Sunday, April 20, 2014

Theme: Writing

  • Before my reading yesterday, I sat there and sat there and sat there (nervous, sitting through my nerves, the life of nerves, the work of nerves) waiting for my turn to read and thinking about how I now know there are things we can only say to each other, about each other, about living, in writing. That we can only respond to certain things in writing. And how we can only know and recognize certain things when they’re written down. Read more
  • It's a truth universally acknowledged, and confirmed by VIDA, that, though women read more books than men, and female authors are published in comparable numbers, they are more easily overlooked: a smaller presence in literary journals both as reviewers, and the reviewed, they also account for fewer literary translations.Read more
  • The art of biography, we say — but at once go on to ask, is biography an art? The question is foolish perhaps, and ungenerous certainly, considering the keen pleasure that biographers have given us. But the question asks itself so often that there must be something behind it. There it is, whenever a new biography is opened, casting its shadow on the page; and there would seem to be something deadly in that shadow, for after all, of the multitude of lives that are written, how few survive!Read more
  • What we do with our bodies when we read and write with new media and new media interfaces is becoming qualitatively different to our quiet and relatively still engagement in the scenes and scenarios of bookish writing and reading. Gesture is elicited from us when we play with or operate technologies and read texts, and writers seem to be actively programming texts that express behaviors such as movement and sound, and we contend that these changes, apparently minor in their everydayness, are more significant than might first appear.Read more
  • 1. After you move back home to work on your novel, slump into a depression. Feel like nothing really matters. Open up MS Word a lot but don’t type much. Make a video for one of the two stories you wrote the year after grad school, which feels silly because stories aren’t about videos.Read more
  • As I grow engrossed in the writing, I feel the benevolent spirits of my aunts hovering close by. They were avid readers, as is my mother, their younger sister. My grandmother (the same one who crocheted the afghan) was mystified by this love of literature; when one of her daughters brought home some new title, she would say, ''Another book? Don't you already have one?" Read more
  • I was 7 when I first watched The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s classic film adaptation about a family living in an empty hotel as caretakers for a cold winter. Jack, the father, quickly transcends on a journey to madness, triggered in part by the family’s alienation. As a 7-year-old, I empathized with Danny, Jack’s son. When I last watched the movie as an adult, I found myself siding with Jack, the violent, psychotic father losing his mind. I expressed my envy for the chance Jack had to isolate himself from his surroundings and to be alone with his thoughts. Jack could utterly concentrate on his writing sans the distractions others create.Read more
  • In reading the recently published Memoirs and Correspondence of John Murray, a very interesting and valuable piece of biography, albeit somewhat lengthy for these hurried days, we are forcibly impressed with one surprising truth which we were far from suspecting in our ignorance namely, that the publisher’s life, like the policeman’s, is not a happy one, but filled to the brim with vexations peculiarly his own. It was as much the fashion in Murray’s time as it is in ours to bewail the hard fate of down-trodden authors, and to hint that he who prints the book absorbs the praise and profit which belong in justice to him who writes it. Read more
  • Those that have very quick Thoughts, shall speak readier than write; because in speaking they are not tied to any style or number: besides, in speaking, Thoughts lie loose and careless; but in writing they are gathered up, and are like water in a Cup whose mouth is held downward; for every drop striving to be out first, stops the passage: or like the common people in an uproar, that run without order, and disperse without success; when slow and strong Thoughts come well-armed and in good order; discharge with courage, and go off with honour.Read more
  • I came across these jingling rhymes in a newspaper, a little while ago, and read them a couple of times. They took instant and entire possession of me. All through breakfast they went waltzing through my brain; and when, at last, I rolled up my napkin, I could not tell whether I had eaten anything or not. I had carefully laid out my day's work the day before—thrilling tragedy in the novel which I am writing.Read more
  • Since this is a paper about the computational context of literary writing, and to some extent poetry, I have invested heavily in metaphor, at least as far as the title is concerned. Taking key terms in no particular order: by end I mean not so much terminus as singularity or convergence of opposites, that defining, indefinable point where turn becomes return as one state gives way to another; from the imperative lift.Read more
  • If an essay on Criticism were a serious matter; for, though this age be emphatically critical, the writer would still find it necessary to investigate the laws of criticism as a science, to settle its conditions as an art. Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions. Read more
  • “The idea that everyone has a story to tell (which underlies the notion that anyone can write since all a writer needs is a story) is strictly correct,” Jenny Diski said, writing in the London Review of Books (7 Mar, 21) about Marco Roth’s memoir, The Scientists: A Family Romance. Well, Henry James thought so, anyway. Continued Diski, echoing James, “If you were born, you’re in there with a story.”Read more
  • I should not have affixed so comprehensive a title to these few remarks, necessarily wanting in any completeness, upon a subject the full consideration of which would carry us far, did I not seem to discover a pretext for my temerity in the interesting pamphlet lately published under this name by Mr. Walter Besant. Read more
  • In making any survey, even the freest and loosest, of modern fiction, it is difficult not to take it for granted that the modern practice of the art is somehow an improvement upon the old. With their simple tools and primitive materials, it might be said, Fielding did well and Jane Austen even better, but compare their opportunities with ours!Read more
  • I began by anatomical investigations on a dead Mallard which I found washed up on the beach, lovingly stripping off each layer of muscle, boiling up and reassembling the skeleton. Then, everything was drawn; from several angles. There were several mishaps: like when I glued a small bone to my hand with Superglue and couldn’t get it off.Read more
  • Great men are more distinguished by range and extent than by originality. If we require the originality which consists in weaving, like a spider, their web from their own bowels; in finding clay, and making bricks, and building the house; no great men are original. Nor does valuable originality consist in unlikeness to other men.Read more
  • I've just finished a review of a recent monograph on a mediaeval Arabic scholar in which I noted a few translation and typographical errors, commended the philology involved, and gave a synopsis of the contents. So much, so unsurprising; this is the way my field works.Read more
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