Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some interesting tidbits

I don't have much to report from my own world of writing--just finishing up my final revisions on my thesis (whoo hoo!). But I do have some links I'd like to share:

  • This NY Times article announces the fact that Nabokov's son is going to publish his father's last, unfinished work--against his father's wishes. It made me wonder--what would I do and what would I want done?
I think I would publish the work if I were the son. It just seems a crime to not let anyone see it, as long as people know not to judge it as if it were a finished work. If it were me, I would probably be OK with something unfinished being published under those
circumstances. But if someone were to publish diaries or something of mine that I told them not to because of their private nature, I would come back from the grave and haunt
whoever made them public. Which reminds me to burn all diaries myself before I die.

  • Another interesting NY Times article, this one discussing the state of the literature and books, and the impact of MFA programs and self publishing on them.Two quotes I found most interesting from the article:
Mark McGurl, an associate professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of a forthcoming book on the impact of creative writing programs on
postwar American literature, [says] that writing programs have helped expand the literary universe, “American literature has never been deeper and stronger and more various than it is now,” McGurl said in an e-mail message. Still, he added, “one could put that more pessimistically: given the manifold distractions of modern life, we now have more great writers working in the United States than anyone has the time or inclination to read.”

I feel like McGurl's take on the state of books in America is realistic. Another quote-- this one I do not agree with:

In “So Many Books,” [Gabriel] Zaid playfully writes that “if a mass-market paperback costs $10 and takes two hours to read, for a minimum-wage earner the time spent is worth as much as the book.” But for someone earning around $50 to $500 an hour, “the cost of buying and reading the book is $100 to $1,000” — not including the time it takes to find out about the book and track it down.

If you measure your reading time in terms of how much money/time it "costs" to get through a book, I feel sorry for you. Reading is about personal fulfilment and enjoyment, and cannot be measured that way.

  • And finally, a link to the ever inspiring Poet Mom, who posted a great video of a roundtable discussion with three writers about characterization in their work.
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1 comment:

January said...

Yes, if someone published my journals after my death without permission, I would come back and haunt them, too.

But on a serious note, when my friend Phebus died last year, she left no instructions on what to do with her manuscript. There are publishers lined up to publish it--all they need is permission, which the family has not given. Maybe that's because she never got along with them. So her wonderful poetry remains unpublished.

Long story short, make clear your wishes for your unpublished works. Put it in writing just like a will.

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