Category Archives: Thoughts on Writing, Reading & Books

Writing’s seasons

The rains come in spring (and summer and fall if you live in East Asia), the wheat, corn, rice, grows tall and proud, ripens, and is harvested. The soil rests, recovers, and the late winter or early spring sees another round of preparing, planting, tending, waiting. The moon waxes and wanes, the temperatures rise and […]

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Dylan’s speech, or Black and white lovers

Bob Dylan has once again been accused of plagiarism. This time though it’s not about his lyrics but rather about the acceptance speech he recently delivered to the Nobel Prize Committee just before the deadline that, if he had missed it, would have disqualified him from receiving the prize money. The manner in which it […]

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Rewriting humanity

What is a book supposed to do in the world? What is your book supposed to do in the world? I know, I know, writers have enough to think about, and more than enough to juggle, as it is without raising such bothersome questions. And after all, isn’t a well told story justifiable by itself? […]

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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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