Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Celebrity author

Frank McCourt in the L.A. Times, on becoming a celebrity author:

"I wasn't prepared for it. After teaching, I was getting all this attention. They actually looked at me — people I had known for years — and they were friendly and they looked at me in a different way. And I was thinking, 'All those years I was a teacher, why didn't you look at me like that then?' "

read the whole article here

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Writers' careers

Barry Malzberg to Mike Resnick, in the Summer 2005 issue of the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) Bulletin:

" my friend Carter Scholz noted years ago "There is no career path for writers" and that cannot be uttered strongly or repetitively enough. There is no career path for writers, most writers, as Nelson Algren said, kind of fall into it, come to writing as a means of not having been successful (or not feeling successful) somewhere else and even then they just kind of wander around. Careers begin, advance, go into inexplicable retrograde, collapse, soar, seemingly out of the writers' control; they are unpredictable most of all to those having them and yesterday provides little clue to tomorrow in career terms (maybe a little moreso in terms of fulfilling contracts). That dense and tangled wood in which Dante's protagonist found himself distinctly resembles the world of the writer. . . Dr. Angst makes home visits. Of course you will deny this circumstance in your own life, but, as a I wrote a long time write from the authority of success, I from the authority of failure, and failure, old pal and comrade, can teach you a few goddamned things that success never will."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Making It Up

From Gail Caldwell's Boston Globe review of Penelope Lively's "Making It Up;"

"Any writer who shoves around words all day will tell you that order's the thing: All nouns and verbs must line up under the author's steely gaze, compliant as schoolchildren in a fire drill. Otherwise, where's the joy? One writes to imposte the ego's scaffolding upon the messy business of life, and what chaos the ordinary life presents! Even the most rigorously truth-bound writers will bend and rearrange the facts, if only by where they choose to put them. Fiction writers, a wilder and sneakier bunch, get to sort through their rummage-sale findings and use them willy nilly . . . having elected to serve this god of imagination, fiction writers must be ruthless in the hunt--they haul their kill into the cave and hope it will help to feed the beast."