November 2009

Weekend Reading


Gawker went to the National Book Awards and got a whole bunch of big lit-names to sign a copy of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue, which they are now auctioning off for charity. It seems to be part of a campaign to get the book short-listed for the 2010 fiction award. That’s this year’s fiction winner, Colum McCann, in the picture.

I always forget The Atlantic exists. But then they’ll bring out Christopher Hitchens to talk about Arthur Koestler, and it’s like, oh yeah, those guys. Though to be fair, if it wasn’t for Arts & Letters Daily, I’d have never known.

Julia Cohen’s got a video of Seth Landman (ed. Invisible Ear) doing something I don’t understand.

She also mentions that Mathias Svalina’s debut full length, Destruction Myth, is now officially out. Expect to hear rather a bit more about that book in this space in the near future.

Joshua Cohen’s memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Fall 2009 online issue of Rain Taxi, including a review of Evenson’s Fugue State and a look at Zizek & Milbank’s The Monstrosity of Christ.

Also, Glenn Beck is in a fight with the Anti-Defamation League because they called him “fearmonger in chief” in their new special report, “Rage Grows In America: Anti-Government Conspiracies.” Basically, the report is exactly what you think it is, only longer. If you go to Crooks & Liars, you can hear Beck on his radio show, flipping out and daring the ADL to name anyone who has been a better friend of Israel than he has. Not sure what that has to do with domestic American politics, but–oh wait, yes I am. Dear ADL, maybe if you supported something like an even remotely sane Israel policy, instead of taking all your talking points from the pro-violence right (the Kissinger/Lieberman/Dershowitz school) you wouldn’t find yourself in bed with fucktards like Beck in the first place. Well good for them for putting the report out, at any rate, when its come down to siding with Abraham Foxman or Glenn Beck, it’s dark days all over the land.

Web Hype / 16 Comments
November 27th, 2009 / 4:37 pm

Cool piece on writing processes of a range of writers, including Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Ondaatje, Richard Powers, Margaret Atwood, at Wall Street Journal [via Rozalia Jovanovic]

Most days, Nicholson Baker rises at 4 a.m. to write at his home in South Berwick, Maine. Leaving the lights off, he sets his laptop screen to black and the text to gray, so that the darkness is uninterrupted. After a couple of hours of writing in what he calls a dreamlike state, he goes back to bed, then rises at 8:30 to edit his work.

Do you still try to write or find your brain still stuck on writing during holidays? Have you ever sent out a submission on a holiday? Does food (or family) eliminate your drive, or the reverse?

The Dark Side

Behind the Scenes / 19 Comments
November 27th, 2009 / 1:41 pm

Thanksgiving 2009

ThanksgivingTheRoadCormac(thanks Justin Sirois)

Random / 7 Comments
November 26th, 2009 / 11:38 am

Food for Thought With Sasha Grey

Sasha Grey at the First Thanksgiving

Sasha Grey at the First Thanksgiving

DD: Do you think it can be a really positive thing to do so much so young because you learn so much.

Yeah, over the past few years my learning curve has been huge and sometimes people say, ‘Don’t you just want to be a normal 21-year-old and go party and have fun?’ No, I mean why do you think great artists of our time have always said youth is wasted on the young? I don’t want to be an old a person in regret and think I should have done this but I was off being lazy. There are enough mistakes we make as human beings anyway, so let the mistakes be real mistakes not chosen mistakes.

You know what? I think this is great advice. The rest of the interview isn’t bad either. (via Jezebel.)

I Like __ A Lot / 105 Comments
November 26th, 2009 / 2:08 am

Q & A #1

Help Button

Question 1:
I interned for a literary agency for a while. Do you think that agents are necessary for all kinds of writing, or that in some cases you can go straight to the publisher? (With fiction, I think it’s pretty well established that you need an agent no matter what.)


Behind the Scenes / 42 Comments
November 25th, 2009 / 6:54 pm

This is kind of amazing: some kid is suing World of Warcraft, partially, he claims, because it has contributed to his sense of alienation, and he has subpoenaed one of the dudes from Depeche Mode, “since he himself has been known to be sad, lonely, and alienated, as can be seen in the songs he writes.” He’s also called on Wynona Ryder because of her sometime talking about how she loved The Catcher in the Rye, and “how alienation in the book can tie to alienation in real live [sic] / video games such as World of Warcraft.” Makes sense to me…

On Violence

1635_gardiner.jpgDostoyevski, Orwell, Žižek n’ crew have written far more compelling meditations on violence, but I figure I’d have a go at it (being an asian-canadian near-sighted pacifist and all), and this all in time for Thanksgiving.

To draw parallel’s between our Father’s pilgrimage and their genocide of Native Americans would be didactic and predictable. Any person, as I do, who enjoys the opulent grounds of American soil best not critique the ways in which such grounds were brought forth. War equals land, and we have landed. If the Native Americans had their way, we’d all be in England right now; I hear the gin is okay, but that Queen is a bitch. So, we won’t talk about war.


Web Hype / 8 Comments
November 25th, 2009 / 4:20 pm

Writing/Editing Prompt: Kidnapping

le_kidnappedStep one: search through your files for two stories that don’t work. Find one that has a character you really like, but is otherwise uninteresting. Find another that works on a lot of levels, but is nonetheless dull.

Step two: take the interesting character and place her/him in the other story in some awkward way. Force her/him into a confrontation with the characters in the well crafted but otherwise dull story. Let the character be aware that she/he is in some way out of place, but not necessarily in a meta “I’m a character in a story, but I think this is the wrong story” sort of way. Unless that is what you want to do.

Step three: watch as the character attempts to escape. Watch as the dull story attempts to hold the character in the story because the story prefers this new, interesting element to its original, dull cast.

Craft Notes / 16 Comments
November 25th, 2009 / 1:20 pm