Quotable Melville


 

Herman Melville, on the Sisyphean task of novel writing:

“….God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught- nay, but a draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash and Patience!”

- Melville, Moby Dick. Chapter 32.(1851)

**Ironically, this “draught of a draught” is none other than Moby Dick.

 

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The library of never finished books

The Library of Lost Books.

The library of Dreams.

In his famous Sandman comics, author Neil Gaiman presents Lucien, Morpheus’ librarian, who watches over the library of the Dreaming- all the books that were dreamed of but never written.

This reminds me of one of the peculiar burdens of novel writing, which is that novels take years to write, ergo I can only write a few of these in my life, ergo there will be so very many books and story ideas that I will either abandon or never write down.

This is not to say that other forms of writing, poetry or blogging say, are any easier. It’s just that you can put together a lot of poems or blogs posts in the amount of time it takes to write a novel.

Here’s to the books that I never started or never finished.

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Pictures and Small Spoilers: 6 reasons to admire James Robinson’s Starman from the 90’s

I have already gone on at some length about Starman from the 90’s, so rather than go into detail, let’s just make with the pictures:

Reason 1- Starman has a regular barber:

Time for a haircut I'd say.

Time for a haircut I’d say.

Reason 2- People over 60 have sex. In this case, the original, golden-age Sandman and his wife:

"Now Wes..."

“Now Wes…”

Reason 3- Two words: “the Shade”:

"Hello."

“Hello.”

Reason 4- A loving tribute to Art Deco!:

StarmanArtDeco_Final

Reason 5- Splash pages full of nifty architecture:

 

Opal City in all its glory. A full page in the comic.

Opal City in all its glory. A full page in the comic.

Reason 6- Some of the best plot twists ever!:

plot_twist_final

Sands: “Well, would you sell the shirt? What about that?”…. Starman: “Yeah. All right. I guess.” (Why fight the villain when you can just sell them what they want?)

 

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Writing Acceptances 2014

therightstuff_lightstuffI try to spend more time writing than thinking about writing, but it’s inevitable that my thoughts will turn to this task I have adopted and to all the emotions and implications that surround it.

To address this, I keep a small journal in which I update my thoughts on writing. In fact, journal is a generous term, it’s more like a loose collections of thoughts and affirmations that I revisit and revise every three to six months. As of late, I have been at it again. Below are my 2014 affirmations, acceptances, and/or mantras in regard to my writing life:

1- As punk rocker Frank Turner states: “The only thing that’s left to do is to live.” When I am done writing and working hard to promoting my writing, I need to let it go and enjoy life itself. I need to tackle my chores with a clear head and to enjoy life now (as obvious as that sounds), not in some hypothetical future that may never be. I need to enjoy my children and coffee and family trips and playing board games and sandwiches and reading now.

2- Trying to be be clever is an act of vanity. The biggest problem with the internet is that it sells me daily on the idea that some act of cleverness will lead to easy success. And now there’s a voice in my head that echoes the internet. I need constant amnesty from this idea.

3- I must be careful not to conflate financial success with pride/ confidence. I can be proud of my work without there being money. The best I have to offer might never make any real money. Being a pragmatist, there is a part of me that cannot deny the link between success and material acquisition. I think this connection between pride and money will always be a problem for me. See Diana Senechal’s important essay about Western Culture and the narrowing of the definition of success.

4- I am not a writer; I am only a book. Further, each novel I write is the work of a short lifetime, and I am lucky to have many short lifetimes. People are not always so lucky.

5- Time cannot be allowed to become my monster. As David Byrne has stated in various songs: “Time isn’t holding us. Time isn’t after us.” and “Life is long if you give it away.” I’m not even entirely sure what the fuck this means and how it applies to writing, but it seems important. I will continue investigating. Maybe in a few years, I’ll get a better picture.

6- Writing is not the key to anything except becoming a better writer. And it’s often lonely, like wandering an arctic wilderness. That’s what the empty page is: an ice-land. Nor will it necessarily make me happier. Nevertheless, it bring satisfaction, and sometimes at the most surprising moments. Also, I’m pretty good at doing it.

7- Out of the blue, I have stumbled onto my lifetime. I have accidentally established home turf and identity.  Now I must go and fight like hell for it; I must be its champion.

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On the cost of books.

Doctor_Strange_Banner_Mix_2Last week I spent $60 to purchase a book. Sixty! I got a used version of Doctor Strange Volume 1, part of the Marvel Masterworks series. Not including some very expensive textbooks that I had to buy for college, that’s a record for me!

The upshot is that I felt jittery and even kind of guilty! Continue reading

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An Interview with fantasy author, Tim Taylor.

TimCTaylorsquare_400

UK based writer, Tim Taylor

I’m pleased to be hosting an interview with UK-based author and indie-publisher, Tim C. Taylor, in regard to one of his newest projects, Treasure of the Last Dragon.

Treasure of the Last Dragon is a fantasy short story collection aimed at middle-school aged kids and released of part of the Repository of the Imagination imprint.

Question: Let’s start with a question about crabs! Tim, the title story in “Last Dragon” features a foursome of mystery-solving kids. Except these “kids” aren’t kids in any human sense of the word. They are aliens who look like giant crustaceans. How did you come up with the crab-alien idea? And, in regard to the gang and their lovable sidekick Wagger (an amphibian, but people often assume that he’s a dog!), were you at all inspired by the Scooby Doo cartoon series?

Tim Taylor: I’m certainly no stranger to Scooby Doo, and my family and I have all enjoyed the recent Mystery Incorporated series. But the idea came from another series of books that features a gang of two boys, two girls and a dog: The Famous Five. They were written in the 40s and 50s, which makes them so old-fashioned that my son finds them fascinating. I was reading them to him at bedtime when I came up with the idea for Treasure. I had great fun hinting at the kind of old-fashioned language and slightly didactic narrator you find in the Famous Five series.

I was writing these stories purely for the pleasure of doing so, rather than to earn money. I guess I was writing the kind of story I would have enjoyed when I was a boy. So I had humans who are the yucky aliens, and there’s a teasing acknowledgement of The Hobbit, which we had just seen at the cinema. Why crabs? I wanted something that would react to the softness of human skin as being something weird, so I picked something with a tough shell. Continue reading

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Treasure of the Last Dragon, Review

treasure-of-the-last-dragon_coverThe Treasure of the Last Dragon is the latest book by the UK-based scribe and indie-scene publisher Tim Taylor. It was released as part of middle-school-oriented “Repository of the Imagination” imprint (rated for kids age 11-16). The book features four thought-provoking shorts that fit under the genre of speculative fiction, employing a clever blend of science fiction and fantasy.

For Treasure of the Last Dragon, Taylor takes on the role of the extraterrestrial narrator, Crustias Scattermush, an alien repositorian (think: librarian) who follows up each story with some deeper thoughts and a touch of dry humor. Think Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone series.

The four stories themselves explore a vast range of creative concepts from a planet of intelligent crab-people to a Dickensian orphanage in a world of magic. Continue reading

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