Sunday, May 3, 2015

Historical Authenticity

If I want 1910 (the book I'm writing) to work, I have to hit not just a voice, but period authentic discourse.
This is where you can imagine I gave you the whole blahblah discourses, but to get right to the quintessence, here is a sample...
You little owl...
You sentimental ass!
That's authentic historical voice.  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Chronotopes and Sites

I saw a film recently, BELLA VISTA, that is encouraging me to think about the way time and space get made in a story.

And I'm indexing a book right now. . .

Site Reading offers a new method of literary and cultural interpretation and a new theory of narrative setting by examining five sites (supermarkets, dumps, roads, ruins, and asylums) that have been crucial to American literature and visual art since the mid-twentieth century. Against the traditional understanding of setting as a static background for narrative action and character development, this book argues that sites figure in novels as social agents. Engaging a wide range of social and cultural theorists, especially Bruno Latour and Erving Goffman, Site Reading examines how the literary figuration of real, material environments reorients our sense of social relations. 
Given MARTian's setting, I anticipate reading about supermarkets as social and literary spaces. Look! Shopping carts.

PS Books are nonhuman actants.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Othering the Martians

I am about to take something out of this story about 1910 (time is so important in 1910), but I wanted you all to see it, because it shows an aspect of Othering. I also want you to see the elegant animals of Mars that DON'T resemble giant Scandinavians.

By Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times
February 21, 1909


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Writing for a living

My partner is a writer—non-fiction, mostly science/medicine and travel writing. His work is immeasurably harder than mine. He recently had a bunch of tiny pieces to write. When I heard he needed to to the Pacific Ocean in 250 words, I wrote this...
Assignment: Pacific Ocean
250 words or less
Make it snappy and full of high surf. Remember that it is essentially life on earth and extends from one pole to another, from cold to hot to cold again. Simply don’t compare. The Atlantic and the Continents Drifting belong elsewhere. Stick to the plastic ducks along the current
His work is harder than mine. This is the truth.

Friday, February 6, 2015

I dare myself to know what I keep in this binder.

I've been thinking about cataloguing (button sorting).

You can lose seven whale skeletons in the space between the external and interior rotundas of a museum. It's been done.

Darwin's specimens got lost in a cupboard. Hooker was absent minded and forgot to label them for what they were, for whatever reason. Let's choose to believe he couldn't resist the Himilayas.

At least that's how I remember it, and that's the point of this entire story: I have a terrible memory.

Things get lost. And found. *

* Note to myself: This notebook is on the red book truck.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jessie Ann Foley: The Morris Award Interview

Welcome to the 2015 Morris Award Interview series. Today's interview is with Jessie Ann Foley, author of The Carnival at Bray. She talks about music, setting, and her romance with the world.

On Thursday, January 29 Rachel Hartman interviews E.K. Johnston, author of The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trondheim. 

The Carnival at Bray 

“Take the boy. Don’t ask permission. There will always be time to do the responsible thing. Before that, live.”
The Carnival at Bray is an electrifying story of loss and triumph, family and adventure, and of the earth-shattering power of music and love from newcomer Jessie Ann Foley.

It’s 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she’ll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life-altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all—live.
(Description from publisher's site)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Education in Fictions

The purpose of my education is to haunt me with half-remembered crap.

I was trying to think of how I might have a conversation with different people. 
I looked at this teapot

Painting by a greatgrandmother (not mine), teapot
inherited from dead grandmother (also not mine)
bowl belongs to my son.

and thought "I could tell them about blue herons...then I proceeded to think things about herons that are not true. They are fictions. One expects that of fictions--that they be lies. But my errors of thought ran deeper than that.

It was PELICANS! Not herons.

Voila! Thar she blows! I had misattributed the iconography. 

It's the pelican of the Middle Ages who pierced his* breast in order to feed blood to the poor chicks, trapped as they are after hatching in a world of inevitable starving doom. 

Or maybe the pelican killed her young in a fit of pique

(Medea! Poison Dresses, Dragons! I have to say: that one inoculated me against love stories.)

as I was saying: a fit of pique and she pecked them to death then pierced her breast in later remorse. The blood thus brought forth, falling on the dead chicks, brought them back to life.

As for those different people, it was their good fortune not to be in my company.

*Yeah, this is interesting.