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Thursday, 8 October 2015

WRITERS ON WRITING #73: Nadia Wheatley

It is not uncommon for family and friends of authors to feel a mixture of pain and violation when they find pieces of their character or aspects of their experience turning up in a novel.  This is particularly the case, of course, with authors who work in the genre of realism, and especially with those who are themselves recognisable as characters in their texts.  When people take exception to what they perceive as transgressive fictional portraits, it is not necessarily the 'bad' or 'obvious' things that they mind.  The author may inadvertently make public some apparently trivial thing which the character's model felt to be intimate or private or domestic.  At the same time, the author may firmly believe that she or he has 'made up' the character, or has developed it as a composite, and may even be aware of what has been borrowed or used...While all of that can be difficult, it goes with the territory of being in a relationship - whether as friend or spouse - with that sort of writer.

The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift (2001)

Click HERE to visit the website of Australian biographer and award-winning children's author NADIA WHEATLEY.

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WRITERS ON WRITING #61: Charmian Clift
WRITERS ON WRITING #39: Deborah Eisenberg

Thursday, 1 October 2015

THINK ABOUT IT #6: Marcus Aurelius

Either you go on living in the world and are familiar with it by now, or you go out, and that by your own will, or else you die and your service is accomplished.  There is nothing beside these three: therefore be of good courage.

Meditations (c. 170 CE) [Translated by ASL FARQUHARSON 1944]

Click HERE to read more about the life and work of Roman Emperor (from 161 to 180 CE) and Stoic philosopher MARCUS AURELIUS.  (He was portrayed by RICHARD HARRIS in the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, directed by RIDLEY SCOTT and co-starring JOAQUIN PHOENIX as his son and successor Commodus.)

You might also enjoy:
THINK ABOUT IT #5: Simone de Beauvoir
THINK ABOUT IT #4: Lenny Bruce
THINK ABOUT IT #1: Rollo May

Thursday, 24 September 2015

WRITERS ON WRITING #72: Badryah Al-Bishr

As a writer, I need space to work, so that I can write without [feeling trapped in a] constant state of struggle and conflict.  If I'm not being clear, I want my sentence to be for me, mine, and not simply a sentence responding to the comment of another.  When I was writing articles for Arshaq Al Aswat, I found myself always being [in a state of] reaction, and not action.  I believe a successful person is someone who does and doesn't simply react.  I think an intellectual shouldn't spend all his time debating others.

Saudi Writer Badryah al-Bishr: Be the Action, Not the Reaction [23 March 2015]

Click HERE to read the full interview with Saudi novelist BADRYAH AL-BISHR posted on the excellent Wordpress website Arabic Literature (In English) founded and maintained by M LYNX QUALEY.

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WRITERS ON WRITING #53: Mohammad Hassan Alwan 
WRITERS ON WRITING #31: Jana El Hassan 
WRITERS ON WRITING #12: Simone de Beauvoir

Thursday, 17 September 2015

POET OF THE MONTH #32: Jennifer Denrow



You were the white field when you handed me a blank
sheet of paper and said you'd worked so hard
all day and this was the best field you could manage.
And when I didn't understand, you turned it over
and showed me how the field had bled through,
and then you took out your notebook and said how each
time you attempted to make something else, it turned out
to be the same field. You worried that everyone
you knew was becoming the field and you couldn't help
them because you were the one making them into fields
in the first place. It's not what you meant to happen.
You handed me a box of notebooks and left. I hung the field
all over the house. Now, when people come over, they think
they're lost and I tell them they're not. They say they're
beginning to feel like the field and it's hard because they know
they shouldn't but they do and then they start to grow whiter
and whiter and then they disappear. With everyone turning
into fields, it's hard to know anything. With everyone turning
into fields, it's hard to be abstract. And since I'm mostly alone,
I just keep running my hand over my field, waiting.

From the collection California
 © Four Way Books, 2011

The Poet:  The following biographical statement appears on the Better Magazine website.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the poem re-posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Jennifer Denrow received a Ph.D. in Poetry from the University of Denver. She is the author of the poetry collection California (2011) and the chapbooks A Knee for Life (2010) and From California, On (2010). She currently resides in Colorado, where she writes and teaches.

Click HERE to read an interview with JENNIFER DENROW conducted by WHITNEY DE VOS and published in the September 2011 online edition of The Sonora Review.  You can also click HERE to read another poem by JENNIFER DENROW on the website.

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Thursday, 10 September 2015

WRITERS ON WRITING #71: Toni Morrison

No, I'm angry all the time.  Almost all the time, which is why I write books.  That's where I control things, that's where I think freely about things, without regard to the fashion or whatever else is going on, or who's planning to kill whom and whether we should all have guns or nobody should have guns.  All these things prey on you, and I got a little disturbed years ago with some business, political, cultural, I don't know what, but I was very depressed.  It was awful, so right wing, the country.  And I found myself not working, not writing, and my friend Peter Sellars [the opera director] calls me up usually every Christmas, and this time he called me and said, 'Merry Christmas, how are you?'  And I said, 'I feel awful, I really can't write,' and went on, complaining, and he started shouting, 'No, no, no!'  He said, 'Toni, this is when artists go to work!  Not when things are wonderful and calm.  This is the time!'  And I suddenly stopped whining, and I thought about writers in prison, in camps, in the gulag, a history of people who under the world's worst circumstances, write. This was about 20 years ago, but I now understand it better because it works for me.  I can think through my novels, I can react, I can invent, I can create, I can be free.  It's my space, and I am in control. 

Interview [goodreads, May 2015]

Click HERE to read the full interview with US novelist, editor, professor and political activist TONI MORRISON by CATHERINE ELSWORTH on the goodreads website. 

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WRITERS ON WRITING #61: Charmian Clift
WRITERS ON WRITING #51: Marianne Moore
WRITERS ON WRITING #41: Maya Angelou

Thursday, 3 September 2015

THINK ABOUT IT #5: Simone de Beauvoir

What should a society be, so that in his last years a man might still be a man?
  The answer is simple:  he would always have to be treated as a man.  By the fate that it allots to its members who can no longer work, society gives itself away; it has always looked upon them as so much material.  Society confesses that as far as it is concerned, profit is the only thing that counts, and that its 'humanism' is mere window-dressing; Society turns away from the aged worker as though he belonged to another species.  That is why the whole
question [of ageing and retirement] is buried in a conspiracy of silence.

  ...Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable.  The young know this.  Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.

La Vieillesse [The Coming of Age] (1970) 

Click HERE to read more about the life and work of French Existentialist philosopher, feminist, social critic and novelist SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR.

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WRITERS ON WRITING #12: Simone de Beauvoir
THINK ABOUT IT #2: C Wright Mills
TAHAR BEN JELLOUN Au Pays [A Palace in the Old Village] (2009)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

WRITERS ON WRITING #70: Ford Madox Ford

I should say that on the whole an agent is of little use to the author who has any business faculties at all, but so many have not.  The agent's function is to be a sort of bar-loafer who hangs around, finding what publisher, magazine or paper wants what.  He may be of use.  But few agents will handle the work of young authors, who have always been my particular preoccupation.  And the agent's interests are not by any means always at one with the individual author's.  He will place a highly paid author in preference to another on his list; he gets more commission.  He will place an author who is indebted to him rather than one who isn't.  He is then sure of getting his money back.  It is not always to his interest to press a dishonest or defaulting publisher to the point of definitely offending them.  He has other authors that he will wish to place with that publisher.
  All out then, you had better do without an agent unless you are a very big seller...

Return To Yesterday (1931)

THE FORD MADOX SOCIETY, an international organization founded in 1997 'to promote knowledge of and interest in the life and works of Ford Madox Ford,' can be visited by clicking HEREYou can also click HERE to view clips from the soon-to-be released documentary It Was The Nightingale: The Unreliable Story of Ford Madox Ford, directed by PAUL LEWIS for Subterracon Films.

You might also enjoy:
FORD MADOX FORD A Call: The Tale of Two Passions (1910)
WRITERS ON WRITING #50: Ford Madox Ford
WRITERS ON WRITING #30: Ford Madox Ford