Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

CREATIVE SLEEP AND WAKEFUL DREAMING…

April 11th, 2014

From Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized: I’m somewhere between Haruki and Toni…

YANKING THE FILTER IS REALLY, REALLY HARD…

April 9th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 4″ with Irwin Shaw: [A]lmost every writer will tell you that events that happened to him before he started writing are the most valuable to him. Once he starts writing he seems to observe the world through a filter. I believe that’s true about writers: that the […]

THE BURGLER WHO COUNTED THE SPOONS

April 6th, 2014

I wrote this letter to Lawrence Block this morning: Dear Mr. Block, I just finished your latest Bernie Rhodenbarr and, as always, I wish the tale had continued longer. Elmore Leonard was famous, at least among writers, for suggesting that his particular skill was to know when to “leave out the part that readers tend […]

NO, THAT CHARACTER IS NOT YOU…

March 12th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 1″ with E.M. Forster: FORSTER: In no book have I got down more than the people I like, the person I think I am, and the people who irritate me. This puts me among the large body of authors who are not really novelists and have to […]

OR AM I JUST HAVING A WANK…?

March 11th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 3″ with Graham Green: INTERVIEWER: Do you see much of your fellow authors? GREENE: Not much, they are not one’s material. A few of them are very dear friends of mine but for a writer to spend much of his time in the company of authors is, […]

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNINTENT…

March 10th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 1″ with E.M. Forster: INTERVIEWER: Now, can we ask you a few questions about the immediate business of writing? Do you keep a notebook? FORSTER: No, I should feel it improper. INTERVIEWER: But you would refer to diaries and letters? FORSTER: Yes, that’s different. INTERVIEWER: When you […]

FICTION TECHNICALITIES…

March 9th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 1″ with E.M. Forster: “That is not all of Arctic Summer—there is almost half as much of it again—but that’s all I want to read because now it goes off, or at least I think so, and I do not want my voice to go out into […]

MEDITATION ON KURT VONNEGUT: VI…

March 3rd, 2014

One of the face slaps I recieved from reading Dan Wakefield’s Kurt Vonnegut: Letters has come from the realization that I have absolutely no clue about 95 percent of the literary references made by Vonnegut in his letters. I am a writer with a library that people have marveled at and not, by Vonnegut’s casual […]

IGNORANT IS NO LONGER INNOCENT…

December 14th, 2013

Mark Twain wrote: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’ lifetime. From “Conclusion”, page 498 of The Innocents Abroad, 1867.

GOOD NOVELISTS HAVE BAD MEMORIES…

December 1st, 2013

Robert Olen Butler writes: You remember things; you can talk these things back and command details. You know literature. You’ve always found your self-worth there, and what I’m telling you is that literal memory is your enemy. It’s been a large part of your identity all your life, and that part is going to want […]

LITERATURE IS A KIND OF CINEMA OF THE MIND

November 27th, 2013

Robert Olen Butler writes: But this is the tough part: for those two hours a day when you write, you cannot flinch. You have to go down into that deepest, darkest, most roiling, white-hot place – it can’t be white-hot and dark at the same time, but I don’t care – that paradox, live with […]

TO BE AN ARTIST… NEVER AVERT YOUR EYES

November 9th, 2013

Robert Olen Butler writes: Please get out of the habit of saying that you’ve got an idea for a short story. Art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where you dream. Art comes from your unconscious; it comes from the white-hot center of you. Found in From Where You Dream: […]

FASCINATING INSIGHTS OR GROWING GRASS…?

November 7th, 2013

Robert Olen Butler writes: The artist is comfortable only with going back to the way in which the chaos is first encountered – that is, moment to moment through the senses. Then, selecting from that sensual moment-to-moment experience, picking out bits and pieces of it, reshaping it, she recombines it into an object that a […]

ELMORE LEONARD, 1925-2013…

August 21st, 2013

From this morning’s New York Times: Elmore Leonard, the prolific crime novelist whose louche characters, deadpan dialogue and immaculate prose style in novels like “Get Shorty,” “Freaky Deaky” and “Glitz” established him as a modern master of American genre writing, died on Tuesday at his home in Bloomfield Township, Mich. He was 87. I own […]

DOYLE ON WRITING, BRAINS AND POVERTY…

June 7th, 2013

From The Narrative Of John Smith by Arthur Conan Doyle: The want of money is the sun which shines on the needy genius and warms the latent powers into life. I consider the possession of a competence to be one of the greatest curses which can befall a young man of talent. How many a […]

MEDITATION ON KURT VONNEGUT: II…

January 2nd, 2013

I’ve been a practitioner of various forms of meditation — beginning with Transcendental Meditation at 17 which evolved into a Buddhist practice in my 20s, a Jewdhist approach in my 30s and 40s and now back to Buddhist in my 50s — for most of my life and while I never fell for the full-blown […]

MY ANCESTORS, MY FAMILY, MY CHILDREN…

September 11th, 2012

1135: Share your bookself

THREE MINUTES, SIX-HUNDRED WORDS…

September 10th, 2012

No, not even David Foster Wallace wrote that fast, but rather a writing challenge to write 600 words that can be read in approximately three minutes. Go!

GORE VIDAL: 1925-2012…

August 1st, 2012

From The Paris Review, No. 59, Fall 1974 interview with Gore Vidal: Doubtless a misunderstanding. I had assumed that Burr would be unpopular. My view of American history is much too realistic. Happily, Nixon, who made me a popular playwright (the worst man in The Best Man was based on him), again came to the […]

WHERE ARE CLEVELAND’S BOOK LEECHES…?

July 19th, 2012

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