« Previous Month
Next Month »
Brik is the transforming viewer of so much of the action and other characters. And one of the problems with such an “objective” first person narrator is that he will make errors because he is so invested it discovering the world in a certain way. But I think that is the truest form of writing. The new worship of hyper-objectivity is, I think, mistaken. All good writing involves invested, skewered characters exploring, investigating. It is truer to the way life actually occurs than “objectivity.”
"And if I have anything left to say at all, after all this interesting history, it's that we have to draw our understanding of the inner life quite broadly, and much more broadly than we're prone to at the moment, without necessarily classifying or stigmatizing in terms of disorder. Our idea of what the norm is has grown far too narrow, somehow. It cuts away a lot of the richness of life, and it does confine people, especially women, into the straitjacket of diagnosis."
Jason B. Jones
"Why celebrate Ulysses in New York City, 2008? It’s the ultimate modernist novel, but it’s just as much ancient and medieval as modern. It is the most celebrated book in the English-language canon, but it’s ill-at-ease and queasy in that canon, it doesn’t fit and it never will. It actually explodes the need for a canon, which is probably why T.S. Eliot envied it so much, and why William Faulkner approached it with faith and love. Ulysses, like all of the best novels, is about the practice of poetry and the experience of being a poet."
He believes that a digital library is to a traditional library what photography was to painting, a new technology that made itself indispensable without supplanting a previous technology. Nevertheless, Manguel is fascinated with the hubris of assembling a complete library: the myth of the Library of Alexandria (more than the historical reality) has driven subsequent collectors to gather books in a place safe from decay, as if protecting the books somehow guaranteed our own immortality. Knowledge -- and the ability to access it -- becomes a sign of power and a safeguard against time. As if a library could keep an empire from collapsing.
Barely twenty years old, I left the teeming streets of London for the lonely expanse of the Australian outback. I would buy a motorbike in Darwin, ride the sealed highway south to Alice Springs, and then cut across the top of the Simpson Desert along the desolate Plenty Highway to Mt Isa. It was an ambitious plan to beat the heat and isolation of a region where earlier explorers had vanished without a trace. How differently it would all turn out. A crash in the wilderness would inspire part of my novel, Show Me the Sky, but what happened before the wreck would be too fabulous for conventional fiction.
“My working-class town was clearly divided along lines of race and class,” he says. “I found that disturbing and a measured element of my growing up, and it shaped my view of the world and the larger society. It was a tough, sort of mean place. My reading and my trips to the Carnegie Public Library [in his hometown] afforded me, not an escape from that, but gave me an alternative vision of the world; and I think at some point that was so alluring I thought to escape from that rough-and-tumble experience.”
Venn-diagramed, the challenges of teaching overlap with those of travel. Both require a self-immersion in a dynamic, unpredictable environment, and setting in motion genuine communication with the locals. Yes, for college teachers, it’s important to acquire the equivalent of a good Metro map, the how-to’s of syllabus construction, lecture writing, and goosing a flaccid discussion. But it’s the thornier aspects of campus life that most tax the ingenuity and the stamina. How to talk with the student who comes to an office hour not just troubled, but in full-blown psychosis? Or the student whose blatant cheating sends you to the Honor Council, at which point she deluges you with drink-induced hate email?
Barbara J. King
"As a feminist, and somebody who is working toward social justice, there aren’t that many spaces in a city this big that are doing what we’re doing. It’s hard enough to find independent bookstores, period. Feminist politics are something we still carry on today even though it’s expanded. It’s a really non-alienating space. Tourists and people’s moms who have no idea about whatever movements are going on can come in and shop for fiction in a space that is not limited or elitist or too narrow."
"I forget the exact wording and I can’t find a copy of the essay at the moment, but in his essay “In the Tradition…” Michael Swanwick makes an argument for fantasy as the literature of regret: regret for things that are lost and cannot be regained. I think, although it’s not a conscious choice, that’s where I fit, because I seem to have lost a lot of my optimism. It may simply be a certain melancholy mindset, or a feeling of disconnection, but I tend to write about things that I wish were better, without any particular hope that they ever will be."
Geoffrey H. Goodwin
"It is obviously wrong to write an entirely fictional story and try to pass it off as memoir, a la Margaret B. Jones, but exaggeration, embellishment, and mistaken memory is common in all “factual” storytelling. And sometimes you have to re-create scenes of things you weren't there for -- I’m writing about my parents meeting and falling in love. I have the facts, but obviously I wasn't there, so any dialogue is an invention. I think it always is."