Hey, did anybody bring some sunscreen? I think I’m starting to get a little burn here.
It’s time! Finally! ARE YOU READY TO TALK… ABOUT DUNE?
To start: I know Dune in June should have been in June, but… well, you know, June was rough.)
Still, we’re going to talk about Dune right? Because it’s our tradition!
Here are the first juicy tidbits of the Dune in June in July season:
FRANK HERBERT’S INSPIRATION WAS… WHAT?
Do you remember when we talked last year about the roots of Frank Herbert’s Dune? His original idea was sparked by an interest in ecology and stabilizing beach grasses. Here’s what I didn’t know— Herbert wrote a newspaper story* about these stabilizing beach grasses, a story that never sold, but bloomed into a book. Read this great L.A. Times piece* about the whole thing here: “Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ holds timely – and timeless – appeal.”
HOW DEAR IS A FIRST EDITION OF DUNE?
In the last ten years, I have started to by early—not necessarily first— editions of books that I love. The reason I do that has to do with the writer’s original intent. With earlier editions, you know that the writer and his agent and the original publisher went through the galleys (pre-print copies) word by word, page by page to make corrections by hand. I like to see the writer’s original intent and mistakes in these early editions because that puts me as close to the source of a creative work as I can get sometimes. After years of dithering, I finally got one of the earlier editions of Dune— I mean, really early. Same year, same book cover, but it’s Chilton’s Book Club Edition. Do you want to know how much the real first edition of Dune happens to go for? AbeBooks counted Frank Herbert’s Dune as one of its top ten most expensive sales in June 2011.
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE NERVE ENDINGS
There’s a great short piece on Dune and the power of positive thinking based on theories of honest-to-goodness science— “What Frank Herbert’s Dune Can Teach Us About the Power of Positive Thinking.” (Remember, your brain cannot control everything, but there is something to be said for everyday habit in ordinary circumstances.) Okay, about this piece in iO9— writer Maria Konnikova posits that Dune is an excellent illustration of synaptic plasticity, according to the traditional concepts discovered by the godfather of current studies on synaptic plasticity, Donald Hebb. (For a brief overview of synaptic plasticity and Hebbian theory, see this infographic from McGill University) Why I find this interesting and I think you will too— this story is exactly what I was talking about earlier today in regards to our thematic discussion of Dune this year. (Also, I am fascinated by synaptic plasticity right now, and finding a story that talks about two of my favorite topics at the same time— Dune and synaptic plasticity— nearly turned me cross-eyed with glee, I kid you not.)
Speaking of things that turn me cross-eyed with glee—
How would you like to write or create a themed piece about Dune for Dune in June (in July)? Here are some of the verrry general topics I thought could be whittled down into smaller topics for short pieces (kinda like the one on iO9)—
Here’s an example of a short Dune topic: Why does the messiah in Dune have to be male? What does Frank Herbert’s plot choice tell us about the role of gender in the Dune universe?
Do you have a specific idea for Dune in June on Bluebird Blvd.? Wanna write a story, put up an audio piece, show a diagram, paint a picture, make a video about Dune in the next four weeks on Bluebird Blvd.? Email me! bluebirdblvd (at) att (dot) net.
Oh, and do I EVER have a special treat for yoo-oou!
The good stuff is below the rambling bit.
ME, RAMBLING AGAIN (GOOD STUFF BELOW THIS… WHATEVER IT IS)
*Look, I’ve been meaning to say this for a year, and I’m getting around to it rightthissecond: My first professional work was in newspapers. Newspapermen and -women don’t really call anything an “article.” It’s a story or a piece, if one is speaking generally. If that piece happens to be a particular type of story, one can call it by name: a feature story, a sidebar, an op-ed item.
The jargon is similar but not the same in the the magazine world— you have copy or content or a spread. (Also, body copy or text.) In literary circles, the language around poetry and fiction and essays will circle back around to pieces and stories, but literary people who do not write for the general public will refer to a newspaper or magazine story as “an article.”
For writers who work in more than one category— newspapers, magazines, poetry/short fiction/monographs/essays/theory, (plus a fourth: blogging!),—are called working writers (versus a specialty, such as being a poet, or a features writer.) However, there is an exception. (Always an exception to the rule, right?) Sometimes a writer works in several mediums, but is well-known in one area. Example: David Sedaris is called an essayist, but he also writes fiction and he writes for radio. What is he usually called? An essayist or a radio commenter.
Okay, the good stuff.
THE GOOD STUFF
DUNE in JUNE in JULY Due to all of the mishaps of June (and a little bit of early July), we will be doing Dune in June… in July (and a little bit of August) this year. Now, here’s what’s changed— last year we did Dune chronologically. This year, we will be doing Dune thematically. Ever since last year, my plan has been to put out an open call to writers who might want to do a special topic on Dune.
Two special things— ONE, we have our own Bluebird Blvd. Google Group! So, c’mon over and we can talk about DUNE IN REAL TIME! (WOOT!)
TWO, consider this the OPEN PITCH for DUNE in JUNE… in JULY. Interested? Email me: bluebirdblvd (at) att (dot) net.
Length and type of thematic Dune story are variable. (Audio, video, and image-based entries definitely encouraged!)
30 STORIES in 30 DAYS I am writing 30 stories in 30 days covering a range of subjects from Dune (of course) to a piece on the nature of genius in pop music for the Bluebird Sessions to the reboot of Our Sunday Best‘s ongoing special edition on photographers to some new entries in the Bluebird Dictionary.
It’s going to be a blast!
I hope you think so too!
HEY! KINDA IMPORTANT! I have switched to a more functional RSS feed because the native WordPress version was not working correctly, and I don’t know why. The new feed is from Feedburner, which will be our mainstay unless it becomes glitchy, or Google shuts it down. Before I chose Feedburner, I tested five other RSS management systems, some paid, some free, and wouldn’t you know it, Feedburner still worked the best out of all of them. Enjoy the NEW BLUEBIRD BLVD. RSS FEED — embedded videos! Links! All the bells and whistles we know and love!