Archive for the 'Chapbook' 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CAPTURING THE IDEAS, THAT IS THE HARD WORK..

July 5th, 2016

Writers get asked “Where do you get your ideas?” all the time. Most attempt to be gracious and imply that such a task is hard grueling work requiring years of mental exercise. Henry James was blunt, and honest.. Asked once when he found time to form the design of a new book, James rolled his […]

YOUR MUSE WANTS TO MAKE HER ENTRANCE…

June 28th, 2016

I need the dark, in much the same Walter Mosley does, but I have no problem seeing the advantage to this particular ritual as well. Moving from the ordinary world into the creative world does require some threshold, some transition. For the morning writing, [Toni Morrison’s ] ritual is to rise around 5:00, make coffee, […]

GREATNESS IS THE EXCLUSION OF ALL ELSE…

June 20th, 2016

There is one very important lesson I’ve learned from reading hundreds of biographies in all fields: if a person is truly great, then they have zero personal life. If you know someone who is truly great and they have an exemplary personal life then either (a) that person is a very good liar, or (b) […]

HIGH PRAISE INDEED…

May 26th, 2016

Eulogium (p. 56) Uncle Venner’s eulogium, if it appears rather too high-strained for the person and occasion, had, nevertheless, a sense in which it was both subtile and true. Modern eulogy, eulogium, Medieval Latin, from Greek eulogia praise; a commendatory oration, high praise, or writing especially in honor of one deceased . (15th century)igh From […]

MEDITATION ON KURT VONNEGUT: IX…

May 26th, 2016

The Utopian dreaming I do now had to do with encouraging cheerfulness and bravery by the formation of good gangs. — to Mark Vonnegut on 29 August 1972, p. 183Kurt Vonnegut: Letters. The best good gang that I can think of in this moment are those people Feeling The Bern. I’m unclear in my own […]

TO BE A LEADER GET IN FRONT OF THE CROWD…

May 25th, 2016

If we have some peace within ourselves, in our way of thinking, speaking and acting, we’ll be able to influence people and inspire them to go in the same direction. p. 111 From Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society by Thich Nhat Hanh There are so many ways to come at this statement: physician, heal thyself; […]

SHOULD WRITERS BE CLOCK WATCHERS…?

May 24th, 2016

At my best, when writing my first, unpublished novel, Cold Silence, I could write productively for four hours, from 8 a.m. to noon. I’m struggling these days get in three hours. Not because of any kind of block, but because of distractions: principally dogs demanding to play or just go pee. I’m working to get […]

THIS IS ONE COST OF USING WORD PROCESSORS…

May 11th, 2016

I’m old enough to have learned to write on a manual typewriter and remember the experience of retyping whole pages when I reworked a draft. Few people—possibly the better writers, I don’t know—still engage in this kind of second- or third-pass at a manuscript. The rest of us edit on the screen and only change […]

FREUD WOULD HAVE LOVED THIS STORY…

May 9th, 2016

What follows stands alone in my experience as the most odd writing ritual I have yet learned of. I suppose there are stranger rites out there, but I have my doubts. …Standing naked at his hotel-hotel room window, Wolfe found that his weariness had suddenly evaporate and that he was eager to write again. Returning […]

DECROISSANCE, MINIMALISM FOR A SMALL PLANET…

November 16th, 2015

A great deal of thought in recent years has gone into how reducing our use of material resources could be managed in ways that actually improve quality of life overall—what the French call selective degrowth. [In French, decroissance has the double meaning of challenging both growth, croissance, and croire, to believe—invoking the idea of choosing […]

NAOMI KLEIN ON THE GREAT TRANSITION, PART II…

October 21st, 2015

We will need comprehensive policies and programs that make low-carbon choices easy and convenient for everyone. Most of all, these policies need to be fair, so that the people already struggling to cover the basics are not being asked to make additional sacrifice to offset the excess consumption of the rich. That means cheap public […]

THIS SCARES THE BEJESUS OUT OF BILLIONAIRES…

October 19th, 2015

This is a message that I have done my best to repeat for most of my life: if you want to save the planet, don’t recycle, don’t reuse, feckin’ reduce the amount of crap you buy. Naomi Klein phrases the sentiment much better. Deep emission cuts in the wealthy nations have to start immediately. That […]

NAOMI KLEIN ON THE GREAT TRANSITION

October 18th, 2015

Changing the earth’s climate in ways that will be chaotic and disastrous is easier to accept than the prospect of changing the fundamental, growth-based, profit-seeking logic of capitalism. The rest of us are going to have to quickly figure out how to turn “managed degrowth” into something that looks a lot less like the Great […]

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