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Posts by Blake Smith

A Never-Ending Story

We’ve all watched that TV show or read that series that never seems to end. It just metastasizes out of control and usually spirals down, down, down until finally the writer gets the hint or the network decides not to review it for another season. Read more


Everyone has a different breaking point.

No, I’m not quitting writing, or anything else in life. This observation comes from my first ride on a new horse. Read more

Listening In

Yesterday was a day of traveling, and today I’m pretty wiped out (we didn’t get home until late). But I was reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales on the plane, and something interesting occurred to me. Read more

Creative Interests and What to Do About Them

I was talking with Sarah a couple days ago, and in the midst of a rather elliptical conversation- is there any other kind?- I mentioned that I don’t understand how people can live without having creative interests. But apparently there are people in the world who get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, and get up and do the same thing the next day. Sometimes they go to the gym or watch a show on TV, if they need a little variety. But they never make anything, and they rarely take up a new hobby or interest. How boring.

Perhaps I’m being unfair. Read more

Finding Your Voice

I don’t talk much. I never have. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say- realizing that I could say, “I don’t know enough about XYZ to have an opinion,” was a great boon to my socially awkward self. Sometimes I do have something to say, but it’s not quite appropriate for the situation. And, most frequently, I have something appropriate to say but can’t get the words out fast enough. For a while, I was losing the ability to string together a coherent spoken sentence, which was seriously weird. Read more

A Few Notes on Message Fiction

One of the perennial topics here at Mad Genius Club is the gradual creep of message fiction, and how this is irksome. Most of us like our stories to be just that- stories. If we wanted to listen to a sermon, we’d go to church.

But message fiction has been around since, well, forever. The first stories probably went something like this: “Gather ‘round, children. Let me tell you about my brother Og. Og was not very smart, and went hunting alone one day. Og was eaten by a lion. Don’t be like Og.” Read more

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Planning a wedding is a bit tricky, I’m discovering. This one is actually tiny, as far as weddings go, but because most of the tasks are little nit-picky administrative things, it’s nearly as complicated as a large one. I’ve heard the bride’s mother is supposed to make a lot of the arrangements, and I’m sure my mom is looking out from the afterlife and cheering me on, but she can’t exactly make phone calls and answer all the silly questions I have.

But perhaps as a consequence of all this tradition, and deciding what I should include and need to leave out, I’ve been thinking about the role of cultural signaling in books. Read more