A writer’s education

A writer’s education

A trip though the online discussion groups which have threads involving advice to aspiring writers is revealing: a great many haven’t a clue how to go about writing a story or a novel. Mostly a novel — it’s the prestige form. Writers want to see their book on the bookstore shelves, or in Amazon. Never mind that the novel is the most difficult form of fiction to do.

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Obsolescence

Quite a few years ago, maybe 1995, I wrote a science fiction novel of a rather ordinary sort about some astronomers who were part of a generations-long project to send a probe to a nearby solar system which had a planet it was thought probable would support human life.

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The new Mysteries of Paris

Mirable dictu, a new translation of Eugène Sue’s Mystères de Paris has been published after 171 years. It is difficult to believe, considering the book’s unprecedented popularity, that it fell so rapidly and thoroughly out of English-speaking readers’ consciousness lets us know that the late 20th century practice of the blockbuster is not as new as we think it is.

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Paul and Theo: children’s literature now and how it was

My friend Paul Mosier writes super children’s books. Well, not children, exactly…

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The Vanilla Library, with a glance at Chris Kraus

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I Love Dick. Semiotext(e), 1997: Chris Kraus and the vanilla library
In an article by Elaine Blair in a recent issue of the New Yorker (11/21/16 p42-47) “A Female Anti-Hero” she notes that Kraus’s novel sold 100 copies a year until it first attracted any real notice in 2006. … the writer’s business is not to find her audience but to make it. The author who strives only to put another can of beans on the shelf … [read more]

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Among the Natives

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You can turn off the background music with the button in the upper right corner. One button is the Chinese character for chi, breath or life. The other is a crushed chi.

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Burying the sun

default

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You can turn off the background music with the button in the upper right corner. One button is the Chinese character for chi, breath or life. The other is a crushed chi.

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Old, eccentric, tuo zio

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You can turn off the background music with the button in the upper right corner. One button is the Chinese character for chi, breath or life. The other is a crushed chi.

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Is noir hardboiled?

+Trash

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Last week I was provoked by political and social developments to write something of my feelings and this blog was my best opportunity, so I added some remarks at the top of an already published post, and apologized for its being so little, but it was what I could do to stand up for the values I have lived by and which are now threatened. I will continue to add these notes to already planned and written posts, which may still be of some interest.

General and President Ulysses S Grant

When Lincoln finally found Grant one of the things he said about him was “I like him. He fights.” Previous generals had waffled and prevaricated. Grant knew what this war was and what was expected of him. The loss of life was appalling. So far you may think I speak in the name of Trump, his supporters, and the legitimately aggrieved of our country. I do not. Why I do not is as much or more to do with what happened after. At Appomattox, Lee and his army were treated with dignity and humanity. They were allowed to go home without reprisals. They were allowed to keep their ceremonial weapons and such of their others as they might need to feed their families in the future. Lee himself was treated with quiet retrospect.
As a president, Grant was the last to defend Lincoln’s reconstruction policies which might have healed the wounds and the gap between the modernist industrial north and the agrarian traditional south and gone some way to lease us a rational rational policy which might have done much to relieve our present vicious hostility to Blacks, Muslims, Latinos, and others whose rights and very lives we put at naught.
It was not to be, We were left to the mercy of greed, corruption, naked self-interest, and the worst ravages of market capitalism. And the Ku Klux Klan and the horrors of violence and evil. It is important to remember that Grant was a humble person. He slept in his clothes. He wore few symbols of his authority.
I am no historian. People better than I will dispute with me. But look at what we face now. That may be what we deserve, but who does it benefit? I’m too old to have much at stake except my life, what little there is of it, and my livelihood, both of which were to go to benefit not me but my — no, our — children and theirs. It is they for whom I weep.

You can turn off the background music with the button in the upper right corner. One button is the Chinese character for chi, breath or life. The other is a crushed chi.

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On Reshelving Your Library

Friends: I never thought it and I wish it hasn’t happened, but my science fiction novel E has become a prescient critique of the threat to democracy we now face. It may be crass of me to use this crisis to sell a book but the fact is an old man in a wheelchair has to stand up somehow, and this is what I can do. The book is on the sidebar of this post and I hope it scares the daylights out of you because it’s supposed to. I must and need to say something for democratic values and this is my statement.

Kabuki

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You can turn off the background music with the button in the upper right corner. One button is the Chinese character for chi, breath or life. The other is a crushed chi.

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