Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond


writing things and the big top
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That means nothing, except my life is a circus right now. Yesterday's war was lost -- if anything, the day got worse. We got to the parade, in the freezing, just as the large mass of happy, dancing, costumed revelers was rounding the corner and so we missed the best part. George and I stood outside the library and waited while Christopher exchanged library books. We really both just wanted to come home and have another drink, so that's what we did. Then, I found out my screenwriting workshop was shutting down, or at least I should say, the current manifestation of it is shutting down. For all sorts of reasons I won't go into here, but all of them justified. It's a wonderful workshop full of brilliant people. We're regrouping and already have a new spot scoped out and most people seem to be staying, so the grieving process is being shelved. I can't do it right now. If you have bad news for me, please hold off till at least the weekend, okay?

Anyway, so, that's it except for links, but there are some good ones today.

In honor of the Oscars, I present to you this chart of all the films based on Oscar-winning scripts in both the original and adapted categories and best picture from 1927-2003 (predicting in 2003) courtesy of a generous soul posting on the Wordplay forums. Should make for some great Netflixing.

Some university students studying caves in west Kentucky got a firsthand acquaintance with the ancient art of meth production.

There's a really interesting interview with Octavia Butler on Africana.com. One of her responses addresses Maud's thoughts on writers and childhood from the other day:

I think writers use absolutely everything that happens to us, and surely if I had had a different sort of childhood and still come out a writer, I'd be a different kind of writer. It's on a par with, but different from, the fact that I had four brothers who were born and died before I was born. Some of them didn't come to term, some of them did come to term and then died. But my mother couldn't carry a child to term, for the most part something went wrong. If they had lived, I would be a very different person.

So, anything that happens in your life that is important, if it didn't happen you would be someone different.


And also, she has some interesting thoughts on the age-old quandary of how genre writers are perceived:

I think people have made up their minds that they don't like science fiction because they've made up their minds that they know what science fiction is. And they have a very limited notion of what it is. I used to say science fiction and black people are judged by their worst elements. And it's sadly enough still true. People think, "Oh, science fiction, Star Wars. I don't like that." And they don't want to read hat I've written because they don't like Star Wars. Then again, you get the other kind who do want to read what I've written because they like Star Wars and they think that must be what I'm doing. In both cases they're going to be disappointed. That's the worst thing about verbal shorthand. All too often, it's an excuse not to do something, more often than it's a reason for doing something.

AND one last one, for the writer in continual need of a peptalk in all of us (though please no pep with our peptalks):

Sometimes I hear from people who want to write and [they ask] what should they do? The first thing I want to know from them is, are they writing? Are they writing every day? And a remarkable number of them are not. Do they read omnivorously, because that's not only a source of ideas, but a way to learn to write, to see what other people have been up to. I recommend that they take classes because it's a great way to rent an audience and make sure you're communicating what you think you're communicating, which is not always the case, and I recommend that they forget a couple of things. Forget about talent. I recommend that they go to the bestselling lists and see who else doesn't have talent and it hasn't stopped them, so don't worry. Forget about inspiration, because it's more likely to be a reason not to write, as in, "I can't write today because I'm not inspired." I tell them I used to live next to my landlady and I told everybody she inspired me. And the most valuable characteristic any would-be writer can possibly have is persistence. Just keep at it, keep learning your craft and keep trying.

I like, "Forget about talent."

I also turned up some interesting Susanna Clarke stories just hunting for something else today. Clarke's short stories, the few, have always been wonderfully crafted gems, and I'm very much looking forward to her novel. It sounds amazing, from the Guardian:

Susanna Clarke's book, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by first-time novelist Susanna Clarke, is an 800-page epic about the rivalry between the last two magicians in England, set during the Napoleonic wars and featuring real-life characters including Lord Byron and the Duke of Wellington. Its combination of historical wit and spellbound fantasy has prompted comparisons with Jane Austen and Philip Pullman.

Still haven't read Pullman, but Austen obviously, is an intriguing comparison. The oddest thing though, was that I was searching for more info on this and turned up
a strange column from the Business Standard which started out talking about Clarke's book and went on to this:

People stirred in their seats when Stephen King inveighed against the blindness of US critical culture and abjured critics to join the real world by reading more airport books.

And V S Naipaulís recent outburst merely draws attention to what is becoming the big battle of our times: the war between Literature and the Rest.

If you look at High Literature today, what it resembles most of all is Delhiís increasingly neurotic residential colonies.

The walls have never been higher; new entrants must pass a series of gate checks; thereís a strong sense that the old certainties are shifting, that residents of longstanding must give way to parvenus, and thereís also a furtive fear, rarely expressed, that the people kept so firmly outside the gates are having much more fun than us.

As someone whoís been trying to keep up with her reading for over a decade now, I find myself in a critical no-manís-land.

I do not want to see Kathy Reichs on the NBA shortlist, now or ever; but I do wonder why you would leave out James Elroy (well, before he wrote ***) or why you would elevate Dave Eggers but shut the doors on Carl Hiaasen.


There's even a mention of Philip K. Dick.

Also took the "How much of a literary geek are you? quiz (all over the place, but I saw it at Cup of Chicha) and it turns out I'm really a man. A man named...


border="0" alt="You're a literary minded as the Bard himself!"> You are a complete literary geek, from knowing the classics (even the not-so-well-known classics and tidbits about them) to knowing devices used in writing, when someone has a question about literature, they can bring it to you and rest assured; you know the answers. How much of a literary geek are you? brought to you by Quizilla

Later.


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