Are You In Love With Your Own Writing?

“A word after a word after a word is power.” Margaret Atwood

There’s this thing called verbal narcissism. It’s pretty much the ability to game a wall, if it comes to that. To sell sand in the Sahara Desert.

It also means to be so in love with your own words that it could mean talking on and on about things that few people ever care about. Or it could happen that you do deliver a strong message, but you’re using so many words to do so, that it’s all distilled to the point of making people want to smack you over the head with their keyboards. Continue reading Are You In Love With Your Own Writing?

Book Review: Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov

From Amazon.com:

It is estimated that some three million people died in the Soviet forced-labour camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent seventeen years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, whose hopes and plans extended to further than a few hours.

Feeling depressed? Feeling as if life’s unfair? Hard? People are mean? Read Kolyma Tales. That should make you feel better.

Don’t believe me?

“The men were not shown the thermometer, but that wasn’t necessary since they had to work in any weather. Besides, longtime residents of Kolyma could determine the weather precisely even without a thermometer: if there was frosty fog, that meant the temperature outside was forty degrees below zero; if you exhaled easily but in a rasping fashion, it was fifty degrees below zero; if there was a rasping and it was difficult to breathe, it was sixty degrees below; after sixty degrees below zero, spit froze in mid-air. Spit had been freezing in mid-air for two weeks.”

Continue reading Book Review: Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov

(Dis)comfort

“The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.” – William Faulkner

Nothing is as beautiful as we can imagine it. Yet, there would be nothing unless we’d imagine it first.

That’s the thing… the constant aspiration towards what doesn’t exist…yet.

Frustrating, indeed.

We are who we are because we spend most of our time dreaming of becoming much, much more.

And art has the habit of showing us what is possible. Continue reading (Dis)comfort

How to Write a First Draft

Forgive me, for I am here to destroy your insecurities. Your excuses. That thing you do when you tell yourself that your first draft must be perfect. The illusion that great writing is born in a single moment of inspiration.

I want to destroy those things so you can get down to the business of writing. And that begins with first drafts.

First drafts tend to scare the hell out of most writers. Even the greats. Kurt Vonnegut said, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

So when a writer of his caliber makes a statement like that … do you think you will be any different? Continue reading How to Write a First Draft

The Writer: Episode #6

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”Sidney Sheldon

BSOD or Blue Screen of Death is a an error screen displayed on a Windows computer system after a fatal system error.

Writers have something called a WSOD or White Screen of Death. It looks something like this: Continue reading The Writer: Episode #6

Book Review: Ancient Book of Sex and Science

In this second volume in the critically acclaimed Ancient Book series, indulge yourself as you explore the strange frontiers of sex and science. From instruments of innovation and the Atomic Age to analysis of the mind, body, and seduction of the human form. Featuring broad color, shapely design, supple lines, and evocative commentary, The Ancient Book of Sex and Science is a fine art hardcover collection of images produced by some of the most highly sophisticated animation designers and low-brow artists in the industry.

This is a phenomenal book for all art aficionados. A must-have.  Continue reading Book Review: Ancient Book of Sex and Science

TMM: The Muse Needs Time

Time. The world’s most valuable commodity. Not only that, but you can trade it for anything else.

The muse also needs it. The more time you spend doing the work, the better you become. It is a rule of nature.

But sometimes people get caught in this romantic way of thinking. Art is about inspiration, about some sort of poetry, not just work ethic. They discard the craft part of art…

But truth is, the muse demands you sit at your desk and do the work. That you set aside a certain number of hours each day and get stuff done.

It’s the one rule you cannot bend or break.

Don’t water this down.

Don’t be seduced into thinking that art is inherently different than any other kind of work.