Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Seven fascinating (mostly writing-related) articles

I'm going away for 10 days (whoo hoo!), so I thought I'd leave you lovely readers with some articles I suggest you peruse in my absence. If you read any of them, I'd love to hear what you think!

1. Losing your whole town
Imagine that you don't only have to walk away from the house you bought and paid for and lived in and loved. Everyone else around you has to do the same. And the general store, the library, the post office--they all have to pack up and leave, too. All because of an underground coal fire that could have been put out when it first started, almost FIFTY years ago.
That's exactly what's going on in a small town in PA.

There's already some n
on-fiction books on the town's strife, which I plan to read. But I think there might be the seed of a fictional story in there, too. Imagine the family dramas that could be told amongst this heartbreaking, almost unbelievable backdrop.

2. Some Very Funny Dos and Donts of Writing
Thanks to Robyn for pointing me to this awesome and funny article by a debut novelist, Tony DuShane. My two favorite "dos and donts":

Don't: Get in this game if you don't absolutely love literature. Let me take that back, don't get in this game if literature hasn't saved your life somehow. Don't get into this game for the money. Don't get into this game while wondering if you should Tweet your novel online to show your digital forward thinking.

Do: Read and write. Read and write. And write. And write. It's like learning to play guitar and you play "Stairway to Heaven," and after you master that you play other songs.

3. An ode to the London Review of Book's personal ads.
This article is so quirky and funny--just my type! If I ever needed to place a personal ad, I'd totally do it in the London Review of Books. In the meantime, I'll check out the compilation books of the ads.

4. Seth Godin on creativity.
So many great gems in this article on creativity. Here's my favorite. This quote has really stuck with me in the weeks since I first read it:

For me, the single best thing you can do to become more creative is to be wrong more often. Creative people are wrong all the time (look at Apple's long string of failures). The goal is to create a safe place to be wrong, a way to be wrong without destroying yourself. The more wrong I am, the more often, the better I seem to get at being creative.

5. What makes a word sound good?
I found this NY Times article on the sound of words fascinating. I'm guessing the poets out there will particularly like it. Again, a favorite quote from it:
"Poetry, in fact, is two quite distinct things,” H. L. Mencken wrote in a 1920 magazine column. “It may be either or both. One is a series of words that are intrinsically musical, in clang-tint and rhythm, as the single word 'cellar-door' is musical. The other is a series of ideas, false in themselves, that offer a means of emotional and imaginative escape from the harsh realities of everyday.”

6. On Rejection.
I thought this Glimmer Train essay on rejection started a bit slow, but man was I glad I stuck with it when I got to the end:

The odds of winning the Nobel or becoming a perennial bestseller are astronomical. So why do we keep putting our heads on the chopping block when we can clearly see the worn dull blade dangling by a thread above? We don't do this in other facets of our lives, in which we are far more pragmatic and make decisions based on evidence. We don't put ourselves at risk when we know that odds are we are going to get hurt.

So why do we do it?

Because we are in love, and looking for those with whom we can share that love.

Which is why rejection, particularly in your love life, is good training for being a writer. Because your work, if it's true, is you—the culmination and symbol of your heart, your passion, your hopes and dreams. Your work is everything you want and need to make things right in the world—it's what sets you apart from the rest, what makes you believe that all the devotion, dedication, and the grueling brutal daily grind to produce actually means something.

7. The second book from the author of the Time Traveler's Wife!
Anyone who loved the Time Traveler's Wife will probably be interested in this interview with author Audrey Niffenegger about her new book. Best Blogger Tips

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