoil from certain words the way Dracula backs away from a crucifix, Measure and Madness is probably not for you. Since articles and short stories in The New Yorker, and other literary magazines, cover the spectrum of colorful language, I have no problem accepting that profanity is a part of contemporary America. And if you don’t know how to use profanity effectively, I can help you learn that skill. I can also help you learn when not to use profanity. You don’t want a few unimportant words preventing you from sharing your stories and ideas.
Even though I’m OK with cuss words, I am not OK with insults directed toward individuals or groups. This blog site is not the place to rant about people who are not as perfect as you. If you have a negative opinion of something you’ve read, critique the writing; don’t attack the writer, her second cousin, her dog, or the old country her great-grandfather emigrated from a hundred years ago. There are plenty places online where you can make a hobby out of insulting people. This site is for writers and people struggling to be writers. The very nature of writing means that we will not always agree with one another. We can disagree and still treat one another decently.
Now that we know this site is for grownups and wannabe grownups, I will not accept responsibility should you suffer psychological damage. The best I can do is sincerely hope that your emotional distress gives you something to write about. Experiencing emotional distress might be the best thing that ever happened for you as an emerging writer. So take your chances. You might learn something; you might show us something we would’ve never known without you. And you might enjoy our ongoing conversation.
BETCHA DIDN’T EXPECT ME TO SHOW UP
With madness a keyword, my blog might attract crackpots. I have nothing against crackpots; I’ve been called a crackpot more than several times. I don’t expect writers to be “ordinary.” I don’t expect writers to be any certain way. If you’re a crackpot who can share your craziness in coherent doses, this might be the site you’ve been hoping to find.
Literary snobs and academics are welcome—as long as they don’t expect us to give a shit about their credentials, and they don’t constantly bore us with quotes from Professor Mortimer J. Peabody’s Only Possible Way to Write a Story. I don’t waste my time arguing with snobs or explaining why they are more annoying than regular crackpots. Anyway, literary snobs probably won’t be interested in an ongoing discussion by writers who don’t speak academese and obey every lame writing rule.
Grammar snob itching to fight about dangling participles, comma splices, and misplaced modifiers should do yourself a favor by visiting Grammarphobia, Daily Writing Tips, or Grammar Girl. For the freelance language snobs without a Ph.D. in English or Linguistics I recommend reading Righting the Mother Tongue, by David Wolman. If those resources don’t help you, then Google HOW DO I FIND OUT THAT I DON’T KNOW AS MUCH AS I THINK I KNOW? After you have discovered that you actually do know everything possible to know, please share your limitless knowledge with the rest of us. Maybe you’ll convince us that there really is only one correct way to write a sentence. That could be useful information.
Sarcasm aside, writers always have something interesting to say about writing. And if you are not yet a writer, please feel free to eavesdrop on storytellers chit-chatting about their craft. Your feedback as a non-writers is welcome. After all, the most important people to writers are non-writers—they’re called readers. I hope Measure and Madness helps us all become better writers and get more readers.
Wishing you a happy and purposeful life,