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Six years ago on this day, with a succinct, autogenous “Hello, World!” announcing its quiet arrival on the heavily populated, cyber literary landscape, Archetype was launched.  Conceived originally in 2009 to chronicle my academic journey through Chapman University’s dual Master of Arts in English and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and provide a forum for peer critique and camaraderie, I promptly posted passages from one of my short stories (“Windmill Ridge”) and my novel-in-progress Time of Death and invited classmates to contribute their work.  I also published original essay excerpts on Jonathan Franzen and the waning of a literary America (“Antisocial or socially isolated?”, “‘Tis the good reader that makes the good book”), mirrors and reflective imagery in world literature (“Masks, Manipulation, and Madness”), and the notion of the invoked doppelganger in fiction (“The Self We Seek”), all of which I was studying in those first few months of back-to-school bliss.

362px-Th_Richter_Dame_in_der_BibliothekLike any creative endeavor, the site evolved as I did and soon reflected my deepening involvement in and abiding commitment to literary and academic pursuits.  In addition to promoting Chapman fiction and poetry readings and publication opportunities in those first years, I mined journals and the Internet for interesting and informative local events taking place beyond the university’s borders.  Details regarding local and national writing contests and Calls for Submissions were and still are also posted regularly.  In 2012, I added a section for the growing number of my guest blog posts, my interviews, and other places where I’ve stumbled pleasantly upon my own work in the cybersphere.

Followers know that I most often post poems and passages that have timely personal significance.  From my occasional struggles with insomnia and feelings of isolation to my simple delight in a book or summer peach, each post, like a journal entry, suggests precisely where I am intellectually and emotionally.  Early on I rejoiced to find pictures, particularly nineteenth century oil paintings, that evoked or complemented the literary piece I was posting, and I now spend nearly as much time searching for corresponding artwork as I do compelling literature.

Thanks to my passionate professors and their fascinating courses on Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement, the life and works of Virginia Woolf, female enchantresses of modern British literature, and Gothic and fantastic fiction, Wilde, Woolf, and the works of A. S. Byatt, Katherine Mansfield, Angela Carter, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Edgar Allan Poe were frequent early Archetype subjects.  Posts on Wilde culminated in November 2009 with the writing of my course thesis on The Picture of Dorian Gray (“The Act of Creation,” “Wilde Irony”), while Woolf reigned in the fall of 2010.  My essay on chaos theory and the butterfly effect in the works of Virginia Woolf remains my SophieAndersonTakethefairfaceofWomanproudest literary achievement to date and will serve as my Ph.D. application writing sample next year.  (Click on these links to review excerpts from “The I in the Portrait: A Bakhtinian Analysis of The Picture of Dorian Gray and “On the Wings of Angels and Butterflies: The Chaotic Journey to Woman in Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse.”)

My penchant for Russian literature and philosophy was also soon discovered, and I immersed myself and, by extension, Archetype in Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nabokov and began to examine just about everything through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin.  Later courses exposed me to the intriguing life and works of Gertrude Stein (“Back to Bakhtin: The ‘I’ in Ida), Junot Díaz, Ralph Ellison, and many others, and every newly encountered author was explored here to some extent.

The craft of writing is another recurrent theme on Archetype; “Genetics-Based Grammarianism,” “In Celebration of Technique,” “Last Writes,” “More is More,” “Not Quite Write,” “Drafting Perfection,” and “A Sense of Style” are my personal favorites.  However, it is the angst of writing about which I tend to muse and articulate most freely; “Why Write?,” “One True Sentence,” “Bird by Bird,” “Write About Now,” “Demons and Darlings,” “The Reality of Rejection,” “The Joy of Ending Well,” “A New Summer of Writing,” and “The Write Stuff” all convey my own grapples with the creative stall and feelings of inadequacy.

With the MA in English attained two years ago, a few modest writing awards under my belt (“Praise for Time of Death,” “On the Write Track”), and conferral of the MFA degree this past January, I’ve been in the process of considering what’s next these past few months – for me academically and literarily and for this site (“A Silent Abyss,” “A Beginning and an Ending,” “Writing in the Afterlife”). As I’ve mentioned recently on Archetype (“Это правда?”) and in an interview on TreeHouse, I’m planning to apply to various Ph.D. programs in English, Comparative Literature, and/or Rhetoric; however, with applicant admission rates of approximately four to five percent at local universities, I’m keeping the likelihood of acceptance in perspective.

GOTTHA~1Nonetheless, the pursuit of admittance will be next year’s undertaking and will, of course, be recounted here.  For the immediate time being, my focus will remain on submitting my short fiction and nonfiction work to various conferences and journals, launching a part-time freelance writing and editing career, and preparing for both the General and Literature in English Graduate Record Examinations.  (A list of my current study resources is provided in the sidebar to the right.)  And there is still the full novel to finish and market (“This is the Year,” “This is That Summer,” “Writing in the Aftermath”).

During the last seventy-two months, I have published 695 posts about literature, critical theory, writing technique, literary figures and events, submission opportunities, favorite poems and passages, articles of interest, books I’m reading, papers I’m writing, other literary blogs I’m following, conferences I’m attending, and demons I’m wrestling.  Archetype celebrates holidays, welcomes new seasons, and gives the occasional nod to lunar activity – and much-needed sleep.  Finally, personal aspects of my affective life and literary journey are memorialized and shared (“Write of Passage,” “Cartwheels Under the Arch,” “Pathetic Fallacy,” “Beyond Words,” “Finis”), even when the discovery and healing are mine alone.  I hope you will all follow me as this new narrative begins.

 

Levitan_Sokolniki_Autumn_1879

 

 

Praised be the moon of books! that doth above

A world of men, the fallen Past behold,

And fill the spaces else so void and cold

To make a very heaven again thereof;

As when the sun is set behind a grove,

And faintly unto nether ether rolled,

All night his whiter image and his mould

Grows beautiful with looking on her love.

 

Thou therefore, moon of so divine a ray,

Lend to our steps both fortitude and light!

Feebly along a venerable way

They climb the infinite, or perish quite;

Nothing are days and deeds to such as they,

While in this liberal house thy face is bright.

 

                            ~ Louise Imogen Guiney

 

The Reading Room of the British Museum by Riccardo Cambiassi

The Reading Room of the British Museum by Riccardo Cambiassi

I couldn’t live a week without a private library – indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1,500 or so books I possess.

~ Howard Phillips Lovecraft, born on this day in 1890

 

"The Bookworm" by Carl Spitzweg, circa 1850

“The Bookworm” by Carl Spitzweg, circa 1850

It evaded her now when she thought of her picture. Phrases came. Visions came. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful phrases. But what she wished to get hold of was that very jar on the nerves, the thing itself before it has been made anything. Get that and start afresh; get that and start afresh; she said desperately, pitching herself firmly again before her easel. It was a miserable machine, an inefficient machine, she thought, the human apparatus for painting or for feeling; it always broke down at the critical moment; heroically, one must force it on.

 

~ To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

 

Miklós Barabás, 1838

Miklós Barabás, 1838

To Solitude

I am weary of the working,

   Weary of the long day’s heat;

To thy comfortable bosom,

   Wilt thou take me, spirit sweet?

 

Weary of the long, blind struggle

   For a pathway bright and high,–

Weary of the dimly dying

   Hopes that never quite all die.

 

Weary searching a bad cipher

   For a good that must be meant;

Discontent with being weary,–

   Weary with my discontent.

 

I am weary of the trusting

   Where my trusts but torments prove;

Wilt thou keep faith with me? wilt thou

   Be my true and tender love?

 

I am weary drifting, driving

   Like a helmless bark at sea;

Kindly, comfortable spirit,

   Wilt thou give thyself to me?

 

Give thy birds to sing me sonnets?

   Give thy winds my cheeks to kiss?

And thy mossy rocks to stand for

   The memorials of our bliss?

 

I in reverence will hold thee,

   Never vexed with jealous ills,

Though thy wild and wimpling waters

   Wind about a thousand hills.

 

             ~ Alice Cary

 

"Woman by the Water" by Béla Iványi-Grünwald, 1897

“Woman by the Water” by Béla Iványi-Grünwald, 1897

 

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the Sun:

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the travellers journey is done.

 

Where the Youth pined away with desire,

And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:

Arise from their graves and aspire,

Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

 

~ William Blake

 

George Dunlop Leslie, 1890

George Dunlop Leslie, 1890

Glimmer Train is currently accepting submissions for its Short Story Award for New Writers contest through August 31.  The contest is open to writers whose fiction has not appeared in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000.  Contest entries must not have appeared in any print publication.  Stories submitted to this category are typically 1,500 to 6,000 words and should not exceed 12,000 words.

The first place winner will receive $1,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and twenty copies of that issue.  The second and third place winners will receive $500 and $300, respectively, possible publication, and ten copies of the publication issue.  Results will be announced in the November 1 bulletin.  For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.com/newwriters.html.

Good luck!

 

sub-cover-250x375

 

 

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