In the distance, a dog barked

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 11:16 am on Friday, June 18, 2010

What do Jackie Collins, William Faulkner, Dave Eggers, Virginia Woolf, and Steven King have in common? According to

Perhaps distant dogs are a way for novelists to wink at one another, at their extraordinary luck for being allowed into the publishing club. When an author incorporates a faceless barking dog into his novel, he’s like an amateur at Harlem’s Apollo Theater rubbing the Tree of Hopeā€”he does it because so many others have done it before him, and it might just bring him some luck.

Some authors do this on purpose to great affect; others use it to buy time or cheat a mood. The article is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it reminds us to pay attention to our tics and make sure every word is there because it matters. Now I’m going to pay attention today–do I hear any dogs barking?

Ideal Bookshelf

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 10:32 am on Saturday, June 5, 2010

Immediately after the NY Times Paper Cuts blog bemoaned the lack of reciprocity between visual artists and novelists, saying that painters don’t incorporate books into their art the way novelists incorporate the visual arts into their stories, I saw this fun project by Jane Mount called Ideal Bookshelf.

idealbookshelf.jpgMount takes the favorite books people choose to represent themselves and does a painting of their ideal bookshelf. She says:

We show off our books on shelves like merit badges, because we’re proud of the ideas we’ve ingested to make us who we are, and we hope to connect with others. I think this is endearing and charming. When I paint someone else’s bookshelf and they have the same book I do, I feel inordinately joyful about it, and about them.

Of course, the Times blogger wasn’t talking about literally using books or images of books in art. But seeing an artist portray a shelf of books as a window into an individual’s hearts, minds, and souls is surely a fun way for the two arts to join forces.
Off to work on what my ideal bookshelf would be! What’s yours?