Category Archives: Thoughts on Writing, Reading & Books

A Writer’s Enemies

In last week’s post we considered some aspects of fictional enemies – more specifically the writing of villains – and in this week’s post I’d like to stay on the same general theme but move it out of our heads and into our hearts, from pages to people, from efiles to paper forms, from the […]

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A Poem a Day

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) spent almost the entirety of his life within a fairly small geographical circle of the Northeastern United States. He was primarily employed as an executive for an insurance company based in Hartford, Connecticut, born into a wealthy family, son of a lawyer and studied law himself at the New York Law School. […]

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The Private Lives of (Japanese) Writers

There is something of a tradition in Japan of relatives or close friends publishing memoirs and biographies about the country’s writers. Natsume Soseki, Junichiro Tanizaki, Naoya Shiga, Yukio Mishima, all get their share. We are treated to inside views of the authors as people, as everyday men (sadly almost always men despite Japanese women’s voices […]

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Gratitude

It is an incredible thing to be able to write. Just the act of it, the sheer practice, is astounding, and something that is all too easy to take for granted, to lose sight of the vast historical trajectories that have made it possible. Being caught up in the modern world of digi-madness and pop […]

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The Narcissism of “Read Me”

There is a particular edge to art, to creation, an aggressiveness almost. It is after all a matter of some chutzpah to think that anyone would or even should care about this little bit of X that you have brought into the world. The attitude perhaps best expresses itself in phrases like “we [artists] are […]

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An Audience of One

In last week’s post we considered the issue of being misread and some responses or attitudes that a writer could take towards that particular prickly pear. In thinking about being misread though we might miss the larger picture, which is being read at all. That, we must never forget, is a luxury and the furthest […]

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The Writer’s role

Writing – what’s the point anymore? Oh, there are those of us who write for their daily bread, and for them the raison d’ĂȘtre is as plain as day, but for those of who don’t live in New York City or London just what are we doing? Why? And what are we trying to accomplish […]

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Flogging the artist

It’s easy to consider the 1960s as the time when the various counterculture movements in the world’s industrialized nations reached their peaks for both potency of influence and hypocrisy of intent. There was plenty of money to be made on the backs of those who very loudly proclaimed a disdain for money, and there was […]

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What is the point of poetry?

Congratulations to George Saunders on his recent Man Booker Prize win for Lincoln in the Bardo, a book that tells the story of Abraham Lincoln visiting the grave of his young son and encountering the voices of the many dead. I haven’t read the work myself, and given the size of my reading list I probably […]

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Readers and (their) writers

Nietzsche once remarked (paraphrasing) that if one cannot find true companionship among the living then one should seek it from the dead – in books. To pick up a book is to begin a journey of an unknown duration and unforeseen destination. It is to embark with a number of travel mates, some of whom […]

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