Category Archives: On the State of the Civilization

13 Minds

13 MINDS 1 No Mind Among twenty snowy mountains, The only moving thing Was the eye of the blackbird. Wallace Stevens: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird: I Nomind can most often be found growing along river beds and … Continue reading

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Bullies

BULLYING: on the maddening popularity of Jane Austen novels or: Whether to Write Your Congressman Bear with me on this one. We’ll get there. If you believe that, then this is for you. A Jane Austen novel is driven by … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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Poetry is dead

——————————————————————– Poetry is dead. They say. I suppose we know what that means. What poetry is, what dead is. Maybe not. When people say something like poetry is dead they mean not buried in the ground, maybe with one of … Continue reading

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What does it mean? (the reader asks)

——————————————————————– Stories are phenotropic. Events stick to them like cactus spines. When something happens, immediately we want to know why. What’s the backstory here? Who (or what) caused this? How’s it going to end? What, in other words, does it … Continue reading

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Dictée

——————————————————————– It seems important to me now to remind people of the existence of this book. Perhaps other places in the world do not need instruction on how to write about fanaticism and other political evils, but we do. Theresa … Continue reading

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Comma fault

——————————————————————– I take a lot of grief for not knowing where the commas are supposed to go, and for punctuation generally. I don’t put speech in quotes unless  it’s reported speech, and in my stories it isn’t.But the most important … Continue reading

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More on hard books

————————————————————————– Some time back I pondered the issue of why some books are hard to read. At that time I was particularly interested in difficult styles. But of course there are other reasons why a book might be hard to … Continue reading

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Shibboleths for writers: 7

Know your audience  A while back I posted some remarks on “Hard books” [28 Feb 2014] Part of the undertext there was the question of whether you should modify your writing when some people who might have been your readers … Continue reading

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Going to see the Old Ones

 A rare photo of two Old Ones, talking together. This blog has been up until now mostly about the origins of story, about the unfelt sense of the presence of the Old Ones which lifts art out of ordinary competence into … Continue reading

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