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