I don’t know how I feel about this

Filed under: The Writing Life — marcia at 10:40 am on Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vladimir Nabokov’s son says he will publish his father’s unfinished work “The Original of Laura” rather than destroying it. Since Nabokov’s death in 1977, his son Dmitri has been torn about whether he should follow his father’s last wishes and destroy the novel or share the work of a great 20th-century novelist with the world. Now in his 70s, Dmitri says his father would want him to stop suffering and go ahead and publish it.
As a writer, it makes me itchy to think that work that I didn’t think was ready for publication would be published before I was done with it. On the other hand, I am alive and not a world-famous author of significant literature.

My scholarly interest and personal itchiness are at odds in this case. Even with the context, will this unfinished novel diminish the other works he toiled to perfect? Do historical figures lose their right to control their legacies?

Current temperature: I’m not going to read it … until eventually curiosity takes over and I do.

-Marcia

via Guardian Unlimited

Literary Tattoos

Filed under: Fun — joy at 3:28 pm on Friday, April 25, 2008

Now, these are tattoos I like.

Sample:

~ Joy

Word Pirates Turn 2!

Filed under: News — joy at 12:48 pm on Wednesday, April 16, 2008

photo by Joy Lanzendorfer

At last night’s meeting, the Word Pirates celebrated our second anniversary since Marcia, Leona, and I founded the group in 2006. Wow. Time flies, huh?

~ Joy

Judging a book by its beautiful cover

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 8:14 am on Sunday, April 13, 2008

I prefer the somewhat utilitarian trade paperback to the hardcover book. I usually take off the jacket and am left with a bland inflexible book. However! I saw photos of the elaborate jacket and cover design for Michael Chabon’s new book “Maps and Legends.” And wow. Cool and pretty! Also: If you remove the jacket from the book, the hardcover itself is also cool looking. The jacket comes in separate layers for each color to make the design.

-Marcia
wholebook.jpgwithout-jacket.jpg

jacket.jpgmultiplelayers.jpg

via Design Related

We Like Literary Rejections on Display

Filed under: The Writing Life — marcia at 9:00 am on Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rejection is a part of writing. (Well, it is unless you don’t try to get your writing published.) However, it’s a part of writing that a lot of us don’t talk about with each other. It can be humiliating, demoralizing and sad. Or it can be funny.

On Literary Rejections on Display, one writer shared some (surely modified) excerpts from rejections he received for his novels. Some of my favorites:

we think there are too many “fucks” in this book
we are tired of publishing books about the Holocaust
we are looking for books that teach people how to improve their lives
we think your book would make the readers suffer
we think your book needs a happy ending
we think nobody gives a shit about the lives of farmers in Southern France

-marcia

Come To The Word Pirates Reading!

Filed under: News — joy at 8:38 am on Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On Thursday, May 15, 2008, we will be holding the Second Annual Word Pirates Reading. There will be artists and excitement and several short, witty pieces read with charm and grace by our members. Come one, come all! Time TBA. Keep checking back here for more info.

Margaret Atwood on Anne of Green Gables

Filed under: Fun — joy at 8:31 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Margaret Atwood wrote an intelligent, fascinating article about Anne of Green Gables, which is turning 100 this April. She goes over the history of the book, its continuing popularity, and the life of its author, LM Montgomery. And she asked some Japanese readers why these books are so popular in Japan. (Who knew?) Here are some of their responses:

Anne of Green Gables was first translated by a Japanese author who was very well known and well loved already. Anne was an orphan and there were a lot of orphans in Japan right after the second world war, so many readers identified with her. Anne has a passion for apple blossoms and cherry blossoms – the latter are especially dear to the hearts of the Japanese – so her brand of aesthetic sensibility was very sympathetic. Anne had red hair, which – before the past 20 years or so, when even middle-aged Japanese ladies may sometimes be spotted with blue, green, red or orange hair – was thought to be extremely exotic. Anne is not only an orphan, but a poor girl orphan – the lowest of the low on the traditional Japanese social ladder. Yet she wins over that most formidable of Japanese dragons, the bossy older matron. (In fact, she wins over two of them, since she adds overbearing, opinionated, but good-at-heart Mrs Rachel Lynde to her collection basket.)

Anne has no fear of hard work: she’s forgetful because dreamy, but she’s not a shirker. She displays a proper attitude when she puts others before herself, and even more praiseworthy is that these others are elders. She has an appreciation of poetry, and although she shows signs of materialism – her longing for puffed sleeves is legendary – in her deepest essence, she’s spiritual. And, high on the list, Anne breaks the Japanese taboo that forbade outbursts of temper on the part of young people. She acts out spectacularly, stamping her feet and hurling insults back at those who insult her, and even resorting to physical violence, most notably in the slate-over-the-head episode. This must have afforded much vicarious pleasure to young Japanese readers; indeed, to all Anne’s young readers of yesteryear, so much more repressed than the children of today. Had they thrown scenes like the ones Anne throws, they would have got what my mother referred to as What For, or, if things were particularly bad, Hail Columbia.

Naturally, I loved these books as a kid. Loved! Them! I re-read them not too long ago and was a bit disturbed by some of the more melodramatic passages. But despite all the Victorian swooning over nature and such, I still have enough interest in them to want to read the biography on LM Montgomery that is coming out in October.

Oh, patient patient Gilbert Blythe.

~ Joy