Do you want to be a writer? "Write as if you were dying.
At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon?... Every book has an intrinsic impossibility, which its writer discovers as soon as his first excitement dwindles. The problem is structural; it is insoluble; it is why no one can ever write this book. Complex stories, essays and poems have this problem, too -- the prohibitive structural defect the writer wishes he had never noticed. He writes it in spite of that." Luminous and wise writing advice from Annie Dillard
, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
, one of the most beautiful books written in the last hundred years (published when Dillard was 29). As a writer myself, I am often asked by younger folk how to become one. Dillard says best what I would tell them.
posted by digaman
on Jan 10, 2005 -
In the newest issue of Bookforum
, critic Sven Birkerts ruminates on what he considers to be the regrettable rise of the snarky book review, taking as his starting example Dale Peck's hatchet job on Rick Moody, written in 2002. "Psychologically [the literary] landscape [is one that is] subtly demoralized by the slash-and-burn of bottom-line economics; the modernist/humanist assumption of art and social criticism marching forward, leading the way, has not recovered from the wholesale flight of academia into theory; the publishing world remains tyrannized in acquisition, marketing, and sales by the mentality of the blockbuster; the confident authority of print journalism has been challenged by the proliferation of online alternatives. [...] All of this leads, and not all that circuitously, to the question of snark, the spirit of negativity, the personal animus pushing ahead of the intellectual or critical agenda. Snark is, I believe, prompted by the terrible vacuum feeling of not mattering, not connecting, not being heard; it is fueled by rage at the same."
posted by Prospero
on Apr 4, 2004 -
Operation Teenage Angst Fest.
Is all the war talk getting you down? Make like your younger self and wallow in some self-obsessed teen angst. You might even want to dig our your old journals and submit
. Keep in mind the cardinal rule
, though: it has to suck.
posted by maud
on Mar 29, 2003 -
Writing about child porn/abuse is artistic.
Robin Sharpe has successfully defended himself against child porn acusations; case went all the way to the SC in Canada.
In unrelated news (except that both stories are from the front page of the Toronto Star) a Taiwan scientist has created
a bubble (soap) that you literally can't burst, no matter how hard you try, for days.
posted by Why
on Mar 26, 2002 -
was mentioned briefly in another thread several days ago, but I thought it was time it had its own forum, since it's quite possibly the stupidest, most infuriating article you'll read all year (and it's only February). Let's see: poverty is positive because, "hey, I'm a writer!" Right. Now go get a job. (Scalzi
has a fine piece about the article).
posted by sassone
on Feb 10, 2002 -
, each month, invites writers to submit stories based on a black and white picture. It's approaching two years of operation. Lately it has reached the stage where its submission rate has been fading. How best do good open-call submission sites like this one attract/ maintain/ renew an active participant base?
posted by TimTypeZed
on Jun 13, 2001 -
A friend of mine has started posting a [true] story
on ThemeStream. Interesting reading (if somewhat smutty and violent).
Plus, ThemeStream's royalty rate goes down soon, so read them now and help him suck even more VC money :)
posted by faisal
on Sep 14, 2000 -
Are You 3000 Plus?
Find out just how good your web writing is with this revolutionary online tool developed by the super-secret TSD Labs. Complex natural language analysis is performed to determine the complexity, readability, and likability of your writing.
posted by daveadams
on Apr 2, 2000 -