Archive for the 'Writing' Category

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 […]

DIGGING FOR GOLD IN THE DEEPENING BLOGPILE…

July 25th, 2016

Biggest US coal company funded dozens of climate denier groups saved 41 days ago. Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere forecast to shatter milestone saved 40 days ago. Trump bans Washington Post from officially covering his campaign saved 40 days ago. Mormon Secrets: What the Missionaries Don’t Tell saved 36 days ago. Banned Mormon Cartoon—EXTENDED VERSION […]

TIME TO SHOVEL OUT THE BLOGPILE…

July 24th, 2016

Taxpayers Really Do Subsidise Walmart’s Wage Bill saved 410 days ago. Why I Hate the Internet found so many readers saved 69 days ago. The Persuasion Reading List saved 69 days ago. Impossible To Ignore saved 67 days ago. Walmart milk plant gets $10.7 million tax breaks, ups job estimate saved 64 days ago. Let’s […]

WORK AS EPHEMERA…

July 24th, 2016

Oscar Wilde reportedly lamented on the insertion and deletion (or perhaps the deletion and the insertion) of a single comma that made up the entirely of his day’s work writing. To someone who is not a writer, that must sound like the height of absurdity, and they might be right, but there we are. Mark […]

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 […]

RALPH NADER KNOWS WHAT THE MEANING OF IS IS…

July 20th, 2016

Ralph Nader writes in Harvard Lawless School and You: Harvard Law School professors love to use hypotheticals in their classes. So let’s try one that they have not subjected their students to in its 200 years of storied history. What if the Law School split itself into two parts—each with different professors and students on […]

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 […]

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