Saturday, September 02, 2006

One link and some updates

One writer I admire is David James Duncan. I hope to reread The Brothers K soon to see how well I like a second time (sometimes books that I loved once don't quite stand up to a second reading), and I'd also recommend his other books. A few months ago I found an article he'd written about writing. I shared it with a few writer friends, but I decided to post it here now as well. Essentially, he spends the first part of the essay telling you why you shouldn't commit yourself to writing--or even enjoying--literature. It's a dangerous habit. Here's just one quote to show his humorous writing style:
"My very best, most financially useful writing advice to those who show extra spirit, the way you're doing, is this: If you want a sane work life, economic viability, happy family, home, flat abs, nice ass, reliable car, health insurance, and teeth, DON'T TRY TO WRITE BOOKS AT ALL! STOP NOW!"

That often ends the conversation, or at least moves it on to happier topics, such as viruses or STDs.
For those who ignore that advice, he goes on to explain the overarching guiding principle for his own writing. Fun. That sounds sort of shallow at first...but if you read the essay, you'll see that he's using a deeper, more mystical sense of the word fun. He's a very funny writer, but not a Dave Barry type (I love Dave Barry's writing too, but there's much greater depther to Duncan's).

Anyway, here's the link: Duncan's essay.

Just a couple quick updates on earlier posts. I've read Justina Robson's Living Next Door to the God of Love and was very disappointed. I finished it, thinking that maybe the ending would justify everything else, but no. After how much I'd loved Natural History, this was a big disappointment.

Our book group is reading Italo Calvino's The Baron in the Trees. It's good...but a bit disappointing as well. I'm not sure why VanderMeer considers it his best, better than If on a winter's night a traveler or Invisible Cities (which I have to place as two of my favorite books by any author). I'm looking forward to hearing what the others in the group have to say about the book, since none of them have read any of Calvino's other books.

And I did write a poem the other day. I should keep trying to write a new poem fairly often to get used to poetic style again. I checked out some other ezines with poetry afterward, and I'm not sure it really fits the types of things they've published in the past, so we'll see if anything becomes of it. I basically took the central image of the story "Canyon of Babel" that's at Jupiter World Press right now and condensed it into a poem.

That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

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