In case you’ve missed it, a collection of links to the Ghost Week on Tor dot com.
It’s a feast of articles, short stories (some favourites like Lovecraft and M. Twain) and more to entertain your dark, scary side 🙂
I’m (obviously) enamoured of books. I learned to read quite early, and I’ve never stopped. I’m never bored: there’s always a book there ready to tell me something, teach me something, explain me something, show me something, scare me, amuse me, entertain me.
I’ve read some difficult books, and some light ones, and those in the middle: all can excel in content and form, a thriller is as good as a chick lit as a contemporary post-modern novel as a sci fi dystopia, and so on.
There’s a book for every moment 🙂
I came across a Top Ten of Difficult Books (of which I’ve read three): you can read it here.
Now I’ll have more to add to my To Read list on Goodreads: ops 🙂 Up to now, one of the most difficult books I’ve been reading, stopped reading, started reading again and again is Michio Kaku’s Hyperspace.
Now I have more to face. And yet, isn’t it exciting, now and then, to read something that challenges you? That’s the beauty of books, you can move from world to world, according to your mood, your inclination.
What’s the most difficult book you’ve read?
A few days of silence, my apologies. I have tons of links and things to discuss (steampunk, writerly and possibly also a rant on male fashion), but I’m dealing with a family situation, so I’ll be absent for a few days. Posting will resume on Monday.
The title of the interview is: The Art of the Essay N. 1. I like writing essays, and I’ve written everything from strictly academic essays to creative essays, and as in many other things, I’m always learning and improving. I knew E.B. White as the White in Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, which is a must-have elegant and precise book on style and grammar and many other tips on the use of English language in writing. But I never made the connection with the White of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. Silly me.
It’s a long interview and it paints an interesting portrait not only of the writer but also of the times and ideas of his writing. I’m looking forward to read some of his other work, now, even though my List of Things to Read gets ever longer.
In particular, I fell completely in love with this passage:
Delay is natural to a writer. He is like a surfer—he bides his time, waits for the perfect wave on which to ride in. Delay is instinctive with him. He waits for the surge (of emotion? of strength? of courage?) that will carry him along. I have no warm-up exercises, other than to take an occasional drink. I am apt to let something simmer for a while in my mind before trying to put it into words. I walk around, straightening pictures on the wall, rugs on the floor—as though not until everything in the world was lined up and perfectly true could anybody reasonably expect me to set a word down on paper.
See, see? It’s not procrastination, at all! That’s what is, the waiting around for the right words to come in, the looking out of the window, the desperate sudden need to wash the previous week’s dishes, and yes, that too, the blurry windows have to be cleaned, now, and the mud on those shoes, look at that, can’t possibly be tolerated, and, and! I have to go buy groceries, right now.
Okay, yes, I’m being facetious. But I love that paragraph, I adore the sense of ‘me’ as a writer, the refusal to bend for someone else’s expectations of how writing happens.
Writing is hard work, and it’s different for each of us.
We shouldn’t let someone else’s expectations dictate how and when we write (every morning, every day, three pages per day, from 3 to 5, in chronological order, following an outline, mind mapping, and so forth). We need to experiment, yes, and listen to advice, and pay attention to our circumstances: for example, no point in pretending to write each day 10.000 words, if we have a day job, or a family, or other responsibilities. We’re just setting us up for failure, or for complaining.
But most importantly, we need to discover and then nurture and support how does writing happen for us. I still haven’t found a reliable routine, but I’ll keep experimenting.
Have you found your way to make your writing happen? I’d like to know 🙂
What an hopeful, positive title 🙂
Anyway, The Next Big Thing is a meme, a series of questions about your work in progress. Once you’ve answered them, you can tag other writers to do the same (if they so will!)
I was tagged by the lovely Jane Riddell – you can find her blog and her Next Big Thing here.
I like the idea of supporting and promoting weird fiction. Of course, how we define weird fiction may be vastly different, although intuitively we all know what weird fiction is. Or do we?
For me, weird fiction is fiction that follows its own logic, with a narrative path that may differ greatly from the usual. Often it’s fiction from another country/culture, and not necessarily just books. Film narrative varies a lot from country to country (Chinese films, Russian films, European films as opposed to Hollywood ones and so on). There may be a beginning, development and ending…or there may not be. Or not in this order.
How do you define weird fiction?
From time to time, I will share here a few links to interesting, weird, different fictions as I find them.
I found an article in LOCUS MAGAZINE, by writer and blogger Harry Markov, about a short stories’ collection by Bulgarian writer Angel G. Angelov: The Act of Walking on Water (2009). The collection sounds really interesting, and if you don’t know Locus Magazine, do keep an eye on it for science fiction and fantasy news and interviews and more in between.
Markov says of Angelov’s stories:
Angelov grows in magnitude and fuels stories with a unique brand of intellectual erotica, philosophical monologues and warped realities…..with a slight nod to the Lovecraftian philosophy of cosmicism.
Now, anyone that hints at Lovecraftian’s cosmicism is someone I’d like to read. I hope this collection gets translated into English (my chances of learning Bulgarian are very slim).
Another good place to find interesting and weird fiction is Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading.
Among the latest offering, a series of short stories by Alex Epstein’s, from his collection: For My Next Illusion I Will Use Wings caught my attention. It’s a very good example of what can be done with flash fiction / micro fiction.
[Alex Epstein] performs an act of distillation, capturing the very essence of fiction.
Epstein’s collection has been translated into English, so I hope to put my hands on it at some point! It makes me think of author Lydia Davis‘ style of writing and preference for short, and extremely short in some cases, fiction.
My style is a reaction to Proust’s long sentences
That’s what Davis says of her choice of short narratives in this Guardian interview. I personally loved Proust’s long sentences, but I also love Davis’ ability to be essential.
Relational Dynamics is a coaching style, and you can read more about it on their website.
Coaching can be defined in different ways: it’s not therapy, and it’s not just a friendly chat. It’s a process of learning, whereby the coach has the skills and techniques to guide the coachee in finding strategies to positively approach what they want to approach.
A coach is not there to give you answers (and certainly not instructions on how to do this or that). It’s a very complex process, and it requires hard work on both parts, coach and coachee.
Now, why am I telling you this? Because I am taking part in this course, hopefully to qualify as a Personal Dynamics coach (keeping in mind that it is a PROCESS, and as such, a never ending learning curve) and my aim is to specialize in personal coaching (as different to leadership and management coaching in hierarchical organizations ) and in a very specific niche of coaching: coaching for writers.
1 a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end
2 a natural series of changes
Writers, as I know from experience, are faced with a number of specific challenges, related to personal and career life, and choices. All of this reflects more or less directly and/or openly on the writing process, which can become even more tangled and conflictual than it already is.
Take Writer’s Block, for example. It’s a loaded term standing for all sorts of problems. And the solutions we find sometimes are temporary. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to work through that block, and find strategies to deal with it which go beyond the basics writing exercises we all know or can find in writing books?
And there are many more examples of how coaching can help writers, on their own, in their writing, or in a workshop-type situation. I’m going to develop myself as a coach and as a writer. If you have any experiences, advice, or questions, feel free to contribute.