Archive for the 'Writing' Category

COULD I BE AS BRAVE AS ANDREW SULLIVAN…?

September 21st, 2016

I launched Have Coffee Will Write, the blog, on Tuesday, 9 November 2004 with LEARNING FROM HISTORY… The Republican ’20s (you’ll have to scroll to the bottom of page, this was before permalinks). A dozen years later I may be tired of all the glamor and ready to move on. Cal Newport makes the case […]

RESEARCH IS EASY, SITTING TO WRITE IS HARD…

September 18th, 2016

I’ve been reading The Guardian’s My Writing Day series for a few week now and, while I think the personal essays are interesting, none has yet spoken to me as has that by Tracy Chevalier. She struck a nerve with her frankness and insight. Chevalier, in Writing is a magic trick that still surprises me […]

ONE REASON WHY WE FEAR THE ACT OF WRITING…

September 14th, 2016

So, I finished reading Jesse Ball’s latest—How To Set A Fire And Why—this morning. I had ordered the book from my local library after reading Aditi Sriram review in The Atlantic and I’ll leave that piece to paint the broader brush, but two passages, both late in the book, stayed with me. The first comes […]

OH TO BE ABLE TO FOCUS THIS WELL….

September 11th, 2016

This is another true situation. There were times when I was so engrossed in writing or drawing the strip that I was oblivious to everything else around me. My kids could talk to me, ask for things, say stuff that didn’t make sense, and I’d simply nod and smile. An entire day could go by […]

YOU CAN’T PAY ATTENTION WHILE TEXTING…

September 11th, 2016

This is, of course, a lesson we continuously attempt to impart–-Stay Alive! Don’t text and drive!—to those navigating a ton of metal and plastic at speed down our streets and highways, but the same can be said about how we now walk through life. I wonder how many budding writers are begin crippled by always […]

TAKING A KNEE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY…

September 5th, 2016

[Update @ 0614: To the names Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid and Megan Rapinoe we can now add Nate Boyer. Kaepernick explains taking the knee. We [Kaepernick and Reid] were talking to [Nate Boyer, the former Army Green Beret and long-snapper] about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from […]

MANIPULATORS & DEPICTERS OF MORAL PROBLEMS…

September 1st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. ELLISON: You know, I’m still thinking of your question about the use of Negro experience [How representative of the American nation would you say Negro folklore is?] as material for fiction. One function of serious literature is to deal with the moral core […]

RALPH ELLISON NAILS THE AMERICAN THEME…

August 25th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. INTERVIEWER: Would you say that the search for identity is primarily an American theme? ELLISON: It is the American theme. The nature of our society is such that we are prevented from knowing who we are. It is still a young society, and […]

FROM PURPOSE TO PASSION TO PERCEPTION

August 23rd, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. INTERVIEWER: Did you have everything thought out before you began to write Invisible Man? ELLISON: The symbols and their connections were known to me. I began it with a chart of the three-part division. It was a conceptual frame with most of the […]

THE JOURNEY FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT…

August 22nd, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison. INTERVIEWER: Can you give us an example of the use of folklore in your own novel? ELLISON: There are certain themes, symbols, and images which are based on folk material. For example, there is the old saying among Negroes: If you’re black, stay […]

ALL WRITERS ARE A MINORITY OF ONE…

August 21st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison: INTERVIEWER: But isn’t it going to be difficult for the Negro writer to escape provincialism when his literature is concerned with a minority? ELLISON: All novels are about certain minorities: the individual is a minority. The universal in the novel—and isn’t that what […]

MARGE PIERCY: THE LOW ROAD

August 16th, 2016

If I had to clear my library of all other writers, Marge Piercy would remain. No writer has more deeply affected my education and my attitudes toward so many issues of social and political justice. Yesterday I noticed an uptick in hits on a particular post I wrote back in December 2012. Today, only 84 […]

HOW WE BECAME THE CAT-RACCOON’S TOYS…

August 8th, 2016

[Update at 0600 on 14 August: Garry Trudeau also gives a (probably unintentional) nod to the topic in the Sunday strip.] [Update at 1800 on 12 August: The story, and video, is blowing up with both The Guardian, John Oliver’s right—journalism is in danger, and here’s why that matters; and Mother Jones, John Oliver Takes […]

BUTT, CHAIR, WRITE, REPEAT…

August 6th, 2016

Howard Jacobson, in I’m like a painter, adding a dab of colour before popping out for absinthe for The Guardian, writes: This was a mode of work so uncomplicated it didn’t deserve to be called a routine. No neurotic rearranging of stationery, no minimum number of words, no plan, no mental deadline, no drafts – […]

INSPIRATION BE DAMNED, PAY FECKIN’ ATTENTION…!

August 5th, 2016

I would say that “Where do you get your ideas from?” is the most frequent question asked of writers, but I’ll give Hilary Mantel her due. The most frequent question writers are asked is some variant on, “Do you write every day, or do you just wait for inspiration to strike?” I want to snarl, […]

EVERY SYMPHONY BEGINS WITH A SINGLE NOTE…

August 1st, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 7” with Joyce Cary: INTERVIEWER: Could you tell us something about your working methods? CARY: Well—I write the big scenes first, that is, the scenes that carry the meaning of the book, the emotional experience. The first scene in Prisoner of Grace was that one at the […]

WE DIDN’T LEARN THIS IN JOURNALISM SCHOOL…

July 31st, 2016

We’re not watching the main event because we think the outcome is historic, we watched both political conventions, and we’ll keep watching the campaigns until November because we expected to see shit get blown up. Matt Taibbi, reporting in How Trump’s Disastrous RNC Doomed the GOP for Rolling Stone, writes: whatever their personal leanings, influential […]

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 […]

BUT ISN’T NOT WRITING WRITING? MY HEAD HURTS…

July 25th, 2016

Sebastian Faulks, in I used to pull the curtains and put in earplugs, but what kind of life is that? for The Guardian, doesn’t write: Another excellent way of not writing is to update your website. There are so many parts of it that need attention now—the last three novels are lacking summaries, the audio-visual […]

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