Monday, August 17, 2015

The Job of Writing is More and More About not Writing

INK BOTTLE“Oh, you’re going to zap me with penicillin and pesticides. Spare me that and I’ll spare you the bomb and aerosols. But don’t confuse progress with perfectibility.”

~ Czech born Media Dragon, Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. 'Time' for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water deep inside Cold River ...”

The job of writing is more and more about not writing. It is about readings, interviews, conferences, Q&As. A solitary profession has become excruciatingly social ...

Writers get their ideas from dreams, visions, daemons, and of course, other writers. But one thing is constant: the fickleness of literary inspiration Complete Mystery »

What Happens When a Failed Writer Becomes a Loyal Spy? Intercept
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius to be released form jail next week.

“Most serious and productive artists are “haunted” by their material—this is the galvanizing force of their creativity, their motivation. It is not and cannot be a fully conscious or volitional “haunting”—it is something that seems to happen to us, as if from without, no matter what craft is brought to bear upon it, what myriad worksheets and note cards.” New York Review of Books

Hrabal’s narrator is an old man. Like my late father Jozef Imrich,  a product of the late Hapsburg Empire, he has been a soldier, a shoemaker, a brewer, and, per his self-admission, a proud and regularly practicing bachelor. The novel is the recollection of his life, given to a group of young ladies -– and whenever the narrator mentions ladies in the plural, he may be referring to ladies of the profession, though he only directly mentions brothels a few times. Not meant to be a straight chronological retelling, the story proceeds from ‘the days of the monarchy’ to the relatively mute backdrop of Czech-led communism (the book being published 4 years before the Prague Spring of ’68), and stuffs details and asides into every corner Sequel To Good Soldier Svejk

The news of a friend from old Czechoslovakia about the latest death of a folkloric and school mate took some wind out of me. I have experienced the loss of many people and as a survivor of the Iron Curtain had a front row seat to the terrible specter of death on far too many occasions, but to me there is something different occasions, but to me there is something different about losing such an old friend. The loss is not inexplicable or particularly unusual, but it is its own special kind of sad...

The punch-happy writer is a literary cliche. We recognize the usual suspects: Bukowski, Hemingway, Imrich, Mailer. But Keats, Camus, Lawrence, Ian Thackeray? Who knew?