Category Archives: Thoughts on Writing, Reading & Books

The truth in fiction

I can’t recall exactly where I read this but I think it might have been a book by Karen Armstrong; certainly it was a book on mythology. To paraphrase: the truth in a myth is not in the events it relates but in its reflection on ourselves. A myth is “true” in the sense in […]

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Time and spending time

For those of us living in post-industrial/digital societies the central question now facing us, and it is one that faces us daily, has become: How do I spend my time? For nearly all of us the daily struggle simply to stay alive has been removed as a topic of concern, in one way or another […]

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Must we come to terms with money?

Ebooks can be given away very easily, Smashwords has a simple setting for this and even allows it specifically for libraries while other users pay whatever non-zero price you’ve decided on. Amazon’s Kindle, similarly, allows all sorts of ways that pricing and royalties can be adjusted. What is transferred from producer to consumer is, after […]

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Who cares about your self-expression?

The Age of Poetry, such as it was, has long since passed us by. The epic poem is dead, mythologies are now related via cinematic retellings and anime-style mash-ups, stories are told in tweets and unfinished, unpunctuated, ungrammatical social media posts. The fan girls and boys have taken over. Relaying how the Death Star was […]

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Loving a book

Objects are meant to be static and to occupy a single place in the world. We think of the things that surround us as being testable, probable, picked-up-and-examined-able. We turn them over, look at their various angles, set them down, and go on our ways. Normal, everyday interaction. Yet some objects give us a little […]

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The romance and the mystery of writing

Japan is a funny place. In many ways life here carries on as if it were always and forever the 1990s, and the nineties were not an altogether good decade for Japan. So it is that I still, in this day and age, walk down to my local video store to rent DVDs when I […]

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On legacy

Last summer, in a post titled “Leftover words“, I considered what happens or may happen to the unpublished works that an author leaves behind them when they pass. The works might have been left unpublished because they were unfinished, or they might have been deemed not quite good enough by their creator, or they might […]

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Storytelling

Human beings are born storytellers. Quite literally – it’s in our DNA and may have been a driving force behind the construction of culture over the course of our evolution once language had come on the scene (and it is possible to think even before then, albeit in more limited ways). We use our stories […]

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Reflected glory

It can be so depressing to pick up a classic. When you open Fitzgerald, Proust, Morrison, Goethe, Austen, Tolstoy, Woolf, you are not only faced with a work of profound beauty you find yourself staring into a mirror of your own inadequacies, and the glare of it all is harsh to say the least. John […]

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Boring crap about nothing

Being middle-aged I now consider myself entitled to the odd (frequent) curmudgeonly rant and so fair warning that this post will contain some. Entertainingly curmudgeonly though, I hope. I recently read a review of a new novel about a Japanese-American couple living amongst the Japanese community in Los Angeles. The wife is a mixed Caucasian […]

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