Adrift in The Artist's Studio

Adrift in The Artist's Studio
"More Color! More Color!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Individual? Who Says?

In this age of media bombardment, is it still possible for an individual to have, and express, an original thought?

I don't really have any original ideas right now, but George Orwell did, and his diaries are now available to all in blog form:

He's the guy who wrote
1984. That was the book that everyone said would come true, and once '84 rolled around, it was like yesterday's science fiction.

In the book, a man named Winston Smith is a dissident in a totalitarian society, in which thought, language, and sex are controlled by the government. That was the book that featured the original Big Brother.

In fact, I suspect there are hordes of you out there who haven't read this book, however intelligent or successful you may be, but who sometimes pay lip service to its themes. I would suggest that you drag your arse to your friendly neighborhood independent bookstore and obtain a copy, drink lots of coffee and read it, and get really really paranoid (the Brits, of course, may drink tea).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dreams Askance

Down from dreams askance
Like flags whapping in wind
He twists like
Backwards voodoo English

To alight, as a clumsy bird
Atop a square of pale sun
Awakeness the gun
That says
On your feet

I thought you might enjoy a little poem. Guess where I wrote it?
Also, in case you run into one of those smart-asses who say "Has anyone really read
Finnegans Wake?" you can say: "Yes, Seamus Golihue has!"
Who's excited about
2666? I am. I have the ARC, but I haven't started it yet. While reading The Savage Detectives, I kept saying to myself that I wish I could read this stuff in the original Spanish.
Ah, the excitement of new discovery, and how different we all are. However, plus c'est la meme chose (and here I'm talking about fiction): Writers who write about writers writing.
Is this a prerequisite of literary recognition, or the secret watermark of academic approval? Or is it an artifact of the "write what you know" axiom? Doesn't the author call attention to him/herself in fiction by revealing, e.g. through characters, that he/she is a writer, or has studied writing in a university?
Is this one definition of literary fiction: literature about literature?
Seems to me it would rupture the fabric of time/space somehow. I guess we can blame Cervantes.

Friday, August 22, 2008


There's a school of thought that says real writing-- we might think of it as Writing-- is done longhand. I guess it goes back to when Truman Capote said of Kerouac's On the Road: "That's not writing, that's typing." Or maybe it goes back even further, when Writing was done with sharpened sticks on slabs of mud, blessed by priests.

I'd like some feedback on this, if anyone is reading this post. When you write, when the original ideas flow, or are finally forced out of you by caffeine or exhaustion, when you write with a capital W-- do you write it down longhand, or do you sit and type it into the word processing program?

As for myself, when I started my current novel, I admit I skipped a step: I used pen and paper. No pencils at all to start, and none since, for that matter. Now, when I feel a new paragraph coming on like a seizure, I go right to the computer.

But for me, true inspiration (and I do believe it exists, both within us and without) requires me to stop whatever I'm doing, reach for a pen, pencil, fragment of pencil lead, hunk of charcoal, anything you can use to write with, and write down whatever words or phrases the muses cause me to vomit forth. In other words, I reach for the pen and paper, get the idea down quick, and worry about form and clean-up later.

Those of you who know what I'm talking about know, too, that writing something down longhand is also tied up in the appearance of handwritten words on a page.

Once, some artist admired the look of his words that he scratched on a cave wall, with a rock or a charred stick, and he smiled because it felt good. He decided he'd do it again, even if the words didn't yet mean anything. He might have been a She, but the point is, that person was a Writer.