Archive for the ‘Writers and Money’ Category

See Vincent Francone‘s lovely little essay on the joys of holding an MFA here.

Takeaway: “I may spend life toiling in drudgery, but I’ll always have poetry to sustain – if I may borrow a line from Nazim Hikmet – the tiny jewel in the center of my chest.”



… If the novelist is not sustained by a hope of money, then he must be sustained by a hope of salvation, or he simply won’t survive the ordeal. People without hope not only do not write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have an experience.

Flannery O’Connor

Or, for a salvation plea you can dance to, there’s this…

Best advice yet on how to deal with writerly jealousy, envy and bitterness.

“There isn’t a thing to eat down there in the rabbit hole of your bitterness except your own desperate heart.”

Highly recommended, especially when someone you don’t like so much gets a big book deal.

Loads o’ pith from Oliver Miller on How To Be A Writer, as opposed to Talking Like A Writer. Some maj0r takeaways:

— Most writers are dicks

— You will be poor

— You hafta really, like, write stuff,  lots of it, everyday

— Plus you suck

This article had Bat Terrier falling out with sardonic laughter. Recommended, unless you’re some kind of poseur dick…

Check  out the rest  here.

Oakland resident crafts custom poetry on old typewriter while you wait – Inside Bay Area.

On a Hermes Rocket, no less. A fine machine. Perfect for punching up poems on street corners. Bat Terrier approves the writing gear.

Bill Morris discusses whether to blurb or not to blurb. It is indeed a bigger question than it seems.

American poet Dean Young desperately needs a heart transplant. If you’d like to contribute to the transplant fund, see the link.
Ash Ode

When I saw you ahead I ran two blocks
shouting your name then realizing it wasn’t
you but some alarmed pretender, I went on
running, shouting now into the sky,
continuing your fame and luster. Since I’ve
been incinerated, I’ve oft returned to this thought,
that all things loved are pursued and never caught,
even as you slept beside me you were flying off.
At least what’s never had can’t be lost, the sieve
of self stuck with just some larger chunks, jawbone,
wedding ring, a single repeated dream,
a lullaby in every elegy, descriptions
of the sea written in the desert, your broken
umbrella, me claiming I could fix it.

Interesting post at The Nervous Breakdown about how the publishing industry really works these days. Takeaway for writers: “Becoming an author in order to get rich is like going to the desert in order to become wet.” (Sigh.) Recommended.

What is a book review? And why should we read them? Joseph Mackin at the New York Journal of Books has the scoop: “Reviews are essential tools for supplying the critical data that readers need to situate a book in the universal library.”

And new recordings of Scott Fitzgerald reading Keats and Shakespeare at PennSound.

Excellent article by Chad Harbach on the two literary cultures in the United States: MFA programs and Brooklyn/NYC. What motivates these two cultures? What are their canons? Recommended.

And here’s Paul Collins on what the Victorians, including Henry James, thought about training writers.

And Christian Wiman, editor of that venerable magazine, Poetry, on what’s he reading now.

What to do once you’re laid off… Hmm…  Maybe explore a new career as a hit man? Here’s a link to the very best corporate-castoff-killer book:  Donald Westlake‘s bitterly hilarious thriller, The Ax. And since you now have plenty of time to read, you  can also check out Iain Levinson’s  Since the Layoffs.

Think that out-and-out vagrancy is where we’re headed? Then revisit Steinbeck‘s The Grapes of Wrath, or maybe pick up  dumpster-diving tips from Lars Eigner’s classic memoir, Travels with Lisbeth.

Done with fiction? Settling in for the long decline?  Here’s the book for you: Capital.

Photograph of Cory Doctorow

Nice article here by Cory Doctorow on copyright, “copyleft,” Creative Commons, etc. arrangements for artists and writers.

Takeaways: 1) No matter what you do, you probably won’t make any money (sigh); 2) Oddly enough, giving it away free may help; 3) Giving it away free means you can keep giving it away free (no corporate mega-giant evil-thing can ever restrict yr rights).

Well worth reading. Recommended.

Creative Commons goodness here.