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Here's an interesting article about how some people are going about self-publishing and going from there...

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1873122-1,00.html

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David found The Space Art Network a few weeks ago, and I joined, and I love it! It's a place for artists of pretty much every medium to share their visions of space exploration, extraterrestrial worlds, future, etc.

Well, Boris, the SAN founder, was approached to start a Space Art Magazine! It's completely visionary and completely in the beginning stages of pre-production, but we're on track to make it something wonderful.

And did I mention I've been named as an editorial officer? My areas of focus are: Space Fantasy short stories (a.k.a. "fantastic fiction" with "alien mythology"), articles on ancient cosmology, exoarcheology, UFO, spirituality, etc.

So please go check out both sites, join if you're so inclined, submit if you'd like, and above all else, spread the word. :D
Current Mood:
excited excited
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My mother had earrings of gold and silver
that dangled gracefully from her ears
and kissed her neck when she turned her head.

But on bad days,
when she needed extra strength,
she wore teardrops of wood
with cotton plants painted on them
which hung from french hooks.

She said they kept her grounded,
reminding her that things don't have to be complicated.
That sometimes it's the simple things
that keep us going.

Now I have earrings of gold and silver
that dangle gracefully from my ears
and kiss my neck when I turn my head.

But on bad days,
when I need extra strength,
I wear teardrops of wood
with cotton plants painted on them
which hang from french hooks.

Current Mood:
pleased pleased
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Last week yet another memorist was outed (this time by her sister no less!) as nothing more than a lowly fiction writer; once again begging the question: why didn't they just publish their works as fiction in the first place?

Ego and greed, probably.

Not discounting these writers' duplicity in dealing with their publishers, what's truly troubling when these contretemps raise their ugly little heads is the press's haughty shock and awe that any half-truths (or quarter- or third-truths) should have wormed their way into the sanctity of somebody's memoir. Literary and social critics alike thump their thesauri and behave as if, pre-James Frey coming along and embarrassing Oprah with his million little lies, every memoir published was letter-perfect when it came to factual matters--that no details were added or enhanced (or omitted), that no dialog was fabricated, that nothing was tweaked to make the piece better (or at least readable).

By its selective nature, a memoir is not journalism; it is subject to the tricks our memories play on us; how and why events took place are filtered, consciously or unconsciously, by our prejudices, belief systems, etc. Plus, let's face it, folks: life, by and large, is boring. Even fascinating people have plenty of downtime where nothing of much interest happens. Knowing what to emphasize and what to ignore, where a chapter--let alone the real story--begins and ends (in reality, most people's lives have very few--and very long--chapters), is the writer's job.

And while we're talking about it, the very journalists looking down their collective nose at these memorists are prone to the same refractions they're pillorying; they shouldn't be, but they are. The truth is never more malleable than in the hands of a writer.

Current Location:
Brooklyn, New York
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November, if you didn't already know, is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a whole novel in thirty days.

Good luck to anyone trying to write that fast!

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There is a problem with writers. If what a writer wrote was published and sold many, many copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold a medium number of copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold very few copies, the writer thought he was great. If what the writer wrote never was published and he didn't have enough the money to publish it himself, then he thought he was truly great. The truth, however, was there was very little greatness. It was almost nonexistent, invisible. But you could be sure that the worst writers had the most confidence, the least self-doubt.

— CHARLES BUKOWSKI,
Women

François Camoin made a similar observation in a Writers at Work workshop in Park City back in 1988, noting that those fledgling writers who sweated and stuttered and apologized as they handed in their work were, as a rule, better writers than those who proudly and unflinchingly proclaimed their word-processed scribbles as masterpieces.

Over the years, I've discovered the same to be true. The best writers treat writing the way a truly devout person treats religion: something practiced, not boasted about; lived, not preached.

Current Location:
Brooklyn, New York
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I recently sold my first book. In conjunction, I've established another LiveJournal to report on the project's progress, occasionally provide links about, and writings by, its subject, Paul Nelson (long-time champion of Bob Dylan, and famous for his Rolling Stone cover story about Warren Zevon's battle with alcoholism), and share snippets of information or parts of interviews that may or may not be covered further in the final product.

The new journal shares the book's working title, Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson. Just follow the link.

Anybody interested in learning more about this brilliant critic, whose own life proved just as mysterious and fascinating as the artists' about whom he wrote, is welcome to join. As well, tracking the process of how a book goes from sale to publication should prove interesting. I'm rather curious about that part myself...
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Marta Becket is her own best friend, and her splendid autobiography suggests that's how it should be for anybody who fancies herself an artist, dancer, painter, composer, or writer -- all of which, not coincidentally, Ms. Becket happens to be. Beyond mere autobiography, To Dance on Sands: The Life and Art of Death Valley's Marta Becket, examines the ascetic lifestyle she chose and all its attendant self-sacrifices (including, for many years, love).

I first wrote about Ms. Becket and her work last March in my post "Are You Saved?" The subject of Todd Robinson's exquisite documentary Amargosa, Ms. Becket is a New York City-born dancer who almost 40 years ago found herself smack-dab in the middle of some of the most godforsaken territory imaginable -- Death Valley Junction, California -- and never left. Ms. Becket, who turns 82 on August 9th, doesn't rely on the town's population (depending on your source, somewhere between two and twenty) to come see her dance, however. As in Field of Dreams, people come from around the world to witness what she has created. Death Valley Junction is her Iowa cornfield, and the amazing Amargosa Opera House is her baseball diamond.

Fans of Amargosa expecting To Dance on Sands to be fat with tales of her life in Death Valley may be disappointed, as it occupies only a single chapter. What comes before details the road traveled to get there, a path that proved that dancing wasn't her only means of expression, and the decisions rendered along the way that ultimately determined the route she took. Ms. Becket's story is a fascinating and compelling one, so much so that the occasionally clunky writing style is forgiven. What she's writing about rises above any such shortcomings, and provides a handbook for anybody interested in art and the space it occupies in our lives.

Throughout her own life, Ms. Becket again and again confronts the question whether or not it is right for an artist to expect so much of one's self at the expense of others. (While she painted the magnificent mural that graces her beloved opera house, her husband,whose love and devotion was always somewhat suspect, felt neglected and sought attention elsewhere.) She asks if what she does is "necessary" and wonders whether she might have been happier as "someone ordinary."

Marta Becket asks the questions that all artists must ask themselves. Given her life and accomplishments, the answers are contained within her fine book.

Current Location:
Brooklyn, New York
Current Mood:
sore achy
Current Music:
"Maimed Happiness" by the New York Dolls
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What follows verbatim is an e-mail posted to craigslist's "writing gigs" subscription list back on 5 June 2006. Written in response to several writers who had objected to the number of solicitations for writers to write for free (receiving, instead of payment, the glow that comes from having your work published or produced by organizations that advertise via craigslist), it sadly demonstrates how writers in particular, and artists as a whole, are perceived by many of the individuals who employ us.

I am getting a bit fed up with all these belly-aching writers. Of course writing is not profitable! It's an art! Can you imagine if all the painters and collage-makers complained as much as you do about not being rich? ...Listen "writers": you do it cause you love it. If you are looking to pay your rent then be a plumber. None of your favorite writers made a living doing what the world remembers them for, instead they were doctors (chekhov), or postal workers (bukowski), or installing air conditioners (vonnegut) ...writers who complain about not getting paid enough are like firemen who don't feel like people refer to them enough as heroes-- which is to say they are doing it for the wrong reasons. just because you write does not entitle you to literary attention-- it doesn't mean you are talented. i'm beginning to think it doesn't even mean you like writing.

so please, paying gigs and non-paying gigs-- keep 'em coming-- but can we try to keep the self-righteous whining to a minimum??


So the toils of plumbing, doctoring, postal work, and installing air conditioners are worthy of payment -- but not writing? And note how diabolically it's suggested that if you expect to be paid for your artwork, you're "doing it for the wrong reasons." Unfortunate, however, are the examples cited, as Chekhov, Bukowski, and Vonnegut all went on to enjoy lucrative writing careers.

They didn't achieve that status by accepting the wrongheaded notion that they should write for free.
Current Location:
Brooklyn, New York
Current Mood:
lazy lazy
Current Music:
Twilight Zone
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I've announced a small contest, designed to help overcome writer's block, over at my blog Mere Words. You're all invited to participate.
Current Location:
Brooklyn, New York
Current Mood:
productive
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