5. What is your writing process like?

When I’m writing a story, the characters live in my head. It’s really like they’ve moved in for a while with all their baggage, and they’re with me 24/7. I may be stuck in traffic or working out at the gym when one of the characters tells me something, and I immediately jot it down. The characters reveal themselves gradually. Sometimes it takes weeks to come up with the perfect name or perfect occupation for a character. (A name can change many, many times until it feels exactly right.) My favorite part: I’m sitting at my computer, and a character says something that’s really hilarious, so I burst out laughing, sometimes uncontrollably. My dog looks at me like I’m out of my mind. —Garrett Socol at PANK Magazine Blog


The Other Me



I can’t state my full name here for fear of Google, but I’m working hardcore on my professional ish and wouldn’t be peeved to get some input and activity happening on that front. See my LinkedIn profile; go to my portfolio site; and hit up my (very new) professional Twitter, which will be lit & film focused without the profanity, the personal (such as, “Sangria, I love you.” and “Soccer games make me feel so heterosexual.”), and the political (pro-migrant, pro-health care reform) that you get at my @_aliciadk feed.

Note: The picture will change this evening when I get home.

If you’re on LinkedIn, connect with me. If you want to get with that sort of a Twitter, follow me. Thanks!

Superfantastic 'Inglourious Basterds' Review at The Auteurs

Fairy tale from the start, complete with a little big bad wolf (or hawk, as it is) sent to blow a house down, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is, as should be expected, of the Grimm lineage: crass and bloody and tragic and funny, at most events twisted. It opens with a smack-you-scatty pointer title card, “Once Upon a Time In Nazi-Occupied France,” to tell us Tarantino sees World War II as just another Leone epic, maybe, with better dialog; another vaguely cartoon setting to pile on film references and cruelty, with little regard for real world historical accuracy. Our auteurist auteur favors the faith that the cinema is its own history. —Ryland Walker Knight

I have to watch all of Tarantino's movies again now.

Saw Inglourious Basterds last night and it made me wish I’d paid more attention to all of Quentin Tarantino’s other films instead of always being like, “YEAH, Tarantino, good, but not my shit” because Inglourious Basterds is so my shit. It’s split into chapters, the first of which has a subtitle of “Once upon a time…” Having read nothing about it before going in, I scribbled excitedly in my notebook, “fairy tale?” And yes, it’s a fairy tale. The moral of it would be “guard your imaginations (and your cinema).” It’s about “killing Nazis,” of course, but it’s just as much about cinema itself. The latest propaganda film, Nation’s Pride, from Hitler’s second in command Joseph Goebbels (the real filmmaker and Propaganda Minister under Hitler), provides the narrative’s drive from the middle to the end, making quite clear for anyone who didn’t have the chance to study Third Reich cinema in college the utter seriousness with which it was treated. The Basterds—a group of Jewish-American soldiers who use guerilla tactics to kill Nazi soldiers—are, in the film, avenging the presence of Nazis and Hitler in our imaginations, completely breaking them either physically or mentally. Brad Pitt’s Aldo the Apache is the kind of American character Americans love (unapologetically brash and badass, with a hint of anti-intellectualism) and you will fall for it on a giddy, visceral level. But the SS officer Hans Lander who is Aldo’s opposite—a prim polyglot who treats “Jew hunting” as simply an occupation at which he is very, very skilled—is also extremely pleasurable to watch.

It’s the smartest, most entertaining movie I’ve seen this year and I see a lot of fucking movies. I’d say more but I don’t want to spoil anything big for anyone because I assume you’re going to go see it right now.

I know this black hole.

I think what drives me the most are desire and fear. I think: I want to write this book. I can see it in my mind, it’s perfectly formed, the structure is sound. It’s like an apple, it’s like something in nature. Why can’t I get it to look the same on the page? Why? So bewilderment is part of it too, I guess. And stubbornness.

And also I’m afraid of what will happen to me if I don’t write the book. Some days I feel like my life is completely empty. Writing is the only thing that seems to bring meaning to my life and without it I would be facing this black hole. A more cynical interpretation might be to say that it’s not that writing is meaningful, just distracting, but to me that doesn’t usually feel true. — Deb Olin Unferth via Jacket Copy

An Awkward Book to Carry Around

‘God Says No’ review is over here.

(This had been up but I deleted it. Learning to live with myself, guys.)

"I want to read my own production and astonish myself"

In one index of his growing international reputation, Mr. Bellatin recently signed a multibook deal with Gallimard, the prestigious French publisher, that calls for his next several works to be issued in France before they appear in Spanish in Latin America. As usual he has seized on that opportunity to make mischief: rather than publish his original manuscript here, he intends to have someone else render the French translation back into Spanish.

There is a feature on Mexican writer Mario Bellatín in the NY Times from last Sunday. His novella Beauty Salon (originally published in Spanish in 1994) is out now in translation (by Kurt Hollander) from City Lights Books. Between him and Alejandro Zambra you can read very few pages and still be hip to contemporary Latin American letters. Get on it (my slow ass is).


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