Story Friday: What The Bee Knows

Our world is always full of unexpected lacunae, gaps and hollows that we don’t know are there until we step into one. We twist our ankle, and sit down and examine ourselves for injury… and instead find a gift.

One such gift was a book I received this Christmas, “What The Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol and Story” by P L Travers. Yes, THAT P L Travers. Mary Poppins’s literary mother.

It was only relatively recently, with the release of the movie which purported to deal with the relationship between Travers and Disney, which apparently (I never did get to see it) portrayed that relationship as frankly iffy and Travers herself as a bit of a pompous and cold selfish so-and-so who was all but willing to scuttle that great and glorious movie of my own childhood because of her own disapproval of Disney’s vision of it, that I really knew that there was anything here that came before the Poppins movie.

I knew nothing of P L Travers herself before I tripped over this recent movie interpretation of her, but somehow… somehow… I don’t know. I took a step back and thought, ‘Really? That was the way it was?’ And it was about this time that it came to my attention that there was a book out there called “What the Bee Knows”, and the things that it contained. And I desired it. And heaven and earth were moved so that it might be obtained for me.

And oh, the treasure I received….

What The Bee Knows, P. L. Travers

This is the new essay that just appeared at StorytellersUnplugged – you can read the rest of it here.

It talks about wisdom. And Story, with a capital S. And all sorts of other good stuff.

Oh, and she talks about a theme that I myself have written on — in essays.and in an anthology I created and edited: The story, as river.

River: An Anthology (ed. Alma Alexander)

Have a Storied Friday. Enjoy.

Filming Jin-shei

The Secrets of Jin-shei

 

Someone just found my website, apparently by using the search string “Secrets of Jin Shei Film”.

Aw. Bless you for your faith and confidence, whoever you are.

And oh, the film rights ARE available, if that’s what you were after.

 

 

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Another one for the halls of history.

Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has died at 86.

In confirming the news, the family said: “Dr. Maya Angelou … lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”

Krystie Lee Yandoli of BuzzFeed’s staff has collected some of her inspiring quotes.

Maya AngelouMaya Angelou quotes

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11 Book Sequels You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

We get frustrated with Hollywood’s propensity for weird sequels that seem to have little or nothing to do with the original, M Asher Cantrell writes at Mental Floss, but it just so happens that the practice is older than filmmaking itself.

Several classic stories have strange follow-ups you’ve never heard of, like the book in which Gandalf is a … a LUDDITE?

GandalfJ.R.R. Tolkien’s sprawling Middle Earth series covers more than a dozen books, several of which were published after his death. Of all of his extant materials, however, one culture’s history is mostly ignored–that of the people of Mordor. True, they’re the bad guys, but shouldn’t they get a say?

That’s the premise behind Russian author Kirill Yeskov’s unauthorized sequel, The Last Ringbearer. While it’s not an official sequel, the book is actually fairly popular on its own merits. Yeskov presents Mordor as a highly advanced society based around science and technology. Not unlike Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, The Last Ringbearer argues that “history is written by the winners” and that Mordor was actually a victim of the primitive cultures of men who blindly followed the Luddite-esque Gandalf.

Unknown book sequels

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Literary Homes You Can Buy Right Now

When thinking about our favorite authors, it’s natural to wonder about their personal lives and the places they came from“, Alison Nastasi tells us at Flavorwire. “When the homes of these wordsmiths are listed on the real estate market, we can’t help but fantasize about buying them and soaking up some of that writerly mojo by spending time in the same rooms they did, penning their well-known works.” Here are the homes of eight famous writers that you can purchase right now — if you have a few million extra in your pocket.

Beverly ClearyThe childhood home of one of America’s most successful children’s lit authors is looking for a new owner. Beverly Cleary took inspiration from the 1910 bungalow she grew up in, situated in northeast Portland. The house is on Hancock street, which is just blocks from Klickitat Street — the fictional home of Henry Huggins and the Quimby sisters, Ramona and Beezus. The home is also located near the Beverly Cleary School and the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park. Students at the school will be granted tours while the home is on the market.

Authors homes for sale

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Quote of the Day

Maya Angelou quoteShe’ll be missed.

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Alma Alexander
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Colorless green ideas

Greg Ross writes at Futility Closet that Noam Chomsky once offered the expression Colorless green ideas sleep furiously  as an example of a sentence that’s perfectly grammatical but is pure nonsense.

Naturally, some people took this as a challenge, Ross says, and students at Stanford set up a competition to show that the expression could be understood as a meaningful sentence. Here is one of the prize-winning entries:

Colorless green“It can only be the thought of verdure to come, which prompts us in the autumn to buy these dormant white lumps of vegetable matter covered by a brown papery skin, and lovingly to plant them and care for them. It is a marvel to me that under this cover they are labouring unseen at such a rate within to give us the sudden awesome beauty of spring flowering bulbs. While winter reigns the earth reposes but these colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Futility Closet is a site filled with thousands of “entertaining curiosities in history, literature, language, art, philosophy, and mathematics.” Check it out.

An entertaining site

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Also from the Futility Closet is this gem

Ancient Chinese encyclopedia wisdom:

“On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g), stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies from a distance. “

I LOVE it. I particulaily like the meta aspect of (k) – it’s an animal drawn by a brush from a particular animal’s hair – does camel hair have magic powers?

And then there’s the utter wonderfullness of giving up altogether that’s inherent in (l).

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Summer Reading

Summer ReadingBoston Globe, David Goldin

Beach Reads: It’s that time of year when everyone has a summer reading suggestion or three for you, including:

Flavorwire‘s “20 new nonfiction books that will make you smarter

For example:Eating WildlyThe Boston Globe‘s “Summer reading suggestions,”

Vulture‘s “6 books to read this summer,

Six BooksBuzzfeed‘s “22 books you need to read this summer,”

For example:

Eleanor & Parkthatcovergirl.wordpress.com

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: A love story about two people falling in love with each other and a book they both adore.

New Republic‘s “9 smart, entertaining new books to get you through the summer

For example:Rise and FallThe Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman leaps back and forth through time, and skips all across the globe. It’s a bookshop-lover’s book, and beautiful prose-lover’s book, and read-it-all-in-one-weekend book.

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Imaginary Worlds

An exhibition of Mosaiculture Living Sculptures at the Atlanta Botanical Garden features a menagerie of magical creatures.orangutan-pairphoto via Atlanta Botanical Garden

Unicornphoto via Atlanta Botanical Garden

‘Living’ imaginary creatures

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Quote of the Day

Wonder Women~~~~~
Alma Alexander
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‘I have killed my books’

The following story by Linda Grant about culling her library in a move, fills me with superstitious fear.

I go to my own shelves and gaze upon them, trail possessive hands over the jumbled ranks of Le Guin, Gaiman, Galsworthy, Undsett, Andric, Kay, Tolkien, Lewis, Wilde, Twain, Carroll, Penman, Asimov, Bradbury, Zelazny, Sienkiewicz. I love these things. I love them as though they live and breathe… and for me, of course, they do… If I ever leave this house and move to a place that is smaller and more cramped with no room for my books I will feel as though I buried a legion of friends, and nothing will do but mourning.

The cat in the bookcaseWhy did Grant kill her books? She talks about the heartbreaking task in a Guardian piece.

“… here was evidence of how I constructed my own intellectual history through reading. Here is Proust. Here is Jean Rhys. Here is Milton. Here isn’t Henry James because I have never been able to remember the beginning of his sentences by the time I get to the end. Here is JK Rowling. Here is Jilly Cooper. This is a library that tells …that doesn’t conceal the shameful reads, the low taste. Here are first editions, bought at abe.com, of my childhood favourites…”

Killing books

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Books, old and NEW

‘Goodbye, Amazon, we’re through,’ Laura Miller writes in Salon, because, she says, “no single corporation should have as much control over the book market as Amazon clearly aims to seize.”

On that, I couldn’t agree with her more.

But as an author trying to live on my book earnings, I find another part of her article quite troubling.

“… I buy used print books from AbeBooks and Powells.com….I also belong to Paperbackswap.com, a site that…enables its members to trade in their used books…for the used books of other members. “

Used, used, used. Does she ever buy NEW books?

The emphasis on used books concerns me because those of us who write the books she likes to read don’t get a penny out of used books to buy the occasional pizza or Kibble for our cats.

I buy from bookstores when I can, and even occasionally from Amazon. But the object is buying the book, not making a personal stand against a corporation.

Unh, sorry. I’ll get off the soapbox now.

Goodbye, Amazon

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The glass ceiling: After school, it’s all downhill for women

When young women leave college, Bryce Covert reports at The Nation, they move into a workplace that is tilted against them from the very beginning.

They will make less than their male classmates in their first job, no matter what school they went to, major they chose, grades they got or job they took. That wage gap will continue to grow as their careers advance.

Women may not even be able to get hired into the jobs they want just because of their gender. When prospective employers only knew someone’s gender, they were twice as likely to hire a man for a job in mathematics, assuming that the women would perform worse on a test problem without even seeing the results.

The glass ceiling

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15 Teen Feminist Books Everyone Should Read

One of the best things about having nieces, Elisabeth Donnelly writes at Flavorwire, is the chance to buy books for them, be it something like Anne of Green Gables or the collected works of E. Lockhart, who writes with a distinctly feminist viewpoint in the young adult genre. There’s something thrilling about reading books when you’re young and looking for how to be in the world; here are 15 feminist-leaning books that could inspire girls — and grown women — to take over the world.

Wild Magic
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Pierce specializes in wild fantasy with feminist themes, and in this first book in a series, a 13-year-old girl who can talk to the animals and breaks horses has to fight in a war.

 

Feminist Books

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All 339 Books Referenced In “Gilmore Girls”

I loved The Gilmore Girls in the first season. It was fresh and funny and the writing was superb. I lost interest after that, but it went on for years and was quite popular AND it featured a teen who loved books.

In Rory’s “valedictorian speech,” Krystie Lee Yandoli reports in BuzzFeed, she discussed her love of reading:

“I live in two worlds, one is a world of books. I’ve been a resident of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann’s Way. It’s a rewarding world.”

Rory GilmoreWarner Bros. Television / Via lessonstobelearned462.wordpress.com

Australian writer Patrick Lenton compiled a massive list of every single book that was referenced in the Gilmore Girls series, and set out to read each one in an attempt to complete what’s known as the “Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.” He is currently on book number 18.

Rory reads

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10 Great Authors Who Disowned Their Own Books

Science fiction and fantasy publishing is a tough game, Madeleine Monson-Rosen and Charlie Jane Anders write at io9.

Even the best novels get rejected by publishers who don’t understand their brave new worlds. But some authors wind up rejecting their own books. Here are 10 great authors who disowned their own creations after they’d already seen the light of day.

SurvivorOctavia Butler, Survivor: This 1978 novel is the only one of Butler’s works to remain out of print. She disowned it and let it stay buried, because she felt it depended on the worst cliches of science fiction.

Kafka Kafka, almost everything:  When, a few years before his death, Kafka asked his good friend Max Brod to destroy all his papers, besides the few short works with which Kafka was satisfied, Brod responded, “If you seriously think me capable of such a thing, let me tell you here and now that I shall not carry out your wishes.” Nevertheless, when Kafka died he left Brod a letter asking him to destroy his fiction, diaries, and correspondence. Brod remained true to his word: he proceeded to publish everything he could get his hands on.

The author regrets

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Quote of the Day

The story always starts on the day that was different.” – Lee K. Abbott

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Alma Alexander
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The Book Collector, or “Does this edition make my bookshelf look funny?”

[this essay first appeared at www.StorytellersUnplugged.com, a year ago this month…but discussions on book collecting are ALWAYS appropriate so I ask you to forgive me – in the throes of editing the latest novel – if I offer you up this for reading and discussion while I make a dent in that MS… enjoy!]

I think that anyone who has the book bug has been to this one single strange place at some time or another during their book collecting days: the aesthetics of it all.

There is something innate, a sense of beauty, a sense of symmetry, an aversion to helter-skelter chaos on one’s bookshelves, that demands that if you own a book which belongs in a defined series then you owe it to – I don’t know –yourself, your bookshelves, the look of your library, a higher force – to have your series books be good soldiers. You have to be able to glance at a shelf and see a matching set of spines and know that you are looking at “a series”.

Trust me, I know. I’ve done it myself. I have an early paperback edition set of the first three books in Mary Stewart’s Merlin saga, and they have been well read, thank you very much – their spines are raked by the fine cracks of having been held open by avid hands. These are the editions that I know and love. I could probably find you any passage you wanted in the context of the books because I know where in these editions those passages fall. These have held a proud place on my bookshelf for many years.

But then the fourth book in that series came out, the Mordred one, and uh, alaaaaarm, it was a different edition, different cover, different everything. It looked… odd and mismatched next to my old loved trilogy. And not just because it was pristine and new when it was added to the shelf beside the well-worn books which had graced it for years. It was other stuff. It was the presence of color next to the black spines of the other books. It was a different font and typeface in which the title and the author appeared. It was… an accretion of all of these things.

And so I caved. I now have two sets of the Stewart Merlin books. My old trilogy, as beloved and well known as ever, and a whole newly reissued and now matching four-book set of the original three books plus the fourth novel. Which now looks perfectly at home next to these new books, because it matches them perfectly. But here’s the thing. The three books in the “new” trilogy, there on the shelf – they look wonderful and it all fits together again but will I ever read THEM? Those books, as opposed to the old editions that I own and know so well? Or are they just window dressing for the Book Collector within me…?

This popped out into the open because of a similar situation brewing with my own work. On my blog I had announced the reissue (with different covers) of the first three books of my Worldweavers trilogy to be followed in turn by a Brand! New! Story! set in that world – a finale, if you like.

A reader by the name of Kat left a comment giving voice to exactly this conundrum – that she is looking forward to reading the new novel when it comes out but that she’ll be leery of putting it on the shelf with the rest of what she calls “these wonderful books” (thank you, Kat!) because “it won’t match the original covers”.

Let me now circle back and do a devil’s advocate argument. I started out by saying that I collect matched-set series and have been known to purchase an entirely new set of books so that things will look right on the shelf.  But I don’t ALWAYS do it, and I have books on my shelves that definitely do not match  at all – and without which my shelves would be the poorer. There are books I wish to own NO MATTER WHAT – and if the price of owning them is that they look ridiculous next to the rest of their ‘book family’ on the shelf then so be it. Sometimes the price of having what you want is giving up a little of what you think you absolutely need – and when it comes to HAVING a book I want or NOT HAVING it because I can’t find it in a matching edition, well, there is no contest.

Let me use another example from my own shelves – books by a breathtakingly good historical novelist by the name of Sharon Kay Penman. I own three of her books that vaguely “match” – the rest of the novels with her name on their spines are a mismatched hodgepodge of editions (paperback, trade paperback, hardcover) depending on which book I could lay my hands on at any given time and how badly I wanted to read it.

There are, in other words, instances in which CONTENT really truly trumps APPEARANCE – and I think that those of us who truly love books  eventually gravitate to that place and away from how things “look” on our shelves. It is not at all the same thing and this is not what I am saying but in one sense I am personally aware of this basic choice in the context of turning away from that concept of “books as decoration” and “books as an aesthetic value” to just “BOOKS, dammit, and I want THAT book and I don’t care what it looks like” – a turning away, if you like, from the ultimate awful hell to which the books-for-looks system can take you, and that is buying books “by the yard”, for the binding, in order to make a statement of décor in your home.

Physical books are, in that particular instance, irrelevant – because there comes a point where you realize that you own the book because of the story which it contains and which you love. And you almost stop seeing the covers of the editions in which you own these stories at all, because they’re filler, they’re irrelevant, they’re just the brackets which are necessary in order for the rest of the book, the important bits, the pages with the words on them, to hold together in a format in which you are able to hold it and read it.

Book covers have morphed amazingly in the ebook age. The criteria are different, because ebooks, seen on the computer screen, have to “work” as tiny thumbnail images. That requires large readable fonts spelling out the name of the work and its author with the background as simple as possible. There is no real room here for the intricate and lovely art of some of the tomes of yore because, frankly, you barely SEE that cover, and often if you have just a plain black and white reader even things like color doesn’t really have an impact never mind some of the really detailed background. If you were looking at a steampunk cover in a “real” book format and an ebook you would probably find that the paper book’s cover may have teeming details on cogs and levers and wheels and what have you and the more you look the more you see while the ebook has a cover “code”, with only a few plain and well chosen images which need to convey the idea of the whole steampunk thing without its clutter and intricacy and drama.

It would not occur to anyone reading ebooks to “match” the covers of any particular series.

There may be some of the sentiment left in the marketing of the ebook – because you are still visually buying it, and a set of covers which actually manages to keep a certain look that alerts you that you are actually seeing a new book in an ongoing series which you might like is a marketing tool which draws the buyer’s eye to an extent of that buyer realizing that oh, I own books #1-3 in this series, here’s #4, click “buy” right now. But after that… it doesn’t matter.

The virtual bookshelf is a far more forgiving place than the packed old-fashioned and warmly familiar shelves in your study.

I don’t know that there’s a bridge between these two things, or not an immediately obvious one, anyway. These are two ways of thinking about the book (and of judging it by its cover, in one sense) that run on parallel tracks and do not really meet.

For the collectors (this is for you, Kat), all I can say is that the reissued Worldweavers books are hopefully going to be graced by a “set” of covers which will now include the new material that will thus be taken under the mantle of the series and declared to be canon (because of the visual signals that it is so) – but also that, at least initially, these reissues are going to be in ebook format and so the problem of the new novel “mismatching” the books already someone’s shelves won’t actually arise, in real terms.

Down the track a ways the new Worldweavers books might well turn up in a new set of paperbacks – and at that point the collector will have to make a decision, as I did with the Merlin books, whether to invest in a whole new set of books because they need to match one another properly… or to decide to discard the “it’s gotta match” view and (hopefully) purchase the new book anyway because the story inside… the story that picks up the tale of Thea Winthrop and concludes it in sparkling style, and it’s this story, the finale, the end of the story that Thea had to tell, that will matter more than the font on the book’s spine and the fact that it is different from the books that came before.

This I leave to the readers, and their decisions will likely be much like mine – arbitrary, and irrational, and perfectly fine for any one given individual no matter what they do. But I very much hope that Thea has achieved enough of a presence, as a character, as a protagonist, to deserve her fans stepping across the great divide if they see her standing on the other side holding out a hand.

All I can promise you is that Thea and I will do our best to make that choice one which no-one who has read and enjoyed the Worldweavers books will ever have a reason to be unhappy with.

Even if the font on the spine of the book is different to the rest of the series.

The power of words …

— in theory and in practice

An animated video features an 81-second TED-Ed lesson called “Lessons from Auschwitz: The Power of Our Words.” Watch it (link below), but the gist of it is a vow that a young girl made after surviving Auschwitz: “I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I ever say.”

This is a great and lofty sentiment, my husband even called it moving. But it is trumped by being human. If you try to live up to the letter of this vow, your life will eventually be silence. Because NOTHING you ever say is worthy of being the last thing you ever say.

Yes, there are things you might regret having uttered – but they were shaped by a moment in which they were said, and if you want to unsay them and take them back you are also sucking back that moment which you lived and which drew those words from you. It is a memory. It may be one filled with regrets but if so, regrets are only ever born of love, and no matter how much you end up regretting, you cannot in the end regret enough to wish that you had never loved.

Don’t worry so much about what you said. It is the unspoken truths in your own heart for which you will answer for, in the end, when you face a final judgment, if such there be. In between this moment and that judgment day, live, love, and be human. That is all anyone can ever, or has ever, asked of you.

The power of words

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What is feminism?

Not sure whether or not you’re a feminist? Maddie Crum asks at The Huffington Post.

Well here’s a quick test: Do you believe men and women should have equal rights and opportunities? Yes? Great! Glad that’s resolved.

In case the meaning’s still murky, here are 13 fantastic female authors who can spell it out for you in simple, eloquent terms:

Ursula Le Guin“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.” – Ursula Le Guin at a commencement address at Bryn Mawr College

Toni Morrison“I don’t think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It’s perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.” – Conversations with Toni Morrison

What is feminism?

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Words Used To Describe Women

Describing womenWords like ‘bitchy’ and ‘slutty’ are clearly sexist and meant to insult, Amanda Duberman says at The Huffington Post, but even seemingly neutral adjectives have become euphemisms for “uniquely female character flaw.”

These words are often disguised as flattery while used to subtly undermine the woman being described. It’s time to strip them down. Below is a brief compendium of adjectives that are often used to describe women — and what they really mean. e.g.

Bossy: Has on one or more occasion suggested that someone, man or woman, has made a factual error.

Pushy: Used to describe a remarkably accomplished woman whose high standards and willingness to insist on them aggressively just kinda rubs colleagues the wrong way.

Demeaning words for women

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12 Writers on the women authors who inspired them

Isaac Fitzgerald writes for BuzzFeed about contemporary writers talking about their Literary Mothers. For example:

Ashley Farmer on Joan Didion

Ashley FarmerJoan Didion

 

 

 

 

 

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” —Joan Didion

“Didion’s idea seems radical in its simplicity: not to write what you know but write because you don’t. Not to bring an understanding to the page, but to arrive at it there.

Her work has appeared for me at crucial moments. I found Play it As It Lays in a used bookstore in Louisville, KY. I was in my mid-twenties. My shelves were filled with two kinds of books: romances written by long-dead women and contemporary fiction by serious men. I didn’t know yet that anything was missing, at least not consciously. But then I read the dark novel on a gray day in one sitting. It was a piece that shook me: a brutal story told in a brutal way, a modern woman whose life wasn’t coming together like those in so many of books I’d read, but unraveling.

Literary Mothers

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If your novel were set to music…

A piece of software, TransProse, creates a musical score based on the emotions in a novel.

Novel emotions

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Top Tech Tools of Famous Authors

What is the first scene that comes to your mind when you imagine a contemporary author working on their novels? A powerful laptop and a peaceful coffee shop, perhaps? Not necessarily.

Ninja Essays has created an infographic which explores the technologies used by great writers and claims that most writers don’t appreciate high-tech devices as much as we do.  Maybe we should all reach out to a piece of paper and a pen from time to time.

From Mark Twain to George R.R. Martin here is what some of the most famous writers use to produce their works.

Stephen KingHow they write

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Quote of the Day

The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.” ~ Dorothy Parker

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Alma Alexander
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Why are writers depressed?

Scott & ZeldaF. Scot Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda battled depression and led lives that eventually spun out of their control. They weren’t the only writers on that list, Cody Delistraty writes at Thought Catalog.

Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Stephen King, Anne Rice, David Foster Wallace, even J.K. Rowling are just a few of the writers who have been struck by the illness that Hemingway once referred to as “The Artist’s Reward.”

The common theory for why writers are often depressed is that writers think a lot and people who think a lot tend to be unhappy. Dig a little deeper though, and some interesting findings reveal themselves… Essentially, their stream of ideas is always running — the tap does not shut off — and, as a result, creative people show schizophrenic, borderline manic-depressive tendencies.

Which could explain why Hemingway was so awful to Hadley, why Scott and Zelda drove each other mad, and why writers, by and large, are not only depressed people but also awful lovers.

Depressing writers

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Delightful Book Reviews By Kids

Daniel Dalton of BuzzFeed reports on a former school librarianwho asked students to write reviews. The results are adorable.

THE REVIEW
Hunger GamesTHE BOOK
Hunger Games coverMore kids’ reviews

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How-To Books from 100 years ago that are still (sort of) useful

Mental Floss offers some old books that might still be useful. I, of course, was drawn to this one:

How to Write a Novel

How to WriteToday, the marketplace is glutted with book-writing techniques and short cuts. So this 1901 approach actually has a freshness to it; a stern simplicity. This extremely thorough book offers examples of technique among “our young writers,” such as H.G Wells, and helps you through some pitfalls that you think the internet has solved for you but actually hasn’t (topography, scientific accuracy, grammar, and so on).

Old but useful books

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Artist builds home for the homeless from recycled trash

Gregory Kloehn goes dumpster diving, ViralNova tells us, but not for the reason that most people would think. He isn’t homeless. In fact, he is an artist from Oakland that is trying to help the homeless and develop his craft at the same time.

Instead of building sculptures that he would sell to rich people to add to their massive homes, he decided to focus his efforts on helping house the homeless population in California.

Homeless sheltersGregory Kloehn

Homes for the homeless

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Daily Routines

“In the right-hands, daily routines can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of limited resources… a solid routine foster a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies…” Mason Currey, author of the inspiring book Daily Rituals

Victor HugoCreated by RJ Andrews, infowetrust.com

Creative routines

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Quote of the Day

If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” ~ Frank Zappa

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Alma Alexander
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Comments welcome. What do you think?