Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

MY CHARACTERS MUST NOT DODGE THE ISSUES…

July 30th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: INTERVIEWER: Aissa Saved was the first one you published? CARY: Yes, and that was not until I was over forty. I’d written many before, but I was never satisfied with them. They raised political and religious questions I found I could not answer. […]

WANTING V. YEARNING, GENRE V. LITERATURE…

July 26th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: INTERVIEWER: That’s what you meant, then, when you said that what makes men tick should be the main concern of the novelist? The character’s principle of unity? CARY: And action, their beliefs. You’ve got to find out what people believe, what is pushing […]

ON THE NECESSITY FOR SPELLBINDERS AND POETS…

July 21st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: Religion is organized to satisfy and guide the soul—politics does the same thing for the body. Of course they overlap—this is a very rough description. But the politician is responsible for law, for physical security, and in a world of tumult, of perpetual […]

FICTION MUST BE, AFTER ALL, FICTION…

July 16th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 6” with Alberto Moravia: MORAVIA: Yes. But I want it quite clearly understood: my works are not autobiographical in the usual meaning of the word. Perhaps I can put it this way: whatever is autobiographical is so in only a very indirect manner, in a very general […]

SCREW THE LIGHT, WRITERS STEP INTO THE DARK…

July 11th, 2016

Last evening I was able to spend a few precious hours with a shipmate who I hadn’t seen for some 30 years. Our conversation turned to my writing and the struggles I have telling the story I want to tell. I did my best to describe the mental state of writers as I understand the […]

CAPTURING THE IDEAS, THAT IS THE HARD WORK..

July 5th, 2016

Writers get asked “Where do you get your ideas?” all the time. Most attempt to be gracious and imply that such a task is hard grueling work requiring years of mental exercise. Henry James was blunt, and honest.. Asked once when he found time to form the design of a new book, James rolled his […]

YOUR MUSE WANTS TO MAKE HER ENTRANCE…

June 28th, 2016

I need the dark, in much the same Walter Mosley does, but I have no problem seeing the advantage to this particular ritual as well. Moving from the ordinary world into the creative world does require some threshold, some transition. For the morning writing, [Toni Morrison’s ] ritual is to rise around 5:00, make coffee, […]

JOHN SANDFORD WRITES A 404-PAGE MACGUFFIN*…

June 16th, 2016

John Sanford is on my short list of go-to writers, the writers I check monthly for new books. He has been on that list for as long as I’ve had such a list and has outlasted Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Johnathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, James Patterson, Anne Rice and perhaps a dozen or so more […]

HIGH PRAISE INDEED…

May 26th, 2016

Eulogium (p. 56) Uncle Venner’s eulogium, if it appears rather too high-strained for the person and occasion, had, nevertheless, a sense in which it was both subtile and true. Modern eulogy, eulogium, Medieval Latin, from Greek eulogia praise; a commendatory oration, high praise, or writing especially in honor of one deceased . (15th century)igh From […]

FICTION IS AN EXPLORATION OF THE POSSIBLES…

September 14th, 2015

THIS CANNOT END WELL…

August 11th, 2015

WOULD GO SET A SUCKER BE MORE APPROPRIATE…?

August 4th, 2015

If I lived in Traverse City I would patronize Brilliant Books. Retailers, or any service provider, that makes an effort to honestly deal with customers is a business deserving of patronage and word-of-mouth support. What has Brilliant books done that is so laudable? They admitted that their customers had been played. In US bookshop offering […]

WAVES OF SAND AS DEVASTATING AS TIDAL WAVES…

July 4th, 2015

Dune, one of the 18 books that have shaped my world, was first published by Chilton on 1 October 1965. One of the very few DVD/Blu-Ray discs in my collection is the David Lynch vision of Dune. Hari Kunzru celebrates the golden anniversary: During the period he wrote Dune, his wife Beverly Ann was the […]

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING SEEMING TO BE THERE…

June 1st, 2015

My current project is a novel set a century ago in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve only been to Charleston once, and that for only a single afternoon more than a dozen years ago. I remember the high bridge driving south into the city. I remember lunch and a bookstore. I remember park and battery at […]

WHAT DOES THIS EARTH REQUIRE OF US…?

March 13th, 2015

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. In this broadcast you will meet an effervescent man who still believes we can make democracy work. Later we’ll talk about those people in Washington who refuse to let it work, but first Wendell Berry. A master of the written word, he rarely appears on television. For one thing, when he’s not […]

SHARPE’S WRITER…

March 6th, 2015

I came late to reading Bernard Cornwell’s books. Only when I was once laid up with a bad cold and was able to watch the Sharpe videos did I discover Cornwell’s work. I have since read all his historical novels (for some reason I cannot quite name, I’ve felt no desire to read his thrillers) […]

ON THE SUBJECT OF GENIUS…

November 7th, 2014

For sometime I have had my personal aphorism on the subject of genius—Genius is doing the work… Now!—taped to the top of my laptop screen. I’ve even gone so far as to have the copyrighted phrase printed on pencils that I both use and distribute to my students. This morning I was reminded of another […]

PARKED IN THE PORTE COCHERE

October 22nd, 2014

James Lee Burke has a vocabulary all his own and the common words arch across novels, decades and characters. The phrase Porte Cochere (see page 326) literally means coach door, and is one that I’ve always thought meant what I would call a carport. I wasn’t far wrong, but there is history and a regionalilty […]

INTRODUCING MY NEW MUSE…

October 5th, 2014

She showed up three days after my 59th birthday and I’ve been burning through more than 1,000 words a day since. My current novel, Absent Son, passed 50,000 words last Monday and I’m rapidly closing in on 200 pages. Clearly, willowy and alabaster are for slackers. Via Oglaf… Warning! Very NSFW… There are, however, no […]

MEDITATION ON KURT VONNEGUT: VIII…

August 30th, 2014

As a teacher, I was usually pretty good at helping people become what they wanted to become. I didn’t try to make them resemble me. – to Mark Vonnegut on 20 March 1972, p. 180. Kurt Vonnegut: Letters. The challenge here is to help students decide what they want to become. Vonnegut was working with […]

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