Required Reading – The Raves: Shelley and Dickens

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Rebekah Loper

My introduction to the classics was completely voluntary. I was homeschooled, and my mother decided not to require a literature course from me at all to graduate high school. (To be fair, the course teaching me how to balance a checkbook was probably far more useful, and a skill I am very grateful for now.)

There were a few reasons to her decision about literature. First, I read a lot on my own. I read encyclopedias for fun, even, and it was clear even at a young age that my critical thinking skills were not lacking. Until puberty hit, at least. Second, there was a lot going on in my home life as a child, much of it not good (though not horrendously bad, compared to many other people). We learned the important things, and sometimes there wasn’t time or energy left for anything else. Third, I don’t think my mother had a good introduction or experience with literature during her own school days – either grade school, or college – and she probably was at a loss of how to teach it to me or my siblings. I know one of her most memorable moments was in one of her literature classes in college, when she had to read The Two Towers. But she hadn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring, and so I’m sure you can imagine that was more than a little… confusing.

I read a few classics in my school days (The Scarlet Letter, and several of Jane Austen’s works, for the most part) but didn’t start branching out into the ones that had always caught my eye (the ones I sometimes set back because I didn’t know if my mom would let me read them because she might think they were too scary) until I was in college.

My ‘rave’ for today is one of those.  Continue reading

Required Reading, Part One: The Raves

Required reading.

These two words struck fear in the hearts of students everywhere, even those who actually enjoyed reading. The surest way to make someone hate a book, of course, was to force them to read it. I imagine there are people who would hold a grudge against the Discworld series if it had been shoved down their throats like Shakespeare.

But not all the classics were bad. Some of us sought them out on our own out of curiosity, while others were surprised when the required reading was actually interesting and enjoyable. And for some of us, those literary classics became personal favorites as well.

In this series, we Ferrets will be talking about the classic books that we sought out, that surprised us, that made us fall in love with them. And we’ll also be talking about the ones we haven’t yet read, but really, really want to.

So come and join us for the next few weeks while we happily rave about some classic books that we absolutely adore, and share with us some of your own!

Business Meetings for Creative People

I know, I know… I shuddered just typing “business meetings” but these aren’t the kind you have to bring a last-minute PowerPoint and a giant coffee to. Unless you just want to. (Hey, I’m not judging.)

Believe it or not, the Ferrets do hold business meetings a few times a year. We take ourselves seriously (at least sometimes) and know that to make it to the level of creative career we want to see… sometimes you’ve got to have a bit of order to the insanity. It’s been a trial and error process, but I think we’ve mostly gotten sorted out what works best for us.

1. Hold the Meeting at a Reasonable Time of Day

For us that usually equals noon. Early enough in the day we have plenty of time to get things done and late enough in the day we all should be awake. Theoretically.

2. Serious First Doesn’t Always Work… Okay, It Never Does Continue reading

2016: The Good, the Bad, and the “What? Why? UGH.”

Here we are. We made it. December 31st. That shiny midnight that heralds the dawn of a new year is so close I’m pretty sure I can reach out and touch it, but don’t tell 2016 I said that… it will find a way to postpone it even more.

I think we can all agree that this year has been rough at best. In the realm of celebrities I’m pretty sure we’ve all lost at least one person we really admired. We don’t discuss politics on this blog, but if you’re in the United States you know that no matter your views this election was a mess of bamboozlery, misinformation, and high-strung feelings.

If you’re a Ferret, SOMETHING unfortunate happened to your car at least once this year. We’ve all come out of it with working vehicles, but at times it’s been dicey. We’ve had a car go swimming (okay, that was technically my husband), another hold a late-night rendezvous with an already-dead deer, and several others deal with a long list of issues including batteries, power-steering, brakes, and more. The people have stayed safe, but the cars? Not always…

Several Ferrets (or spouses) dealt with job-related issues. When incomes are already tight, possibly losing (or actually losing) a job is not something you want to add to that list! Incomes in general have been an uphill battle for a variety of reasons for just about all of us. Why aren’t we all famous authors yet? Continue reading

A Peek at the Ferret Dictionary

We Ferrets have been recovering from NaNoWriMo – and preparing for/launching into the holiday season now upon us, as it is always a little bit of a surprise after the madness of NaNo fades back into the ‘real world’. . .

So have a bit of silliness from the Ferret Archivist. It’s been several years since I last shared anything from the Ferret Archives, and here are some more words spotlighted from the Ferret Dictionary.

15th century manuscript with original binding

Photo by Erwan Plougonven, used under CC BY-SA 4.0. (Resized. Otherwise unchanged.)

The Ferret Dictionary is a collection of words to refer to concepts or objects that simply don’t have a proper word – or did not before the Ferrets came along to fix things! Their most common source is typos (ones that are entertaining enough to make us think they need an explanation) and often more than one of us will come up with the same meaning for one as soon as we decide a particular word is deserving of it.

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Wrapping Up NaNoWriMo 2016 with the Ferrets!

It’s time for triumph! Right?

NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner's Banner - space-themed

Each of the Ferrets below launched herself into NaNo – with or without a plan, to be quite honest with you, and not all of those plans survived engagement with NaNoWriMo proper – and forged ahead, making progress on her chosen project (or projects).

We attended write-ins, we made ourselves laugh or cry – and that’s just at the process of writing, before we even get to the content – we developed some truly impressive NaNo-fingers and NaNo-brains leading to nifty new and creative typos. . .

Life forgot that there’s supposed to be an allowance for NaNo and threw obstacles in our paths, but we made it through anyway!

Let’s say goodbye to NaNoWriMo for this year with a last word from each of us about this year’s session and our works for it.

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NaNoWriMo Week Three! – Ferret Updates

We’re three weeks in and the Ferrets are fighting to catch up and fighting through the universe’s distractions and to be honest with you while I’m not the only Ferret who is dead tired this (Monday) evening, I am definitely a little frazzled.

Week three is traditionally the doldrums, when momentum slows and things began to tangle even if you had an outline, when the excited launch of week one fades and the word-high of week two gives way to the realisation that NaNoWriMo can be kind of tough, you guys, wait I only have how much time left?

It’s hit all of us Ferrets in different ways, but I don’t think any of us were quite ready to realise we were three weeks into NaNo already, whatever the state of our projects!

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NaNoWriMo Week Two! – Ferret Updates

Here we are again already? NaNo’s charging through quick!

This time I am not writing this at a write-in, around Box of Doom challenges, with most of the other Ferrets sitting around me typing furiously. (Instead, I’m curled sleepily in a pile of blankets trying to muster the awakeness to get some writing done before midnight, while most of the other Ferrets run a sprint – I’ll have to join in on the next one!)

Our next write-in is tomorrow (Tuesday), and while I can’t speak for everyone in the region, it seems like the Ferrets are all hoping it will let us catch up a little closer to where we should be wordcount-wise. It’s been a busy week since the last update, and several of us have had disruptive incidents – the universe always seems to forget to make allowances for the fact that NaNoWriMo happens in November.

Here’s to hopefully catching up, and hopefully a more even keel week three!
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NaNoWriMo Week One! – Ferret Updates

We’re a full week into NaNoWriMo now! I can hardly believe it. . .

So. Week one: we’re doing this NaNo thing! There are . . . words. All of the words! All of the words . . . are currently being used in our novels. We have rambled the leftovers here.

All of us have attended at least one local write-in, of which there have already been several. (In fact, Monday night as I type this up I am sitting in a line with Eris and Michelle, and Rebekah is busily at work behind me – we’re set up at a write-in right now!) There have been upheavals and upsets, busy days and borked outlines. . .

But we have all rallied and charged onwards, and week one is the time for the brightest optimism and freshest look at our stories! (Even if they aren’t entirely sure what they want to be yet.)

Total Goal: 50,000
Goal for End of Day Seven: 11,666

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Welcome to NaNoWriMo!

It’s NaNoWriMo time again!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Participant Banner - space-themed

This wonderful event is what first brought the Ferrets together and we all have a fondness for the madness and magic of NaNoWriMo. (If you’ve never tried it before, but you’ve wondered about writing or felt you needed a kickstart at it, you might give it a try – could be just the thing to help you out! At least two of us signed up at the last minute our first year – Michelle and I, Serena – and still both enjoyed and won NaNoWriMo.)

We’ve talked about NaNo before, so I won’t cover old ground (too much) – besides, I have preparations for NaNo-ing with which I should be busying myself!

Among us we Ferrets have two MLs (Municipal Liaisons; they are magic and coordinate events – and everything – for our region), a handwriter, a dual-project/double-goal writer, and a rebel poet. We’ve quite a range, and we’ll be checking in weekly here with updates on each of our projects! You can also follow each of our progress, save that of our lone poet, at our profiles on the NaNoWriMo site itself. Continue reading