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Career Implies I Had A Career Plan

Novelist Neil Gaiman tells the graduating 2012 class of the University Of The Arts everything he wishes he knew starting out and all the best advice he failed to follow. (Vimeo 19:55)
posted by The Whelk on May 18, 2012 - 20 comments

What is the meaning of malady?

"As a career patient, I’ve learned one thing at least: the importance of clinging to the rag-end of your sense of self, however you define it—intellect, sense of humor, generosity of spirit, a stoicism worthy of Seneca or Mr. Spock, or, in a writer’s case, the mind that makes sense of itself as a reflection in the mirror of language. In the M.A.S.H.-unit chaos of the E.R.; in the nowhere, notime of the hospital room; in the O.R., where the euphoria of oncoming anesthesia and the doting attentions of apparitions in scrubs make you understand, in an instant, the perverse seductions of Munchausen’s Syndrome as you ride into the stage-light radiance on your gurney like the Son of Heaven in his sedan chair, feeling for all the world like a pathological celebrity—in these moments of inescapable embodiment, I’ve learned to float free in my head, a thought balloon untethered from the body on the sickbed or the operating table."
-A Season in Hell by (Mefite) Mark Dery [Previously]
posted by lemuring on Apr 13, 2012 - 10 comments

"You should say Dad."

'My son got a very low mark': Writer Ian McEwan describes the odd experience of helping his son with an A-level essay about one of his novels, Enduring Love, and finding his son's teacher disagreed with his interpretation of the novel. This is an excerpt from Ian Katz's interview with McEwan at the Guardian's Open Weekend festival on 24 March 2012. [Full Interview]
posted by Fizz on Apr 11, 2012 - 80 comments

“Digitize Her!”

Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!
In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 1, 2012 - 28 comments

"...whatever job you take, you're going to spend a lot of time there. You should try to make it fun."

In 2007, the Madison (WI) Police Department hired their first civilian Public Information Officer: former reporter Joel DeSpain. Over the last five years, Mr. DeSpain has reportedly combined "humor, a flair for the dramatic and sense of the absurd", and turned the mundane Madison Police Blotter into an "art form and a thing of joy." So Why Has Madison Wisconsin Has Become the Weird News Capitol of the Midwest? Meet the United States’ most whimsical police reporter. (Last one's a gawker link. If you dislike their site / interface, have no fear: all reports in that article (plus four extras) can be found after the jump.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 28, 2012 - 19 comments

Plotto

William Wallace Cook, seeking to help mechanize the art of novel writing, came up with the 1462 possible plots for all stories. He then devised the Plotto system, whereby an author need only consult the book of plots to construct the next best seller.
posted by reenum on Jan 8, 2012 - 58 comments

End of An Era?

A couple of commentators present conflicting arguments about whether the golden age of tech blogging is over.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2011 - 38 comments

Messy. Crazy. Brilliant. Insane. Reporter.

How Do You Explain Gene Weingarten? (Via). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 6, 2011 - 26 comments

Blaise Cendrars

Reading Blaise Cendrars is like stepping into another universe. His fiction is unlike anything else I've ever read. His poetry influenced the mighty Guillaume Apollinaire and helped shape the face of modernism. But it is his mockery of biographical detail and the very notion of literature that fascinates me the most. If, like me, you're not a fan of autobiography, then Blaise Cendrars is the memoirist for you.
posted by Trurl on Nov 30, 2011 - 10 comments

Beattitudes

The Nation's William Deresiewicz looks at Ann Beattie's evolution as a writer.
posted by reenum on Nov 28, 2011 - 5 comments

påske-krim

How do you write crime fiction in the wake of a massacre? The mass slaughter on Utøya in July shook Norway to its core. Now the country's crime writers must come to terms with what happened…
posted by infini on Nov 20, 2011 - 16 comments

A.J. Liebling

[A.J.] Liebling didn’t invent The New Yorker’s fascination with work, with letting its interview subjects explain what they did for a living. But he did it very well, and his pudgy hand sits comfortably on the shoulders of the next generation, writers like Roger Angell or John McPhee. They are all of them purveyors of non-essential information, and the enormous pleasure we take in them is in inverse proportion to any actual need we have to know.
posted by Trurl on Nov 3, 2011 - 10 comments

"Big Bang" in Belarus

Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more? There's always Belarus's unauthorized copy of the show, titled "The Theorists".
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2011 - 94 comments

Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan

Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan, 3rd Edition (not to be confused with Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major's Lifetime Reading Plan, 4th Edition) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 13, 2011 - 34 comments

The essays of Kenneth Rexroth

The poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth, one of the central figures in the San Francisco Renaissance, only wrote prose for money. But he did it very well. (way previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 3, 2011 - 8 comments

When they sit next to you, they see possibility.

Anatomy of a Writer. "Like the protagonist of 1984, who risked his life to purchase a notebook and signed it away by filling it with words, writers sometimes find themselves huddled in a corner, crouching onto their guilty pleasure protectively, hoping that their spouse, or friends won’t catch them at it."
posted by Phire on Jun 26, 2011 - 13 comments

The End of the Story

Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jun 20, 2011 - 83 comments

"And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too."

"I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me." VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.
posted by Fizz on Jun 3, 2011 - 289 comments

Interviews with writers, producers, and directors...

On Story is a new series which takes a look at the creative process of filmmaking through the eyes of some of the entertainment industry's most prolific writers, directors and producers. Each episode will also showcase short films from the region's most promising filmmakers.
posted by dobbs on May 15, 2011 - 1 comment

Let's get the chicks and kick it. Tony?

Arthur Laurents (wiki), writer of the libretti for West Side Story and Gypsy, among many other things, has died at the age of 93. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on May 6, 2011 - 15 comments

The woman behind the Vitameatavegamin Girl

Madelyn Pugh Davis, one of the three masterminds behind I Love Lucy and a pioneer for women writers in radio and television, has gone on to the great Vitameatavegamin commercial in the sky. She was 90. [more inside]
posted by scody on Apr 21, 2011 - 20 comments

David S. Broder, RIP

David S. Broder: Reporter. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 9, 2011 - 19 comments

Its only words, and words are all I have

Binyavanga Wainaina remembers one night in the Kenyan countryside as a young man, an excerpt from his soon to be published memoir One Day I Will Write About This Place. [more inside]
posted by infini on Feb 22, 2011 - 4 comments

Henry Roth

Henry Roth had one of the most anomalous careers in modern letters: a brilliant novel at age twenty-eight, the incomparable Call It Sleep, lost for thirty years but never quite forgotten, then a torrent of words let loose in his seventies and eighties. ... Roth continued to resist any single explanation for his catastrophic writer's block, but it became evident that it was the incest, and the self-loathing that accompanied it, that threw the biggest roadblock across his path. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Jan 12, 2011 - 7 comments

"Desperately Seeking Susan" [Sontag]

"Desperately Seeking Susan" [Sontag] [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 12, 2010 - 14 comments

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig (November 28, 1881 – February 22, 1942) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 17, 2010 - 8 comments

"Poetry is still beautiful, taking me with it."

A memoir of living with a brain tumour: "For art critic Tom Lubbock, language has been his life and his livelihood. But in 2008, he developed a lethal brain tumour and was told he would slowly lose control over speech and writing. This is his account of what happens when words slip away." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 13, 2010 - 11 comments

James Hadley Chase

James Hadley Chase's No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1939) did for the gangster novel what Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep did in the same year for the private-eye novel. Both works were clarifiers, intensifiers, transformers. ... But, as so often happens, Orwell raises the important questions, and it is his essay that has kept No Orchids for Miss Blandish alive for serious consideration. (links may contain mildly NSFW cover art) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 17, 2010 - 6 comments

"Engagement, escape, engagement, escape."

"In the making of character, I feel completely happy. [...] I get two innocent people into a Hitchcockian muddle and make them fight their way out. But from scene to scene, they have to lead me. [...] To me, that is the whole of life. I can’t put it differently." Today's Democracy Now! features an extended interview with John le Carré on topics from Tony Blair, geopolitics, and money laundering to the novelist's life and work.
posted by RogerB on Oct 11, 2010 - 10 comments

The humor writing of Miles Kington

High court hangups and There's no place like a hotel are short humor pieces by Miles Kington featuring the Socratically uncooperative testimony of one Mr Chrysler who's accused of stealing 40,000 hangers from hotels. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Oct 1, 2010 - 9 comments

Manly Wade Wellman: Writer of the Weird

Manly Wade Wellman is probably best known for his eerie tales of Silver John, stories of a traveling balladeer and the weirdness he encountered in the southern Appalachians. Wellman was also an avid student of southern folklore and mountain music. His associations with Bascom Lamar Lunsford and Obray Ramsey served as inspirations for the Silver John character. In addition to his macabre tales of the American South, Wellman was an award-winning mystery author (beating William Faulkner for the prize) and ghost wrote Will Eisner's The Spirit while Eisner was in the army. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Sep 18, 2010 - 24 comments

Explicit writings you should not read at work or anywhere else you can could into trouble for reading extremely explicit blog posts

Not Safe For Work writings by Chelesa G. Summers are below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 22, 2010 - 11 comments

Truth to power.

Gil Scott-Heron, Godfather of Rap. Parts 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 and 6.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 16, 2010 - 19 comments

All The World's An MP3

The American Theatre Wing hosts MP3 interviews with actors, directors, playwrights and other artists. e.g. Stephen Sondheim and Anna Deavere Smith and F. Murray Abraham and Eric Bogosian and John Patrick Shanley and Edward Albee and Venessa Redgrave and Alan Ayckbourn and...
posted by grumblebee on Mar 23, 2010 - 8 comments

A Blog About Plays

Blog: Daily Plays. "Reading a play a day and writing about what I read."
posted by grumblebee on Mar 9, 2010 - 4 comments

Plagiarism or Literary Remix?

17 year old prodigy Helene Hegemann admits that her bestseller "Axolotl Roadkill" is not as original as previously assumed. "The publication last month of her novel about a 16-year-old exploring Berlin’s drug and club scene after the death of her mother, called “Axolotl Roadkill,” was heralded far and wide in German newspapers and magazines as a tremendous debut, particularly for such a young author. The book shot to No. 5 this week on the magazine Spiegel’s hardcover best-seller list", writes the New York Times. Unfortunately, parts of it were lifted. "It's not plagiarism", says the author. [more inside]
posted by Omnomnom on Feb 12, 2010 - 111 comments

RIP Paul Quarrington 1953-2010

Canadian author Paul Quarrington - best known for his 1989 novel Whale Music, about a reclusive Brian Wilson figure holed up in a beach house writing songs to play for cetaceans - has died of lung cancer this morning at the age of 56. [more inside]
posted by gompa on Jan 21, 2010 - 19 comments

Dan O'Bannon, gone to the great outerspace oil refinery in the sky

Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, probably best known for his work on Alien, as well numerous other science fiction films, has passed away age 63.
posted by Artw on Dec 18, 2009 - 70 comments

Abyssal chthonic resonator

RIP Robert Holdstock, writer of the Mythago Wood series and many other award winning fantasy novels.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 30, 2009 - 33 comments

Cormac McCarthy on The Road, fatherly love, the end of the world and lots of other things

In a soft voice, chuckling frequently and gazing intently with gray-green eyes, Mr. McCarthy talked about books vs. films, the apocalypse, fathers and sons, past and future projects, how he writes—and God. [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 20, 2009 - 47 comments

Gone too soon.

Author and educator Frank McCourt, dead at 78.
posted by blaneyphoto on Jul 19, 2009 - 62 comments

...ink by the barrel...

Negative reviews prompt author meltdowns: Alice Hoffman. Lee Oi-soo. Alain de Botton. Ayelet Waldman. Previously on MeFi. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 1, 2009 - 30 comments

A Temple of Texts

William Gass's personal library. The photos accompany this article by Gass about his love of books -- specifically about collecting them over his life and "living in a library." [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 8, 2009 - 21 comments

A brilliant talent gone too soon. Breece D'J Pancake.

Transcripts of a troubled mind tells the life and times of Breece D'J Pancake, a brilliant young writer from South Charleston, West Virginia. In a raw, stripped down style, much of his work focused on the people and the language of the Appalachia He committed suicide at the age of 29 and left behind a small, but powerful collection of stories
posted by scarello on Nov 7, 2008 - 22 comments

Sug as in sugar, rue as in rue the fucking day

James Crumley, Crime Novelist, Is Dead at 68 [more inside]
posted by Divine_Wino on Sep 25, 2008 - 15 comments

Condensed: 'Care, constraint, concise, cut, character, clarity, and charity.'

How to Write With Style.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 13, 2008 - 36 comments

"The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor..."

The Willa Cather Archive is an incredible resource provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including biographies, letters, photos, and even full (often annotated) text of much of her writing, including scholarly editions of two of her greatest (and most famous) works, My Antonia and O Pioneers. About the archive.
posted by dersins on May 22, 2008 - 8 comments

Fine Lampwork Beads by Kim Neely

Kim Neely has enjoyed a very rich professional life already. A writer for Rolling Stone for fifteen years, she also penned the Pearl Jam biography. These days find Kim involved in an entirely different pursuit. Lampworking is a type of glass work that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. At her mom's unused workshop Kim created Bluff Road Art Glass. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 15, 2008 - 7 comments

This is the way the world ends

Superstar Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is about to tear the DC Universe apart again with Final Crisis, the latest in a series of apocalypses and world ending events he's inflicted on various comics worlds over the years. But there was a time before fame when he wrote the tie-in comic for ZOIDS, the robot dinosaur children's toy. So what did he do? Ushered in the apocalypse, in the form of THE BLACK ZOID.
posted by Artw on Apr 17, 2008 - 74 comments

Let's think of it as a thank-you note

"I love reading your letters—I do. But I couldn't get into it. I just don't have a column in me this week." A sweet, sad eulogy from columnist Dan Savage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 9, 2008 - 73 comments

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