Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rigged

As I left the supermarket, this USA Today print cover story caught my eye, "Rigged: Forced into debt. Worked to exhaustion. Left with nothing." I took another look at an online version of the story and read that many truckers are being classified as independent contractors and working long hours only to owe the shipping companies money or receive a 67-cent check at the end of the week. For too many, the American nightmare continued through the Obama years, and goodness knows what awaits them under the current regime.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What did I long for?

"What did I long for? At twenty-three, I of course longed for fame. Not only did I long for it, I suffered the singular notion that fame was an heirloom passed on from my father. Dead at forty, which never obviates the stuff of myths, my father acquired over the years a nostalgic eminence in Watertown; and, like him, I wanted to have my name called back and bantered about in consecrated whispers."

~~ from A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley

Thursday, June 15, 2017

the struggle to find a publisher. . .

Richard Ford's "I'd spit again" concerning a Colson Whitehead negative review brought me to another Guardian piece on John Kennedy Toole's struggle to find a publisher. It's tough out there, so do the best you can and remember to appreciate any small success that comes your way. Good luck, always. I need it too.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

New Books from David Ebenbach


Philadelphia's own David Ebenbach has published two new books this year. The Guy We Didn't Invite to the Orgy and Other Stories arrived in January, and Miss Portland, a Novel, arrived this week from Orison Books. Forward Reviews writes of Miss Portland:

A moving paean to becoming the place where you belong…..a complex, intimate, and deeply humane portrait of a person whose experience of the world is both alternate and poignantly familiar. Ebenbach captures a profound vulnerability in Zoe’s dichotomies. At the heart, Zoe wants to root and connect. While she grasps at straws with one hand, she offers whatever she’s managed to grasp with the other. Rather than discourage her, Zoe’s difference sharpens her conviction. Yet, as Zoe’s story unfolds, Ebenbach’s sensitive portrayal resists easy answers or convenient endings. Zoe’s quest for a happy ending may take her to Portland, Maine, but, ultimately, it leads her back to herself.

Follow David Ebenbach's news at his blog, or connect with him on Facebook where he has fun and informative presence.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Auggie's Revenge at American, British and Canadian Studies

An excerpt from and a book review of Auggie's Revenge appears in the June 2017 issue of the European academic journal American, British and Canadian Studies. The excerpt is behind a paywall but the full issue--Volume 28, Number 1 (June 2017)--is also available as an open-access publication. I'm very grateful for any support I receive in the form of book purchases or asking a public or university library to acquire a copy. Thank you!

Friday, June 2, 2017

where hoop meets writing help

During Game 1 of the NBA finals, I had the pleasure of sharing writing advice from Richard Bausch that he posted for the world to read.

Me: I remember Game 7 against the Bucks where Allen Iverson drove the lane, missed, then missed two or three more put backs until he got the hoop. Revise, revise, revise. Of course, Bausch is talking months and years, not flying-fast AI time.

Bausch: When Scott Fitzgerald finished the first complete draft of THE GREAT GATSBY, he made a note to himself: "Now the hard work begins." The real artistry is in the revisions, the times through. One writes it and then writes it again, and then again--and again. Parts of it are re-worked dozens of times. And one learns to be ruthless about it. When I was gathering old materials to store them once, I found 27 versions of page 221 of a novel I never even let out of the house; this was a book I was working on in the early eighties, first with a flare pen on yellow legal pads and finally on an old clunker of a typewriter: IBM. 27 typed pages with cutting and pasting on them, too. I remember having the thought, "Damn, I've been a hard worker." And I have no memory of tearing those pages out of the typewriter, or feeling any despair or even discouragement about it beyond the daily helping we all feel all the time because it is so difficult to do well. I would've remembered frustration and despair, too. No: it was just the work, which I was apparently quite patiently and diligently doing each day. Makes me happy to think of it now, getting ready to start the really hard work of it again.

Even a bad novel requires a bit of privacy.

"One can sleep almost anywhere, but one must have a place to work. Even if it's not a masterpiece you're doing. Even a bad novel requires a chair to sit on and a bit of privacy."

~~ Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Thursday, June 1, 2017