Charles Willeford (January 2, 1919 - March 27, 1988)
Reading reviews, like peeking in your lover’s diary, is all about ego; and I find that ego is an obstacle to creativity. If you happen to spot something favorable and allow yourself to feel elated, you’re simply setting yourself up to feel miserable when you spot something unfavorable. And neither reaction is particularly useful when you sit down to do your own writing.
Not to get too sententious about this, but I know whereof I speak. Back in 1983, “White Gold Wielder” was the #3 bestseller in the country for the year. As you can imagine, I was riding high. But then “Mordant’s Need” only sold 15% as well as WGW, and the GAP books only sold 20% as well as “Mordant’s Need,” and more than one publisher has been unable to give my mystery novels away on streetcorners, and last fall my agent had a hard time finding publishers for “The Runes of the Earth” (more than one US publisher called me a “has-been”). In other words, I’ve had my ego jerked around by experts. So when I say that “writing isn’t about ego”—or shouldn’t be, anyway—I’m trying to communicate something that I’ve learned to consider desperately important.
Stephen R. Donaldson (via serymn)
Hmmm, I wonder if checking your “tumblr activity” log is like reading reviews? I am guilty.
But I’m mostly reblogging to say that just about everything Donaldson’s written is pretty incredible, and pretty unique. Though his characters all have a “hard slog” as I once heard someone put it, they all inhabit different genres.
Mordant’s Need was good enough to make me appreciate the romantic fantasy genre. And the GAP series had more good ideas, and WAY more good characters than any other sci-fi series I can think of. And the Mystery novels “The Man Who…” series are a triumph with a contemporary setting.
I wonder if Donaldson’s accomplishments have anything to do with the strong rejection of ego in this quote?(via memeengine)
The city of Boston is soon going to receive one of the most awesome statues we’ve ever seen. After a lengthy review process, professional sculptor Stefanie Rocknak has just been chosen to create a sculpture honoring Edgar Allan Poe, one of literature’s most unforgettable and influential authors and poets. Rocknak was selected from a field of 266 artist from 42 states and 13 countries, each of whom submitted proposals for the Edgar Allan Poe Square Public Art Project.
Rocknak’s appropriately dramatic and haunting sculpture will be called Poe Returning to Boston:
“I propose to cast a life-size figure of Poe in bronze. Just off the train, the figure would be walking south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas—and worldwide success—is finally coming home.”
"His expression is complex. He is determined and his stride is decisive. His face reflects a mixture of pain, anger and sadness, and from some angles, a subtle sense of hope. As he walks towards Carver Street, he openly dismisses what is behind him with his left hand; the Frogpondians to the north. Boston is not claiming Poe, Poe is claiming Boston. To punctuate this, he leaves a literal paper trail behind him. He has not only left his mark on the world, he has left it on the city of his birth. His ideas are jumping off the page and cascading out of his trunk; a heart lies just behind him, and an oversized Raven explodes to the south. The Raven, which has become symbolic of Poe’s brooding creative spirit, visually reflects Poe; his coat mimics the raven’s wing, and, like a bird, Poe is slightly pigeon-toed. They are one, heading up-wind towards their final resting place."
The photos seen here show the final design model, which was made of clay. The real Poe Returning to Boston will be unveiled on October 4, 2014, three days before the 165th anniversary of Poe’s untimely death. Poe and his raven will haunt the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South, a location dubbed Edgar Allan Poe Square during bicentennial celebrations in 2009, just two blocks north of the writer’s actual birthplace.
As lifelong fans of Poe, we’re both thrilled and a little envious. We’ll simply have to add this to our sightseeing list the next time we’re in Boston.
[via My Modern Metropolis]
Taking a break from writing the second novel in the series, Graham chatted with me about transferring Veronica Mars to a new medium, how she and Thomas worked together, what Marshmallows can look forward to in the book, and more.
A lovely Prather memorial by Graham Andrews.
But, over the years I’ve seen critical reviews turn personal. Reviewers not only stating that they hate the book, but make personal attacks on the author. I have more than one review of THE TESTING that not only hates the story, but goes on to say that they hate me and that they think I should die. I’ve seen reviews that attack me as a person. They tell me I was trying to rip off other books. They suggest I should be hurt or worse because of their beliefs.[…]Do I believe they really want me dead? No. Do I believe they would use those words to my face if they met me at a bookstore or on the street somewhere? Heck no. Yet, for whatever reason, they chose to type those words. They chose to share them with the world and sign their name (or online pseudonym) to them.Why?
Beryl Markham (1902-1986). Aviator, adventurer, writer. Of her book, West with the Night, Hemingway wrote: "She has written so well, and marvellously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But this girl, who is to my knowledge very unpleasant and we might even say a high-grade bitch, can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers … it really is a bloody wonderful book."
Oh, Ernest. You fucking asshole.
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
— Flannery O’Connor (above, with self-portrait)
Picked up a Flannery O’Connor bio from the library this week. Lying on my couch under a blanket, feeling like I am dying and thinking about reading O’Connor for the first time & Churchbuilder’s old jam, “Hey Flannery.”
RIP Lucius Shepard
I met Lucius Shepard back in the 80’s. It was crowded party in his room. He was in the middle of it typing, working on his new book completely unaffected by the chaos. I’ve never seen focus like that. I haven’t spoken to him for a long time but he was always kind and funny. He will be missed.
Chris and I had the honor of knowing Lucius and were lucky enough to hear a number of his amazing life stories.
We will miss him.
Looks like he’s back at Archie?
Black Mask get together January 11, 1936
Back Row L-R:Raymond J. Moffatt*, Raymond Chandler, Herbert Stinson, Dwight Babcock, Eric Taylor, Dashiell Hammett
Front: Arthur Barnes, John K. Butler, W. T. Ballard, Horace McCoy, Norbert Davis
*Raymond J. Moffatt was not a Black Mask author
Ernest Hemingway is shown at his typewriter as he works on For Whom the Bell Tolls at Sun Valley lodge, Idaho, in 1939.
Wandrei started telling me about seeing The Maltese Falcon when it had opened in 1941, and how he regretted that a scene he remembered vividly was later cut. He claimed that when Gutman was explaining the shadowy history of the Black Bird that parts of the sequence actually appeared as scenes — the Knights, the pirates seizing the ship.
He swore that’s what he had seen in the first release.
Now, as far as I know, no extra scenes such as those were ever shot. The movie was on a tight budget and shooting schedule. What you see now was what you saw then.
But Wandrei with his imagination — he was just short of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith as one of the major visionaries of cosmic horror to emerge from the pulp magazine Weird Tales — conjured up the images even as he watched Sidney Greenstreet relate that incantatory history devised by Hammett.
The power of words, of story. The power of cinema.
Donald Wandrei on The Maltese Falcon, quoted by Ed Herron
I swear I saw the same version as Wandrei decades ago. Great pirates attack scene. Or was it in Tintin’s The Secret of the Unicorn ?
David, while I applaud your concern for Bill, and our family, I think you may have either misconstrued the facts or fallen victim to relying on false/spotty information. The Mantlo family is not, and was not, put into financial ruin by the tragedy that befell Bill. Yes, I agree that the shabby treatment by his insurance carrier at the time was disgraceful, but in reality he received an incredible amount of coverage (over $2 MILLION in less than 3 years), and like virtually every other policyholder in this country, he was able to obtain continued care (to this day) through Medicaid coverage. And, again because you are not privy to private contractual terms, you are way off base with accusations that Marvel has not compensated Bill adequately. Please don’t join in the spreading of false rumors. And above all else, anytime anyone (you included) wants to know anything about matters concerning Bill Mantlo, you really should consider contacting ME first, as I am his Legal Guardian (and brother, to boot)! Folks, on behalf of Bill I urge everyone to SUPPORT the “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” film, and help it have TREMENDOUS SUCCESS. That will benefit Bill Mantlo more than anyone could ever imagine. Supporting the Hero Initiative is equally as worthy a cause, and of course, the Bill Mantlo Support Fund accessible through the Greg Pak “PAKBUZZ” site is always grateful and appreciative of any, and all donations. THANKS…..and GO ROCKET RACCOON!!!!!!!!!!! –Michael Mantlo