Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
More more youtuberie, click on the tag below.
It’s fitting somehow that the only Mexican writer to explode onto the American literary scene in recent years is 1) dead, and 2) not Mexican. From 2005-2007, the Chilean-born Bolaño--- who died in 2003--- logged four stories in The New Yorker, more than any other translated author except for Murakami. A few thoughts, then, on the search for the next Mexican crossover:
My pick: Guillermo Fadanelli
Almost completely untranslated in English and little read outside of Mexico, the forty-something Fadanelli is the greying bad boy of Mexican letters, a brutal and fluid stylist with the kind of once-in-a-generation voice that takes your breath away. Like Murakami, he is heavily influenced by American writers; like an edgier Bolaño, he sits at the center of a small, strange Mexico City literary underworld; yet he is unlike either of them or anyone else in his combination of high/low language, vision and sensibility. Hopefully he won’t have to wait until he’s dead to rock the USA.
Breakthrough book: La Otra Cara de Rock Hudson
You can taste the Mexican curb in this one. And it tastes so bad that it tastes good.
Best book so far: Lodo
This one was a finalist for the Rómulo Gallegos prize; Fadanelli took more than a year to write it, which was the longest he’d ever worked on a book. It shows.
A list of short fiction in The New Yorker, 2003-2007 (in The Millions blog)
Check out this interesting list and analysis of most every story published in The New Yorker over the last five years. Note: one of Bolaño’s stories in the December 26 2005 issue is notably missing.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Flash, or micro-fictions are stories as short as six and as long as, say, 1,000 words. Though a genre with a distinguished tradition, flash fiction is perfectly suited for blogging and podcasting. For both beginning and advanced writers, this workshop will focus on improving your fiction-writing craft and generating new material. For more information about this workshop, click here.
P.S. Help yourself to the Giant Golden Buddha & 364 More 5 minute writing exercises.
What is WIKIPOLITICS? It is the power of mass political collaboration--– the power to change everything. It is an American style constitutional power--- of the people, by the people and for the people. Obama is the first candidate to practice WIKIPOLITICS.... READ MORE
(On this subject, see also my recent post about D.J. Lightbolt's Youtube video for Obama. "Whoever wins, when the history of this presidential campaign is written, a key part of it will be the participatory nature of Obama's campaign... " READ MORE
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
#1. The Letters of Giuseppe Verdi
Alas! out of print, but available at abebooks.com At the conclusion of the 1972 New York Times review of these letters, the reviewer could only say, "What a man." And indeed, Verdi was. This is a book not only for music lovers, but for any artist, of any kind. Listen to Verdi berate his librettist: "You talk to me about 100 syllables!! And it's obvious that 100 syllables aren't enough when you take 25 to say the sun is setting!!!"
#2. The Letters of Gustave Flaubert, vol. 1 and vol. 2
Wonderfully translated letters of the author of Madame Bovary. These books are just jammed with gems. For Flaubert, writing was agony, and he wrote about his search for the exact word so eloquently, "I am the obscure and patient pearl-fisher, who dives deep and comes up empty-handed and blue in the face."
#3. One Art: Letters, Selected and Edited, of Elizabeth Bishop
The letters of one of America's greatest poets. Reading them is a course in courage and ethics. It's worth getting the book just to see how she takes Robert Lowell to task for exposing the private lives of others in his poetry.
#4. The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
(Check to see if you can get a good price on the three-volume Bulfinch set. It's got it all.)
Letters by this great artist who was, as it turns out, perhaps the best-read painter who ever lived. He loved books, and many of his letters are about the writers he admired. It's difficult to read these letters as they approach the inevitable end to his life. You feel the sad resignation of a man who knows he's drowning. Still, his passions stay with you.
#5. The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams, vol. 1 and vol. 2
It's amazing how he did it. What a hardscrabble life he led before he hit the big time. It seems like a quarter of the letters in the first volume are to his agent asking for twenty or thirty bucks so he can get his typewriter out of hock. But what resolve!
---> For the archive of previous guest-blog posts, click here.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
"Under George W. Bush, the United States has not lived up to its historic role as a leader in the Western Hemisphere. As president, I will restore that leadership by working to advance the common prosperity and security of all of the people of the Americas. That work must begin with a renewed strategic partnership with Mexico.
Mr. Bush took office vowing to make the Americas a top priority. But over the last seven years, the administration's approach to this issue has been clumsy, disinterested and, above all, distracted by the war in Iraq. Indeed, relations have not fully recovered since Mexico refused to fall in line with President Bush's rush to war.
Mexico's President Felipe Calderon just traveled across the United States but didn't even go to Washington, which isn't that surprising given how little Mr. Bush has done
to improve relations...." READ MORE
C'est moi with visiting photographer Miriam Berkley---photo by my sister, Alice. I'm about to send out the announcements about Tameme's beautiful new chapbook of poetry by Jorge Fernandez Granados, translated by John Oliver Simon.... More anon.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
I met Nicky Enright a few years ago at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where I was working on my novel and he was working on his "big hands" series--- we were all amazed as he covered an entire wall in the studios in the back barn. So he sends me this link to a "Lightbolt" video he made for Obama. It's fun--- I think it gives the spirit of the campaign. Whoever wins, when the history of this presidential campaign is written, a key part of it will be the participatory nature of Obama's campaign. This isn't a slick, expensive TV commercial; it's fun, upbeat, and it cost the campaign nothing. Nicky made it on his own. It's on his website, on youtube, and I'm sure I'm not the only one posting it on a blog. The same story will be told about the financing of the campaign. Obama isn't building a war chest out of PAC money and intimate little $5,000 a head dinner parties in Georgetown. For an idea of how Obama is bringing in money, and by the trailer-load, check out my friend J's Personal Fundraising for Obama website--- which is but one of thousands and thousands. The official Obama website is incredibly user friendly--- constructed for lickety-split navigation, to not only impart information, but to capture your e-mail and your donation and, above all, your participation. The same cannot be said for most of the other candidates's websites. Interesting, no? And in Mexico, too, whoever figures out this new game will do very well... More anon.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
(Click here for my last post on vid-lit.)
Friday, February 15, 2008
---> From Wired magazine, "The Lifecycle of a Blog Post" This is a treasure--- bloggers, and anyone interested in blogging, be sure to have a look at this.
---> From Copyblogger, "Why Brains Crave Beneficial Copy"
More on Writers Blogs:
--->Apropos of last Saturday's WIW Writers Conference panel on writers's blogs, I asked writer Andrea Cumbo which litblogs she recommends. She said she loves Book Ninja and fruitful by Gayle Brandeis.
--->WIW member and science fiction writer Nancy Jane Moore is a member of the blogging team at Ambling Along the Aqueduct, sponsored by Aqueduct Press, which publishes feminist science fiction, and wanders into interesting territory from time to time. Nancy Jane Moore also blogs on self defense at Taking Care of Ourselves.
--->WIW member Austin Camacho writes, "Of course, I could mention my blog, which I share with my wife: Another Writer's Life (and a writer's spouse). But my favorites are A Writer's Life - Murderati -The Outfit - Acme Authors Link."
---> For the archive of posts on "Gone to the Litblogs," click here.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.
Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers... READ MORE.
But over at Bank Lawyer's Blog, a whiplash-inducing 180.
Better yet: John Bird & John Fortune.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
"I have a website, but not a blog, and no time to pay attention to one. No time for that matter to spend running around the internet looking at other people's blogs. How does the artist carve out time to produce if all you do is worry about the computer?"
The opposite extreme I happened upon over at marketing guru Seth Godin's blog:
"Someone asked me the other day if posting a blog post every day is intimidating or a grind. I view it as something I get to do. I spend most of my blogging time deciding what not to post."
I would not suggest that all writers keep an on-line journal anymore than I would argue that all writers must write novels or all poets write sonnets. That said, a blog is not a blog, exactly... (see this post on that...) But it seems to me that, as artists--- artists who live in this world of unimaginable quantities of information 24/ 7--- we need to develop a set of skills we never knew we needed.
An analogy, information as food: we were like cavemen, used to having to work very hard and very smart to catch a rabbit or perhaps a bird, and to gather a few roots and berries. Then, abracadabra, plunk in front of our cave, there's a Whole Foods. You can have lamb, chicken, ground turkey breast, porkchops, sirloin, filet mignon, liver, veal, Italian sausages, low-fat sausages, chorizo, chicken with spinach sausages, grouper, snapper, shrimp, tuna, bass, salmon, smoked salmon, oysters, seafood salad, smoked trout, smoked trout dip, smoked salmon dip, gravlax--- OK, I won't belabor the point with the produce section, the cheese, the wine, the pastas, the olive bar, the ... oh, and seven brands of mayonnaise! Twelve brands of yoghurt, goat, sheep, cow, skim, fat-free, vanilla, strawberry, banana, peach, raspberry, honey and nuts, from Greece, from Iceland, from Australia, from West Virginia, grass-fed this, cage-free that, hormone free, gluten free, etc etc.
So, our caveman could:
---> stand in the first aisle in a slack-jawed daze;
---> grab up more than he can carry, injuring himself (and dropping quite a few things on the floor), and stuff himself until he pukes;
---> say, "this is a scary place" and refuse to ever return;
---> make a grocery list, push his wheeled cart through the store aisle-by-aisle, and then take his groceries home and place his selections, as appropriate, in the fridge, freezer, or pantry.
Well, bone appetite.
--->To view previous "Gone to the Litblogs" posts, click here.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
To blog or not to blog, I repeat, that is not the question. A blog, supposedly, is a web (on-line) log, or diary or journal. I say no, it's anything you want it to be. Call it a newsletter. Or take a newsletter and call that a blog. It could be an on-line magazine column. Updated once a year. Updated eight times a day. Longish personal essays, whole books, pictures with or without commentary, or, say, nothing but lists of links to kitty videos on Youtube. Did I mention videos of people crying while eating? Mustaches of the 19th century! Some blogs invite comments, others (such as this one) do not (though if you want to send me an e-mail, click here). It's the Wild Get Out of Dodge West. So what I'm saying is, if you're on-line in any way, you might as well accept it, it's a Web 2.0 world, morphing at warp speed--- and you might as well consider what you do blogging. For lack of a better word. We do not have an adequate vocabulary for any of this. More anon...specifically:
---->The main misconception about "blogs"
----> Making time for blogging (why and how) and my Bushman (and I do not mean the W) goes to Whole Foods analogy.
---->The perplexing problem with print-outs of blog posts.
---->Then, Maximilian galore, new pix & more.
---->To view the archive of Madam Mayo on blogging, click here
Thursday, February 07, 2008
--->And for Madam Mayo's "Gone to the Litblogs" posts, click here.
"...Blogs make perfect calling cards for writers, first of all. If you're a writer, then you should have things to say, and you should have a way to structure the things that you have to say, and you should want others to read these things that you have to say. Otherwise, why are you a writer? But how to go about it, you ask? ..." READ MORE
--->And for more about writers's blogs and litblogs, click here.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
News, opinion, a charming miscellanea--- hers is one of the longest-standing and most respected lit-blogs.
Jane Smiley (on the Huffington Post)
One of our finest novelists. Her blogging, however, is focused on politics.
Out of Southern California: snappy, snippy & zippy. (For those who don't mind incessant use of "fucktard.")
Novelist and writing teacher based in Washington DC.
M.J. Rose's Buzz, Balls & Hype
She's the author of some steamy best-sellers; the blog supports her "AuthorBuzz" advertising business.
C. Monks's Utter Wonder
Quirky, elegant design.
--->Read more "Gone to the Litblogs" posts.
Monday, February 04, 2008
#1. Black backgrounds.
So sleek, yet such a strain to read. Forget the fancy stuff, make it easy on the eyes for your readers.
#2. "Me, me, me, and mine, blah blah and when I was contemplating the lint in my navel, blah-be-de-blah"
I'm looking for quality content, and that includes good links. Interestingly, a number of well-known literary writers have blogs that are very poor examples of the genre.
#3. Ginormous jpegs which take--- so I am guessing but I'm not going to wait to find out--- anymore than I would watch paint dry--- eleven cen-tu-rie-sssss to dooooooooow-n-n-n-n-load
Many readers have a dial-up connection, sometimes or all the time. But even still, they can surf away, click.
#4. Long strings of even more ginormous jpegs.
Please God, why?
#5. Inconsistent / infrequent posting.
It's a canard that to attract readers, a blog needs to be updated daily. Some excellent and very popular writers's blogs, such as James Howard Kunstler's, are updated once a week; others, such as Jeff Gomez's Print is Dead, frequently, but not necessarily daily. But a writers's blog that appears to have been abandoned, weeks or even months ago, with no explanation... well, it's about as appealing as a grocery cart parked on a front lawn.
#6. Opening a blog post with an apology
"Sorry not to have been posting as I should"--- oh, yecch. (Re: peeve #2). Just blog.
Less peevishly... more anon.
---> Read Madam Mayo's previous "Gone to the Litblogs" posts here.