Today I’m not going to say much myself. Instead, I’m going to quote several paragraphs from a very long, but very thought-provoking, analysis of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other Russian authors, and how literature came to represent a moral crusade for them, and for their fellow countrymen. It’s in the New Criterion, titled “How the great truth dawned“, written by Gary Saul Morson. It’s very different from our Western attitudes towards literature, but I think it offers a perspective from which we could learn.
That’s particularly important in an era when political correctness is more than ever a determinant of what’s put out by traditional publishers. One’s work usually has to conform to “contemporary priorities” or “modern understanding” if it’s to have any chance of acceptance by a publisher. By those standards, the Big Three of science fiction – Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein – wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance. Neither, of course, would Henry Miller, Dorothy Parker, and a host of other greats. Nor would Solzhenitsyn.
I’ve been well, sort of log-jammed with the writing and real life – we now have a roof over the family home again. (We moved an old house onto our little farm – in sections. And in the case of one of those sections, in pieces. Needless to say that’s (in the fashion of these things) merely a reveal of how much more I still have to do. And, equally needless to say, how much more it is going to cost. I am about to try going on a writing blitz, as Barbs will be away for three weeks cat sitting our son’s cat… while I cat and dogsit ours. They’re less hassled by me working irregular hours (into the small hours of the night when I work best) than my wife is, so here’s hoping. Read more
Like the sperm whale plunging toward the surface of Magrathea, existential questions are something that most writers think about. Not necessarily ones relating to their own existence, but to that of the book they’re working on.
“Why am I doing this?”
It’s actually one those questions that, generally speaking, is easier to answer for yourself the first time around than the 20th (Trust me on this, I’m past that mark. And it’s still hard.) Read more
I love my people. And there are six adults, two children, and a malamute in my house right now, and I’m losing my mind just a shred or two faster than I would otherwise. Our neck of the woods starts school later than many others, and so Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave won’t be starting their respective classes until next week (and I’ve just realized they almost certainly aren’t ready, or rather, we aren’t ready for them to start) and they’ve got the End Of Summer antsy-ness going on. All of which are decidedly back-burner-ing the ol’ writing. Read more
I had one of those interesting days today, at least, in the ancient Chinese curse sense. In part, anyway. It’s the start of national book week here in Oz, and, I may be trifle biased but a love of reading is greatest gift we can give to children, to the future.
Now, for me, crowds are a hardship. I am very sound and movement sensitive, maybe because I am kind of proof of this whole evolution thing, as in I’m a little primitive. Both little and primitive, that is. Being an urban-dweller requires coping well with a sea of noise and movement, ignoring most of it, and shutting out peripheral stimulus. Your little hunter-gatherer who does this ends up either very hungry, or very dead, or, mostly, both. I was raised in hunter-gatherer tradition, and there’s a lot of it my family history, in my genes, I suspect. I guess I am one of yesterday’s people, to the modern world. But I still have to live in it, a little. Read more
Anthologies are a funny thing, for someone who started as indie: you write a short story, to a mandated length instead of “until it’s done”, and on a deadline. Sometimes, it has to be on a theme, sometimes in a particular universe. And then there’s the contracts: they range from life-of-copyright (an unthinkable contract for your own work… but what if you’re playing with someone else’s IP?) to reversion after a year just like a magazine. How do you decide to be in one?
That phrase occurred in a passage Amanda quoted in her Tuesday column, and it… so to speak… caught my imagination. Because that’s not how my imagination – or Amanda’s, to judge from her comments – works. Ha! Imagination should only be so polite as to present itself in long, leisurely segments that fit my typing speed! It tends more to arrive with the speed and finesse of a runaway train!
A long time ago Diana Gabaldon told me something about her writing process that exactly described my own (Yeah, I know, too bad my results aren’t as wildly successful as hers). I’ll try to paraphrase from memory: Read more