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Archive for February, 2013

Good news.

TITAN OTHERS is gaining momentum. It’s becoming a Thing. 

In a blog comment, writer-comrade Katie Booms wrote a stunningly lovely response to my post on TITAN OTHERS  from earlier this month, and I think you’ll agree it deserves a blog of its own. 

***

Katie’s comment:

I am going backwards, filling in. The MFA was two years when I was surrounded by the fascinating and the fascinated (writers), where there was almost too much energy and sequestered-group-proximity not to be encouraged by each other. Or deadlines.

I: was sitting in my room.

I: was between the public and the university library, mapping the decimal systems.

I: was listening.

I, was slow.

Now I am going backwards. I am part of a group, a small group, and we are asking questions, we are giving and receiving challenges, we are getting recommendations. We are experimenting. We are supporting. We are pushing.

I… was so full of writing, so desperate to get writing out of me.

We are a breed, who have to make our way. We take our greatness and our wild longingness and our small, old godliness and our excessive taste, and we must make out of it.

Whatever other. Titan other. In making we are other. At our heights we are titan.

***

You said it, Katie. Say more, anytime. 

For reference, my TITAN OTHERS blog (which you can read in its entirety here):

I think being TITAN OTHER is about answering a “calling” that’s never actually called. The calling to be an artist, and to participate in the world as an artist—which is to be OTHER, in all-caps.

It’s about claiming identity.

It’s about honoring instinct.

It’s about huge, titanic commitment.

It’s also about responsibility—that we owe it to ourselves and each other to do our art, and to do it the way only we can, and as well as we can.

Being a writer means working alone most of the time, on stories that often take 1-3 years to finish, spending a lot of time thinking about those stories (even when I’m nowhere near a computer), and rarely being in the same room with anyone who knows what that’s like. For me, it also means being 28 with two degrees and making five times less than my husband—and sometimes feeling a tad insecure about that (though the insecurity’s self-generated).

This is a place where people do a Thing and make money from that Thing. These are the laws most of us live by. I do a Thing that guarantees nothing and that almost no one makes a living from these days, even those hovering at its upper tiers. But I don’t think our biggest problem, as artists, is gaining recognition for our work (or compensation, though, hey, why not?). Our biggest obstacle is the perception that a commitment to the arts is a liability or a selfish whim or something reserved for only the wealthiest or most educated among us.

I’ve been working on a story about a character who is vastly OTHER, named Marvin. A few awful things happen to him early on in the collection, and in this story, he’s trying to figure out how to protect himself from the complications of his identity by pretending he doesn’t have one. Originally, Marvin’s story was woven in with another story, about dogs. The dogs’ story didn’t make it. However, a tiny shred survives—about how two dogs arrive under a woman’s porch after living wild on the prairie for several months.

“They could remember the minute stirrings of other dirt beneath their feet, the taste of dead things, the lights of cars shooting past, the heaviness in their guts and the lightness of their bodies. But when they dozed under the porch, when they skittered up the steps to greet the woman, when they romped in the yard on cold days, they became, more and more, the dogs who lived there.”

Whether this shred will make the final cut is uncertain. But I think it speaks to something I’m trying to get at in this blog, which is: I want to be one of the dogs that lives here. I want to inhabit my own patch of this landscape. I don’t want to compromise.

Artists have always existed, and art is part of our lives. But we artists have to make a space for ourselves. We can’t doubt our right to exist. We, the TITAN OTHERS, have to keep doing our work — and doing it the way only we can, and as well as we can.

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UPDATE. My essay appeared in Ampersand Review in July 2013: http://ampersandreview.com/2013/07/dont-call-us-hunters-paranormal-research-in-the-cowboy-state-by-tasha-leclair/! Check out images from my time with the Cowboy State Paranormal Investigations team below.

Many thanks to the CSPI team. Had a blast.

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 The team, assembled at dusk.

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A little back-story might be in order.

TITAN OTHERS is a micro-movement and a thundering call-to-arms with origins tracing back to Kristen Gunther‘s interpretation of the Titanotheres exhibit at the University of Wyo’s Geological Museum:

From there, it became this.

And this, by Katie Booms:

Katie Booms

Over various online discussions, we agreed that TITAN OTHERS has connotations of “weird greatness,” to use Katie’s words, and that it’s a strong and perfect title. But I’m still trying to explain to myself exactly what it means.

I think being TITAN OTHER is about answering a “calling” that’s never actually called. The calling to be an artist, and to participate in the world as an artist—which is to be OTHER, in all-caps.

It’s about claiming identity.

It’s about honoring instinct.

It’s about huge, titanic commitment.

It’s also about responsibility—that we owe it to ourselves and each other to do our art, and to do it the way only we can, and as well as we can.

Being a writer means working alone most of the time, on stories that often take 1-3 years to finish, spending a lot of time thinking about those stories (even when I’m nowhere near a computer), and rarely being in the same room with anyone who knows what that’s like. For me, it also means being 28 with two degrees and making five times less than my husband—and sometimes feeling a tad insecure about that (though the insecurity’s self-generated).

This is a place where people do a Thing and make money from that Thing. These are the laws most of us live by. I do a Thing that guarantees nothing and that almost no one makes a living from these days, even those hovering at its upper tiers. But I don’t think our biggest problem, as artists, is gaining recognition for our work (or compensation, though, hey, why not?). Our biggest obstacle is the perception that a commitment to the arts is a liability or a selfish whim or something reserved for only the wealthiest or most educated among us.

I’ve been working on a story about a character who is vastly OTHER, named Marvin. A few awful things happen to him early on in the collection, and in this story, he’s trying to figure out how to protect himself from the complications of his identity by pretending he doesn’t have one. Originally, Marvin’s story was woven in with another story, about dogs. The dogs’ story didn’t make it. However, a tiny shred survives—about how two dogs arrive under a woman’s porch after living wild on the prairie for several months.

They could remember the minute stirrings of other dirt beneath their feet, the taste of dead things, the lights of cars shooting past, the heaviness in their guts and the lightness of their bodies. But when they dozed under the porch, when they skittered up the steps to greet the woman, when they romped in the yard on cold days, they became, more and more, the dogs who lived there.

Whether this shred will make the final cut is uncertain. But I think it speaks to something I’m trying to get at in this blog, which is: I want to be one of the dogs that lives here. I want to inhabit my own patch of this landscape. I don’t want to compromise.

Artists have always existed, and art is part of our lives. But we artists have to make a space for ourselves. We can’t doubt our right to exist. We, the TITAN OTHERS, have to keep doing our work — and doing it the way only we can, and as well as we can.

P.S. Katie found this quote: “Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others. TITAN OTHERS. YEAH I SAID THAT.” Timothy Leary

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