Wednesday, February 8, 2017


At NPR online, Margaret Atwood discusses the next big form. I know from the moment the election was decided, MANY writers were vocal online and everywhere else about how they were already inspired to new dystopian work. To look at the form those works may take is a great exercise; and I think she may be right. The pace of traditional fiction cannot do justice to the creative juices flowing right now.

The evidence from Pech IV and Roc de Marsal clearly shows that the Neanderthals at these sites lived without fire not only for long periods but also during the coldest periods.

The Atlantic has a cool look at fire (hah). I've always been fascinated by the concept of the human hearth; hearth rights, the earliest human domesticity, the social contracts born of our control of and sharing of flame for warmth, protection, and cooking.

When a question is asked perfectly, it doesn’t need a tidy answer.

TA also has a wonderful link for writers (and readers!), just with its opener (well, or Faulkner's) on this article about asking the right questions. I have talked about the problems I have with creating tension on the page; as a writer of historicals set in known events and amongst characters who actually lived, it's too easy for me to think the (hi)story itself is enough. But it's necessary to know both WHY anyone else would find that enough, and to entice them to want to know. What gifts do we as authors bring to our characters ... ?

Which gets me thinking about my WIP's first line ...

The heat had begun to feed upon the red tile roofs of Ravenna, as if with a hostile will, when Amalasuntha was born more than eight days late.

Now, the CLOSING sentence (currently) is a literary in-joke. I love it, though it may not survive. It's worth reading the whole to get to it. Let's hope I'm getting the hang of this tension thing ...

(Confidential to my nerd readers: anyone else watch Caprica?)

Yeah, and it's a lot from The Atlantic today, but bear with me; they have some excellent writing!

Who else recalls Mike Mulligan and The Little House? Staples of my own childhood, I was thinking of the beautiful art for The Little House just a couple of days ago; the way it depicted time, especially; the way the house had a face, filled with emotion. This essay picks up those memories, and finds the relevance right now, with a powerful punch at the whole idea that innovation was invented recently. Y'all know how I love a good recency illusion and a The Dirty, Stupid Past refutation! (Want to get away from The Atlantic? Worth a click is the New Yorker story about Virginia Lee Burton.)

(S)uccessful in eliminating hair, and also in causing muscular atrophy, blindness, limb damage, and death.
Hoo baby!

Okay, back to The Atlantic, for another of my obsessions, hygeine! On the industry, social and cultural implications, and pain of feminine hair removal. Evolutionary racism, and Darwin's culpability. Ow.


Lilac Shoshani said...

Margaret Atwood's interview is so interesting, and I wish I could have attended John Rechy's workshop! Most important, I LOVE your WIP's first line! It's excellent and super enticing! :-)
P.S. I think that every woman should read the article about hair removal.

DLM said...

Looking at forms of publishing is so interesting right now; this is one of the major reasons I'm less and less convince the agent/traditional publishing route is the one for me. And more persuaded that authors who know how to do both indie and traditional - and now other forms, like serialization! - are going to be the successful ones. It could be exciting; and Atwood's point about speed in getting work in front of people is especially impactful upon the traditional route, which we know is a slow, SLOW grind.