Sunday, February 17, 2019

Writing Stories and Planting Words

We are all potentially characters in a novel — with the difference that characters in a novel really get to live their lives to the full.
 — Georges Simenon, born in 1903 

How We Think of Our Lives: Boredom in Contemporary Literature

Everybody wants to own the end of the world:

Doubts, but still wants to believe—how else to explain the generations of people, from twentysomething anarchists to aged professors, whose lives have been altered by Cold River? As different as these readers have been, they’ve all been drawn to the possibility that enlightenment can be achieved by abandoning the “normal” life whose ingredients include anthropological view of communisms, childhoods, black markets, money, folkloric groups, friends, army education. This possibility might seem naïve, self-indulgent, or just absurd: Cold River has borne all these insults, and others, and survived unscathed. Iron Curtain survivors not only accepted but welcomed his detractors’ mockery, and in an era when a lot of stories aspire to avoid criticism at all costs, that might be the timeliest virtue....

Watching the shied core

Striking the basket, skidding across the floor,

Shows less and less of luck, and more and more

“Of failure spreading back up the arm

Earlier and earlier, the unraised hand calm,

The apple unbitten in the palm.”

'A Time When Jests are Few'

Why We Keep Falling For Lying Memoirs

“While [Dan] Mallory’s story seems remarkable — a con man using a sob story to sashay his way to literary power — it’s actually extremely common. … The reason these frauds happen is because of the publishing industry’s and the audience’s hunger for authentic voices, particularly voices of suffering. Apologies to Barthes, but the author didn’t die; she became the text.” – The Outline

Larkin exceeds Beckett’s overused “fail better.” Like original sin, failure is built into human action. It’s a familiar Larkin theme, one he refutes by composing so concisely clever a poem out of such unpromising material – throwing refuse at the waste basket, something we do every day. He finished writing “As Bad as a Mile” on Feb. 9, in 1960 when so many kids when trough terrible twos ...


Most writers, even those we enjoy and admire, are fated to remain minor or disappear from memory if not always from the dustiest library shelves. This is an unhappy Darwinian truth. Literature is not a democracy, talent is not fame and good wishes count for nothing. For every Tennyson there are ten thousand Arthur O’Shaughnessys. Consider the case of the English poet Henry Austin Dobson (1840-1921). He studied to be a civil engineer, worked for the Board of Trade in London and turned himself into a poet adept at the triolet -- hardly a prescription for Parnassian immortality. That he titled his second collection of verse Proverbs in Porcelainprobably didn’t help. By all accounts he was a good, conventional man who worked earnestly at his craft, and no one reads him.

'A Browner Shade the Evening of Life'

Salvation by Words: Iris Murdoch on Language as a Vehicle of Truth and Art as a Force of Resistance to Tyranny

Tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify. The good artist is a vehicle of truth.” 

Why People Devour Novels About Food, And Why Novelists Cook Them Up

Food is the great equalizer — everyone eats — and what we eat and how we eat it can be so emotional and can carry deep meaning.” Eleven authors offer their thoughts about writing work you can sink your teeth into. – Literary Hub
Maria Imrichova Chef Cook Connoiseur 1917-2006
I often think about my photography when I’m writing… visualizing what I want my readers to see, focusing my words as I would my camera lens. To go even further, I believe that being a photographer makes me a better writer, just as being a writer strengthens my photography.

Chris Christie’s Agonizing New Memoir Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi.

The Best Books on Tales of Soviet Russia | A Five Books Interview

Writing Fiction by Craw

Set Your Browser To Private: The British Library Puts Its Collection Of Obscene Books Online

Together with an 18th-century directory of sex workers in the Covent Garden area of London, and the violent erotic works of the Marquis de Sade, the Merryland books are among the 2,500 volumes in the British Library’s Private Case collection. The volumes have now been digitised, and are being made available online by the publisher Gale as part of its Archives of Sexuality and Gender academic research resource. – The Guardian 
ford Kilian

The Best Author Blogs 

It is no secret that authors write some of the very best blogs. Our editors have compiled a list of author blogs that they believe are truly outstanding. The list ties in with the article, "The Author's Dilemma: To Blog or Not to Blog" and our blogging section.

Although the styles and subject matter of the author blogs vary widely, they all share two important qualities: they are all frequently updated and interesting to read. Be sure to read our blogging tips if you plan to start your own blogs. We have also included blogging resources below.

Author Blogs

Bodgy builds, bubbles and a big Lamborghini Parramatta developer Jean NASSIF

Jean and Nissy Nassif make no secret of living the high life in Sydney's west. But Mr Nassif has dug himself

Cashed up property developer who has blocked access to 700 car spaces with his three-storey garage now flaunts the yellow Lamborghini he bought for his glamorous Blonde Wife ;-)

Jean Nassif, Owner and Director of Toplace, is the founder of the Wiping Tears Charitable Foundation. Together with wife, Nissy Nassif, they're dedicating their ...

· DISGRACED former Auburn mayor Salim Mehajer and beautician wife Aysha are divorcing after agreeing there is  ...

Sarkis Nassif, the developer of the controversial shopping and residential complex Auburn Central, bought council land 

Sydney property developers donating thousands to ACT Liberal Party, despite NSW ban

Property developer Tony Merhi leaves an ICAC hearing in 2014.
Property developer Tony Merhi's company Merc Shoppingtown donated $5,000 to the Canberra Liberals.

A group of Sydney property developers have donated thousands of dollars to the ACT branch of the Liberal Party despite appearing to have no connection with the capital.

Developers are banned from making political donations in New South Wales, but are not in the ACT.
Since last month four companies registered to developers in Sydney have donated a total of $20,000 to the Canberra Liberals.
The ACT Labor Government said it had no record of any of the companies ever working, or applying for work, in the territory.
One of the developers, Tony Merhi, previously appeared before the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) over allegations he had bypassed his state's ban on developer donations by donating to a Liberal Party slush fund.
No adverse findings were made regarding Mr Merhi. The ABC does not claim the two alleged incidents are connected.
Mr Merhi also sparked interest when it was revealed he began donating tens of thousands of dollars to the federal Liberal Party following the NSW ban on developer donations in 2009.
In response to questions from the ABC, regarding the donations and the possibility the Canberra Liberals were being used to avoid the NSW ban, the party released a short statement.
"The Canberra Liberals receive donations from many different individuals and businesses. All donations are permitted under ACT donations laws," the statement read.
Merc Shoppingtown, Toplace, J&M Nassif Property Group and Statewide Planning all made one-off $5,000 donations to the Liberals in June.
Details on the companies are limited, but Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) records showed they were registered respectively to Tony Merhi, Jean Nassif, John and Maroun Nassif, and Hoda Demian.
The ABC has been unable to contact any of the companies or their directors, other than Toplace, who declined to comment.

Money being moved between branches 'not new'

The NSW Electoral Commission said the "risk of money being moved between branches of political parties [was] not a new one".
"The NSW Electoral Commission has advocated reform in this area, as has the Panel of Experts on Political Donations more recently," the Commission said in a statement.
But the Commission said if the ACT Liberal Party chose to transfer the money to their New South Wales colleagues there would be a cap on how quickly they could do it.
"The ACT branch of the Liberal Party can donate this financial year $5,900 to the NSW branch for state purposes and another $5,900 for local government purposes," the Commission said.
The ACT Liberal Party deputy leader Alistair Coe dismissed the issue as a storm in a tea cup.
Mr Coe said the donations were linked to the party's federal campaign.
"So our federal campaign does have different dealings with people right across the ACT and indeed Australia, so to that end those donations are linked to the federal campaign rather than territory politics," he said.
In 2014 Merc Shoppingtown's Tony Merhi appeared before ICAC as a witness to answer questions over why he donated $5,000 to an alleged slush fund at the request of the then NSW Liberal MP Marie Ficarra.
Ms Ficarra was stood down over the allegations, despite both her and Mr Merhi denying any wrongdoing at the time. Merhi claimed he was duped into making the payments.
For legal reasons ICAC later dropped its investigation into Ms Ficarra.
An investigation by the NSW Electoral Commission has since found that over the same period the Liberal Party was using a charitable foundation to donate to the NSW branch as a means of offering anonymity to donors, including property developers.
The ABC does not suggest Mr Merhi knew anything of that arrangement.
Last week's update to the ACT's political donation disclosures also shows the Canberra Liberals received one of their largest ever individual donations, $30,000 from Paul Marks, as well as a $15,000 donation from the Victorian branch of the party.
Mr Marks rose to prominence last year when then federal Liberal MP Stuart Robert was forced to resign after it was revealed he held shares in a mining company linked to Mr Marks.