Archive for the 'Writing' Category

WRITERS ARE WAKED BY OUR CREATIVE MINDS…

January 14th, 2017

There is something magical and damning about the moment when I slip over the edge and tumble into sleep. The magical part is the sweetness of the images that slide past in the fall. The damning part is the frantic need to scramble for a handhold like Kirk or Scotty, so that I can quickly […]

…MUST DISAPPOINTMENT ALL I ENDEAVOUR END…?

January 14th, 2017

Early in my blog days I used to post quite a bit of poetry, not so much anymore. That’s unfortunate. I came across this poem this morning in a reference by Tessa Hadley. While I don’t hold to Hopkins’ theist sentiment, the poem still moves me as a writer. Enjoy. Thou art indeed just, Lord, […]

DON’T MISTAKE THE DEEP STATE FOR A FRIEND…

January 12th, 2017

[Update @ 0610: The Guardian identifies the anonymous behind the story in Trump dossier: Christopher Steele, ex-MI6 officer, named as author ] [Update @ 0532: I would also like to add a note on the perverted sex acts alleged in the Trump Dossier. The use of the word perverted is a dangerous word because once […]

FAIR AND BALANCED?, WE THE PEOPLE DECIDE…

January 11th, 2017

[Update @ 0853: I’m taking a break—I have to get to work—but I’m noticing clues that this was written by someone for whom English is not a first language. What I’m noticing is that quite a few articles (a, an, the) are missing. Russian, for one example, does not have articles and this caused some […]

STEP 1: WRITE… STEP 2: IGNORE THE NEXT STEP…

January 7th, 2017

All books are a journey and, like Lau Tzu’s proverbial journey, all books begin with a first word, whether the word is call, it, whether, someone, once or any one of the other millions of beginnings since some long forgotten bard penned hwæt to begin the saga of Beowulf, books are just one damn word […]

LIMITATIONS AND BOUNDARIES ARE LIBERATING…

January 7th, 2017

I think that if my possibilities are limitless then I’m less likely to do what I want to do: if I can do anything, then I’m likely to do nothing. One example I sometimes use with my students is to suggest that when writing poetry, constraints—certain meters or form such as the Sonnet or the […]

THIS MAY BE THE BEST DEFINITION OF ART I KNOW…

January 1st, 2017

The Socrates Café I moderated for a number of years once spent an evening discussing the differences among craft, art and Art. We did not arrive at an answer—we almost never did—but the discussion was enjoyable. I think that Georges Simenon arrived at a definition that could have added much to our discussion. The Paris […]

SEE ALL, HEAR ALL, WRITE ALL…

December 24th, 2016

Only the rarest of writers can write without being in the world. Yes, we write from inside our heads, but we must be constantly refilling the cranial reservoirs with bits and pieces of the world we live in—we must always be in the moment. Michael Bond, writing this week’s My Writing Day for The Guardian, […]

AH, THE PERFECT JOY OF LEARNING…

December 17th, 2016

I get a bit of a bump when I read a some writing wisdom that I haven’t heard before. That’s what happened when I read this advice about removing scaffolding (those words necessary for the building of a story, but no longer needed when the story is finished) from one’s writing. I like how the […]

WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK, SUCCESS…

December 16th, 2016

Cal Newport hammers at this concept—what matters is doing the work, lots and lots of the work—again and again. There can be no magic formula or genie in the bottle that can ever substitute for doing the work. Oliver Burkeman—back from maternity leave (congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Burkeman)—writing in Are you too old to find […]

BOOKS AS FESTERING WOUNDS TO BE LANCED…

December 11th, 2016

One of the aspects of The Guardian’s My Writing Day series that I appreciate most is that some writers, like Sarah Perry, are honest about being horrible unproductive, of procrastinating, of flat out fucking off instead of writing. Writers need to know that we’re not all writing dynamos like Stephen King or Joyce Carol Oates […]

MAKING TROUBLED SLEEP WORK FOR YOU…

December 7th, 2016

While the past year has been dominated by the lead up to the November elections, a more personal focus has held my attention: getting enough sleep. In the past I’ve always been a sound sleeper, but in recent years (driven, perhaps, in no small part by my aging) (I’ve struggled to get even six hours […]

AGAIN WITH THE RUSSIANS… YOU CAN’T ESCAPE…

December 7th, 2016

Novelists, at least in the first 11 installments of the The Paris Review’s Art Of Fiction interviews, love the Russians. I feel like I need to buy a bottle of vodka and a loaf of black bread (how we used to celebrate surviving one of Dr. David Williams test on, what was then, The Soviet […]

IMMERSION VS. DETACHMENT…

December 6th, 2016

In an earlier note from Nelson Algren’s Paris Review interview, I remarked that the discussion of the need to be close to, if not still involved with, wartime experiences in order to write a war novel, seemed off to me given the large number of well considered war novels written years, if not decades after […]

SO, HOW DID STEPHEN CRANE WORK…?

November 29th, 2016

I understand what Nelson Algren is speaking about here, writing is more visceral in the moment, but time and distance can make the writing better. I think here about the difference between Ernest Hemingway’s A Movable Feast, written decades after his life in Paris vs. Norman Mailer’s The Naked And The Dead, written right after […]

ANNDDD… I’M BACK…

November 25th, 2016

As promised, I’m back from a mini-retreat from the news, but over the course of the last 16 days a lot of news was published and guess what? My world didn’t collapse. So I’ve decided to ease my way back in over the balance of 2016 and decide, probably somewhere short of my previous deep […]

SURVIVING ON $26,000 A YEAR IN NEW YORK…

November 24th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 11” with Nelson Algren: INTERVIEWER: Did you have any trouble getting The Man with the Golden Arm published? NELSON ALGREN: No, no. Nothing was easier, because I got paid before I wrote it. It got a very lucky deal because they had an awful lot of money, […]

THIS COLUMN POST WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE…

November 23rd, 2016

So, I’ve been a devotee of Julia Cameron’s morning pages from her 1992 book, The Artist’s Way, since the mid-90s when I began writing my first (yet unpublished) novel Cold Silence. My morning writing routine consisted of: Step 1—complete my morning pages, Step 2—read a Lawrence Block article from his collections of Writing Fiction columns […]

ADAM HARVEY, THE ORGANIC MECHANIC, RETURNS…

November 21st, 2016

I saw a lot of faces, that I haven’t seen in too many years at the memorial service for George Nemeth held at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library in Collinwood last evening. I stayed about twice as long as I had intended and got to catch up people who were around in the beginning of […]

WE STRUGGLE TO DISCOVER THE EFFORTLESS…

November 17th, 2016

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 10” with James Thurber: INTERVIEWER: Is the act of writing easy for you? THURBER: For me it’s mostly a question of rewriting. It’s part of a constant attempt on my part to make the finished version smooth, to make it seem effortless. A story I’ve been working […]

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