Not much, really.
- Nov. 1 — Totally blazed. Got off to a good start, if not a great, fantabulous one.
- Nov. 2 — Totally blazed, and then lost it all.
- Nov. 3 — Recovered/reconstituted the lost work on Nov. 2, add some decent stuff, but of course got behind.
- Nov. 4 — Between yard work and Sandy-related cleanup, and getting my son where he needed to be, didn’t write a word.
- Nov. 5 — It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do. So we shall see what happens.
Let’s see where this goes…
Thanks to some hard work, I’ve managed to restore most of what I lost when my browser crashed on me. Maybe it’s even a little better.
Now I have a couple of backups. Duh. Onward NaNoWriMo! or NaNoWriMo Ho!
Now there’s yardwork to do.
A couple of days ago, I was walking home from the grocery store. It was after school had let out, and it was Halloween. In front of me, on the sidewalk, around the corner from my house, a couple of kids were walking, a boy and a girl, and the girl was carrying a single red rose. Maybe early teens. I liked that image, the boy and girl walking together, the girl carrying a rose, the sky overcast, the rose the only real color on a gray day. About them? Nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy, except while they were together, it was clear they weren’t together. Continue reading
For anyone who didn’t know, today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50.000 words during the month of November. My former professor and member of my personal pantheon of interesting minds, Roger Lathbury, did it a couple of years ago.
But what about this, then? To actually write 50,000 words in 30 days? Let’s break that down: it’s about 1700 words a day. Can I do it? Sure, I can write 1700 words a day.
In reality, I’ve probably written 5000 or more words in a day many times – but then likely spent the next several weeks marveling at where the heck that came from. Continue reading
As my nifty little wireless Brother laser printer churns out pages behind me, in preparation for a video I’m making on making my own books (stay tuned), and the massive hurricane Sandy makes its way up the coast to turn off my power, knock down my neighbors’ trees, wreak celestial havoc, and generally maybe just eat the East Coast, I just wanted to get in a post on great new stuff from Poets & Writers magazine, where, back in the days when I was working in publishing, I once applied for a job, and which, also many years ago, ran a piece of mine on simultaneous submissions.
(For my money, P&W mag, even in the old days when I first subscribed to the magazine called Coda, has the most news writers can use. Some right thinking philanthropist needs to help P&W get their whole magazine on line, for electronic subscription. Seriously. P&W, how much would it cost?)
Talk about your serendipity. In the new edition, which arrived in my mailbox on Friday, there’s a substantial piece on independent publishing, featuring the family affairs that are Two Dollar Radio, Ig, and Small Beer Press, which publishes the awesome Elizabeth Hand. Continue reading
When I started looking for a job in publishing after moving to New York many years ago, the reason was simple. I wanted to know how it worked. It seemed a sensible thing for a writer (who at that time had written two unpublished novels and was working on a third) to know.
At that very early point in my literary career, my sole publishing “success” was a letter to the editor in Harper’s magazine. The letter, which I still have somewhere, was in response to a piece by Madison Smartt Bell (wow, Dragon Dictate got the correct spelling of his middle name) on “brat pack” fiction.
Interesting story on The Millions : Why Are So Many Literary Writers Shifting into Genre? by Kim Wright. “Once upon a time,” she writes,
genre was treated as almost a different industry from literary fiction, ignored by critics, sneered at by literary writers, relegated by publishers to imprint ghettos. But the dirty little and not-particularly-well-kept secret was that, thanks to the loyalty of their fans and the relatively rapid production of their authors, these genre books were the ones who kept the entire operation in business. All those snobbish literary writers had better have hoped like hell that their publishers had enough genre moneymakers in house to finance the advance for their latest beautifully rendered and experimentally structured observation of upper class angst.
Seems to me that her somewhat ironic and overstated take is accurate.
From my perspective, one of the issues In ghettoizing books into genre is the perennnial need to arm a sales force with some handle to sell books. Got a treatise on treating corns and bunnions? No problem whatsoever for the sales force. That is something that people with corns and bunnions need. Nobody, in the strictest sense, “needs” fiction. So, got a novel with a lot of baseball in it that’s not baseball? Who, in the strictest sense, needs that? Got a novel about
I don’t think it’s entirely new that “mainstream” literary writers are “shifting” into genre (and neither does Wright). I kind of think all of this is sort of coincidental. In my own case with my new novel, THE FINAL APPEARANCE OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE GIRL NEXT DOOR, I could not have told the story I wanted to tell without a bit of genre-bending. The funny (to me) think about all of this is that we’d totally accept such excursions if we saw them in the movies, but it is somehow a Problem in selling a novel.
To me, this seems just another way that mainstream (i.e., not indie) publishing has chased itself So far up a very tall tree that it’s no longer very easy to see the ground.
Quo Vadis the Book?
If the eBook is ascendent, who or what else is also ascendent?
The excessively simple narrative of the history of book publishing goes sort of like this: writers hired printing presses to bring their work into the world in book or other form. To protect writers from unscrupulous printers, there arose publishers who would pay the writers a fair rate and also make money. But the scruple-less roamed the land and so came literary agents to protect writers from unscrupulous publishers, and also make a buck.
And this model worked reasonably well for a while until hypertext came along and screwed up everything.
But it’s a way slo-mo earth quake, this screwing up of things that hypertext hath wrought. Continue reading
All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking. –fr. “Meditation at Lagunitas,” by Robert Hass
The idea has been percolating in my head for some time now that a serious component of most, if not all, literary fiction–and that may also include poetry–is fundamentally underlaid by grief.
If not the search for lost time, then the attempt to regain it, place some animal moment in amber and crystallize it.
I am only speaking for myself here, but I had one of those moments, not too long ago, where a revelation is visited upon you that makes your head snap back. For me, that revelation came in the form of a short story
by my kindergarten best friend, Paul Witcover
, that is nominally about the summer of his mother’s death, and then later a conversation with a wise lady who gently pointed out to me–when I protested I was not grieving yet
, because my father hadn’t yet died (he has now)–that grief tends to surround us. That every path taken represents a lot of paths not taken, and that those paths left to go fallow can be the genesis of griefs large and small. Continue reading