Archive for the 'writing' Category

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

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

A Helpful Reminder

…creative writers are confusing themselves with journalists and getting involved in arguments about making money that have nothing to do with them when in reality the key to making a living as a creative writer is doing something else.
—Stephen Elliott, The Part About Writing For Free

This Blog's Brush With Relevance

My PJ Harvey/John Parish concert review was quoted at BrooklynVegan, coincidentally the only music blog I can stand. I was prett-y flattered.

Short Stories, Writers, Translation, Question Marks, Etc.

This is a very long post that could probably be much more precise and concise, but this is my blog so I just let it roll.

Short stories. They’re difficult to describe. In his column on the form in The Rumpus, Peter Orner explains the problem:

Because the thing about stories, and this might be the exact reason they so often fly under the radar is that few things are harder to talk about than why a particular story is great. It’s like trying to explain love and not love. It goes back to that pang.

The ones I’ve been putting in the most time with are from Zoetrope: All-Story’s Spring 2009 Latin American Issue, edited by Daniel Alarcón and Diego Trelles-Paz, and The Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction, a bilingual anthology put out by Dalkey Archive and edited by Álvaro Uribe. A few stories from each have stood out for me (Have you read any Alejandro Zambra? If not, go here.), but especially the late Aura Estrada’s “An Open Secret” from All-Story and Álvaro Enrigue’s “Sobre la muerte del autor” from The Best of…*

Both stories are about writers and the writing process. Both are by Mexicans. Their last names also both begin with ‘E,’ but we don’t need to get carried away. I’m compelled to connect them, but I’m not sure they have much more than these basic facts in common.
Continue reading ‘Short Stories, Writers, Translation, Question Marks, Etc.’

Want to be blown away and inspired?

Then watch this excerpt from an interview with Sandra Cisneros from the Leonard Lopate show:

You can listen to the rest here. She is appearing in NYC three times this week, but due to my stupid job and my wonderful Spanish class, I have had and will have to miss each.

I have a lot to write about but I am legitimately busy at work. This weekend is going to be hot as hell and I’m hoping it gets my juices flowing.

Why Blog?

This question was asked rhetorically yesterday, and after sleeping on it I realized why I do feel inclined to publicly post the minutiae of my life, and it is the same reason that I write in general: to give structure to my experiences. Incredibly basic, yes. Maybe it’s just my bad memory, which both forgets and distorts, but without taking notes and subsequently chronicling my experiences, I feel lost. I’ve kept a journal since I was a kid and started doing so online when I was 15, and it has just never gotten old for me. I still write in a paper notebook (in fact, 4), and it’s why my other blog (which I’m trying to keep completely separate from everything else) is called “A Pathological Writer.” Though my output of fiction and other “publishable” writing isn’t what I’d like it to be, I’m constantly in the act, and that is satisfying to me. Having an experience and not writing about it isn’t satisfying to me, basically, whether I do it publicly or privately. So, that’s why this place exists.