Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Forest for the T-Bills?

from Betsy Lerner's The Forest for the Trees:

If there were some way to ensure that doing good work or working hard would guarantee some sort of financial return, the investing in a money market fund does, the writer motivated by money could type his copy into the ATM machine and wait for his cash. Likewise, any publisher motivated solely by profit would do better to liquidate his assets and invest solely in long-term bonds. Though publishers look bigger and badder with each passing day, it's still a nickel-and-dime business. . . If you want money, invest in stocks.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Auggie's Revenge Predicts Trump Presidency?

Fight for Your Long Day is the novel to read if you want to understand how divided America's economic inequality, rise of contract work, increasing debt, and uneasy tension with the globalized world make a Trump Presidency possible. Auggie's Revenge could be more entertaining, but both books have plenty of laughs.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Tender Hour of Twilight, "Publishing's Golden Age"

Translator-publisher Richard Seaver's memoir, The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age, is well edited by Jeanette Seaver, his French wife of six to eight decades, and includes his literary service bringing to American readers' attention Beckett, Genet, Malcolm X, Ionescu, Burroughs, Henry Miller, Hubert Selby, and others; his clandestine translating of The Story of O; and then toward the end the paradoxical introduction of unionizing efforts by women at Grove Press who did not feel fairly compensated by the male champions of free speech and literature leading the way. Although there is a dismissive tone to these workers' complaints, it is possible the workers were unaware of all the publisher's significant debts due to litigation against the house for their bold list of books. Regardless, the memoir is a page turner on Paris in the 1950s, New York publishing in the '60s, and it left me with a great sense that there have been moments where transgressive literature mattered. A few days after I finished I found a used second printing of the original Grove Press hardcover of Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers, the only Genet on the shelf, which for two dollars plus tax I took home although I have a trade paperback of the same in my storage space back home. I've never read the entire Genet, and probably won't this time around, but when I see the book at home, I'll likely be reminded of Richard Seaver's memoir and "publishing's golden age."

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Adjunct Novel at Inside Higher Ed

From Colleen Flaherty's "The Adjunct Novel" at Inside Higher Ed:

Alex Kudera, who has spent many years as a non-tenure-track professor of English, made waves in 2010 with his book about Cyrus “Duffy” Duffleman, a Philadelphia-area adjunct who travels around the city to five different jobs. Fight for Your Long Day traces Duffleman’s steps and the various indignities he experiences inside the classroom and out. He’s always running late, for example, and is wrongly accused of sleeping with a student by a college counselor, but still shows dedication to his work.

Kudera published Auggie’s Revenge, which touches on similar themes and features as adjunct as its central character, earlier this year. Hinting that some audiences aren’t quite ready for a full-on fictionalized takedown of adjunct issues, he said via email that his work might be “a more brutal version of socioeconomic America than relatively affluent urban readers like to see in their novels.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

National Novel Writing Month 2016

In November 2016, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. Although it's easy to recognize that novels don't get completed in a month, some famous rough drafts were written in a literary sprint. Jack Kerouac's original scroll for the On the Road is said to have been written in less than a month, and Paul Auster's novella-length memoir "Portrait of an Invisible Man" is said to have been written in two to three weeks. It's possibly only rumor that Thomas Pynchon wrote a full draft of The Crying of Lot 49 in a few weeks.

For Fight for Your Long Day I used a period of significantly less than my usual workload combined with less access to the internet to write the full 90,000-word rough draft from late June through early August of 2004. Substantial editing was required before it was contracted in early February 2010 and then published on October 1 that year. Spark Park's 125,000-word rough draft was also written "on a roll," and I wrote many short stories that way years ago. Auggie's Revenge was written on and off from December 2004 through final edits in July 2015 without a sustained period of uninterrupted writing of more than several hours each day.

For #NaNoWriMo2016, I already have 37,000 words (135 double-spaced Word pages) for the sequel to Fight for Your Long Day, and my goal is to create a complete rough draft by November 30 and a good rough draft (something I could show a friend without too much embarrassment) by January 1. According to #NaNoWriMo's website the goal is a 50,000-word novel from November 1 through November 30, so what I am doing is similar, if not exactly the same.

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Book Reviews for Fight for Your Long Day

The Chronicle of Higher Education " Considering Adjunct Misery " by William Pannapacker at The Chronicle of Higher Education (Ma...