Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

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 […]

MEDITATION ON KURT VONNEGUT: VII…

August 24th, 2014

I know it is the place of the man to do brilliant things with money, but this manhood thing has me completely worn out. I just want to be a writer. –– to Don Farber on 7 January 1972, p. 179 Kurt Vonnegut: Letters. The reality seems to me to be self-imposed. How much trouble […]

DAN BROWN LOST ME ON PAGE 294 OF INFERNO

August 20th, 2014

I wasn’t going to read Dan Brown’s Inferno because, while I found The Da Vinci Code entertaining, his breakout book wasn’t very well written and contained too many holes. What held the book together was Brown’s use of engaging historical and art trivia well enough to make any conspiracy devote salivate. That worked for one […]

WE ARE WHAT WE DO AND DON’T READ…

July 8th, 2014

There are many varieties of nerd, but only two real species—the serious and the nonserious—and shelves are a pretty good indication of who is which. “To expose a bookshelf,” Harvard professor Leah Price writes in Unpacking My Library, a recent collection of interviews with writers about the books they own, “is to compose a self.” […]

NO. 10 WAS AN EDUCATED GUESS…

June 14th, 2014

But I still scored 10 out of 10…

THREE PAGES A DAY OF HELL…

April 30th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 5” with William Styron: INTERVIEWER: Do you enjoy writing? STYRON: I certainly don’t. I get a fine, warm feeling when I’m doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day. Let’s face it, writing is hell. INTERVIEWER: How many […]

SEE CRAWFORD, FINDING FORRESTER

April 27th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 5” with William Styron: INTERVIEWER: What value has the creative writing course for young writers? STYRON: It gives them a start, I suppose. But it can be an awful waste of time. Look at those people who go back year after year to summer writers’ conferences, you […]

AND MORE THAN 60 YEARS LATER…?

April 26th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 4” with Irwin Shaw: SHAW: Still, for a long time, the intellectual in America has had, at least socially and psychologically, a difficult time. In the thirties the Communists were making their first big dent, and it was they who began to belittle the intellectuals in places […]

IS THIS A PENSÉE…?

April 26th, 2014

Jessica Love write: Most of us have strong intuitions about how adjectives should be strung together. More concrete, intrinsic descriptors—purple, wooden—should appear close to the noun, with more subjective, relative descriptors—stupid, nice—appearing further away. Size descriptors such as big—more situation-specific than purple, less so than stupid—ought to fall somewhere in between. What’s fun about these […]

SELF- PITY CAN BE VERY PRODUCTIVE…?

April 25th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 4” with Irwin Shaw: INTERVIEWER: Well, what about success? Certainly that’s beneficial to a writer? SHAW: To a certain extent it is. But everybody forgets that a writer who has had success—even one who’s made a lot of money on one book—may have waited fifteen years for […]

I AM FASCINATED BY THE PENSÉE…

April 24th, 2014

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 203” with Ray Bradbury: INTERVIEWER: In Zen in the Art of Writing, you wrote that early on in your career you made lists of nouns as a way to generate story ideas: the Jar, the Cistern, the Lake, the Skeleton. Do you still do this? BRADBURY: Not […]

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