Beautiful Writing

There’s an old joke

1 April 2014

There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

First line of Annie Hall

I Am “Flippish”.

16 October 2013

The Filipino American International Book Festival.

“Filipino American authors and artists have come together to share their stories at the second Filipino American International Book Festival.  Hosted by PAWA, a Northern CA based 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization and independent publisher of Filipino American lit.  PAWA’s main goal is to create and encourage literature and arts for the preservation and enrichment of Filipino and Filipino American historical, cultural and spiritual values.”

At the San Francisco Public Library, October 19-20.  Read more here:                  Leslie V. Ryan- Author

Julia Barrett

It was proposed to establish a nation on new principles

4 July 2013

For visitors from outside the United States, today is Independence Day, celebrating the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, signed on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia.

From President Calvin Coolidge’s “Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence” in Philadelphia, July 5, 1926:

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. . . . It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world.

Serious Fiction and Legitlit: Creating a Hybrid Home

28 January 2013

From Jennie Coughlin:

Print vs. Ebook

Traditional vs. Indie

Genre vs. Literary

Serious vs. Fluff?

Critics, readers and writers all like debating about fiction and where it’s going. One interesting sidelight to the Traditional/Indie debate has been the discussion about what works in print versus in ebook. Some genres are hugely popular in ebooks. Erotica leads the way — no covers to hide from people while reading in public — but romance, supernatural and other popular genres also do well in ebooks. Meanwhile, literary fiction doesn’t. Unless it’s popular literary fiction — akin to what Don Maass has dubbed 21st Century Fiction — and then it does well in both print and ebooks.

Blogger and critic Porter Anderson has been talking recently about the rise in “shirtless” fiction — romance, romance and more romance. For Porter, it’s akin to the 25-cent paperbacks people can buy by the bag at library book sales and used book stores. Easily read, easily discarded. He’s been pushing what he’s calling #legitlit and #seriousfiction — stories that make you think. Is that literary fiction? That might depend on who you ask.

Read the rest here- Interesting.  Welcome to Exeter.

Julia Barrett

Is Your Research Showing?

24 January 2013

Love this.  From Diane O’Connell – Is Your Research Showing?

“How do you know when to stop research? And how much research should actually go in your novel? Not knowing when to stop incorporating your research, or not knowing when the facts you’ve ferreted out of the library start to encroach on your story is a problem for many first time authors. As novelist Sean Pidgeon expressed in a recent New York Times article, “The true challenge, as I discovered in due course, was this: how to leave most of it out?”

Read the entire article here:  Write to Sell Your Book

Julia Barrett

 

She’s a poem in motion.

22 January 2013

This is not what you think. Beauty, grace, artistic expression, athleticism. You have to watch the video in its entirety. Anything we, as authors, can learn? Work that core? Never say never? Nothing is impossible?

(Oh, if the video doesn’t load I’ll reload it.)

Julia Barrett

Pink Slip Pilgrimage: A Broke Writer Needs a Loan

7 January 2013

From Gawker:

There are as many roads to penury as there are paupers to follow them. As a writer, I always tried to see my own journey as material for nostalgic anecdotes to be delivered during acceptance speeches at some national awards galas. I like to imagine my struggles as leisurely, rather loopy jaunts.

Today, in real life, this jaunt is looking really rough. I’m on my way to sign over the pink slip on “Moby Dick,” my white 2000 Buick Century, as security on a loan, so that I can pay my rent, two weeks late and counting. My destination is a storefront in a bleak San Jose strip mall between a liquor mart and a shoe repair shop. A fuscia neon sign beckons: “Fast Cash! Paycheck Advance! Auto Title Loans!” There, my signed pink slip will net me $1000 in cold cash, which I promise to repay over two years at an interest rate of about 98 percent.

I back out of my carport, find a jazz station playing rueful sax, and hit the road. The rain that threatened all morning arrives now in earnest, and the mist on my windshield quickly turns to tears, as if to make up for the ones I’m holding back. Somehow, my whole life seems prologue to this humiliating ordeal. It could be worse, I console myself, which only reminds me that it may, indeed, grow worse. The wipers begin beating time to the bitter scold in my head: why didn’t you, why did you, why didn’t you, why did you?

. . . .

“It’ll be okay, mom,” says my daughter, guessing the reason for my silence. She sits beside me now, as she always has, and in a way nothing has changed-although her once downy head has grown into an avalanche of blonde-streaked waves, and the rattles and sippy cups have given way to a plastic box of eye shadow that she dabs on in the passenger mirror.

She has just graduated from college and is herself seeking a “real” job. In the meantime, she has moved back with me-compounding the financial pressures but giving me a comrade in the trenches. I understand, without taking it personally, that to not follow in my footsteps is for her almost a career goal in itself. Who can blame her? Financial turmoil has shaped her life since her father left us when she was three years old.

I merge onto Highway 280 South. The road is nearly empty on this Saturday morning. I picture commuters still enjoying their leisurely breakfasts before heading out to spend their spendable incomes.

As the miles unreel ahead, I cannot resist backtracking mentally over my own highway of choices that delivered me to this pass. How many wrong turns? How many dead ends, detours, directions unheeded? Or is the problem deeper still? The map is wrong. The destination does not exist.

Perhaps-now that science is revealing the biology of personality-I am just genetically wired to be broke. My inborn character quirks always seemed to have veto power over good intentions and resolutions. By age seven, I was already displaying the traits that have cleft my life like a fault line: dismissive impatience with saving, impulsive overgenerosity, dislike for routine and generalized temperamental unmanageability. Reading Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ants, I quickly identified with my gangly orthopteral soul mate, shivering out in the cold with his inedible fiddle.

Link to the rest at Gawker and thanks to Brendan for the tip.

Their merry and varied songs

10 August 2012

 

At that moment, gay-colored birds of all sorts began warbling in the trees and with their merry and varied songs appeared to be greeting and welcoming the fresh-dawning day, which already at the gates and on the balconies of the east was revealing its beautiful face as it shook out from its hair an infinite number of liquid pearls. Bathed in this gentle moisture, the grass seemed to shed a pearly spray, the willows distilled a savory manna, the fountains laughed, the brooks murmured, the woods were glad, and the meadows put on their finest raiment.

. . . .

With this, the merry-smiling dawn hastened her coming, the little flowers in the fields lifted their heads, and the liquid crystal of the brooks, murmuring over their white and gray pebbles, went to pay tribute to the waiting rivers. The earth was joyous, the sky unclouded, the air limpid, the light serene, and each of these things in itself and all of them together showed that the day which was treading on the skirts of morning was to be bright and clear.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Translated by Samuel Putnam

Thanks to Russell for the tip.

He’s a going out with the tide

9 August 2012

‘He’s a going out with the tide,’ said Mr. Peggotty to me, behind his hand.

My eyes were dim and so were Mr. Peggotty’s; but I repeated in a whisper, ‘With the tide?’

‘People can’t die, along the coast,’ said Mr. Peggotty, ‘except when the tide’s pretty nigh out. They can’t be born, unless it’s pretty nigh in – not properly born, till flood. He’s a going out with the tide. It’s ebb at half-arter three, slack water half an hour. If he lives till it turns, he’ll hold his own till past the flood, and go out with the next tide.’

We remained there, watching him, a long time – hours. What mysterious influence my presence had upon him in that state of his senses, I shall not pretend to say; but when he at last began to wander feebly, it is certain he was muttering about driving me to school.

‘He’s coming to himself,’ said Peggotty.

Mr. Peggotty touched me, and whispered with much awe and reverence. ‘They are both a-going out fast.’

‘Barkis, my dear!’ said Peggotty.

‘C. P. Barkis,’ he cried faintly. ‘No better woman anywhere!’

‘Look! Here’s Master Davy!’ said Peggotty. For he now opened his eyes.

I was on the point of asking him if he knew me, when he tried to stretch out his arm, and said to me, distinctly, with a pleasant smile: ‘Barkis is willin’!’

And, it being low water, he went out with the tide.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Thanks to Austin for the submission.

It was growing dark on this long southern evening

8 August 2012

In the Beautiful Writing Category:

It was growing dark on this long southern evening, and suddenly, at the exact point her finger had indicated, the moon lifted a forehead of stunning gold above the horizon, lifted straight out of filigreed, light-intoxicated clouds that lay on the skyline in attendant veils.

Behind us, the sun was setting in a simultaneous congruent withdrawal and the river turned to flame in a quiet duel of gold….The new gold of moon astonishing and ascendant, the depleted gold of sunset extinguishing itself in the long westward slide, it was the old dance of days in the Carolina marshes, the breathtaking death of days before the eyes of children, until the sun vanished, its final signature a ribbon of bullion strung across the tops of water oaks.

Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides

Thanks to Rhonda for the tip.

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