A New Section at the Bookstore
‘Cli-fi’ is an emerging genre that merges literature’s latitude with today’s climate change problems.

A New Section at the Bookstore

‘Cli-fi’ is an emerging genre that merges literature’s latitude with today’s climate change problems.

"5. Start as close to the end as possible."

— Kurt Vonnegut, cited in Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story (via underpaidgenius)

"

One of the most obvious was not to do minor or silly books. That’s a really strange injunction if you look at literary history because most every novelist we accord major prestige did all sorts of things. The only way for me to obey, “OK, now you’re major: Stay major!” was to only write books as long, sorrowful and widescreen as “The Fortress of Solitude.”

It was a really meaningless injunction for me, but it was certainly there. I guess I frivolously — and some would say hopelessly — tried to negotiate with that by doing other kinds of books.

"

— Jonathan Lethem on the constraints of being a “major” author. (via Salon)

Here’s a fun article from the Utne Reader archives: A 12-Step Program on How to Write a Sex Scene. Here’s a teaser (no pun intended):
Step 6: Don’t obsess over the rude parts.Sex is  inherently over the top. Just telling the reader that two (or more)  people are balling will automatically direct us toward the genitals. It  is your job, as an author, to direct us elsewhere, to the more  inimitable secrets of the naked body. Give us the indentations on the  small of a woman’s back, or the minute trembling of a man’s underlip.
Step 7: Don’t forget the foreplay.It  took me a few years (okay, 20) to realize this, but desire is, in the  end, a lot sexier than the actual humping part. So don’t make the  traditional porno mistake. Don’t cut from the flirtatious discussion to  the gag-defying fellatio. Tease the reader a little bit. Let the drama  of the seduction prime us for the action.
Step 8: Fluid is fun.Sex  is sticky. There is no way around this. If you want to represent the  truth of the acts, pay homage to the resultant wetnesses. And I’m not  just talking about semen or vaginal fluid. I’m also talking sweat and  saliva, which I consider to be the perfume of lovers, as well as  whatever one chooses as a lubricant. (Sesame oil is my current fave, but  it changes from week to week.)
Keep reading …

Here’s a fun article from the Utne Reader archives: A 12-Step Program on How to Write a Sex Scene. Here’s a teaser (no pun intended):

Step 6: Don’t obsess over the rude parts.
Sex is inherently over the top. Just telling the reader that two (or more) people are balling will automatically direct us toward the genitals. It is your job, as an author, to direct us elsewhere, to the more inimitable secrets of the naked body. Give us the indentations on the small of a woman’s back, or the minute trembling of a man’s underlip.

Step 7: Don’t forget the foreplay.
It took me a few years (okay, 20) to realize this, but desire is, in the end, a lot sexier than the actual humping part. So don’t make the traditional porno mistake. Don’t cut from the flirtatious discussion to the gag-defying fellatio. Tease the reader a little bit. Let the drama of the seduction prime us for the action.

Step 8: Fluid is fun.
Sex is sticky. There is no way around this. If you want to represent the truth of the acts, pay homage to the resultant wetnesses. And I’m not just talking about semen or vaginal fluid. I’m also talking sweat and saliva, which I consider to be the perfume of lovers, as well as whatever one chooses as a lubricant. (Sesame oil is my current fave, but it changes from week to week.)

Keep reading …

"Everything I’ve ever written was composed in notebooks first. I have hundreds of them filled with my scribbles tucked away in boxes. I also buy them obsessively, so I probably have just as many empty notebooks lying around the house ready and waiting to be filled. I find that writing longhand I can enter a zone of comfort I find hard to achieve when sitting in front of a screen - I find typing annoying."

"Why creative writing is better with a pen," by Lee Rourke, from The Guardian.

Given Muammar Qaddafi’s recent death and the continued political uncertainty in Libya, tourism will likely not be the country’s boom industry any time soon. Some people, however, get paid to visit the hot, ruined, sand-blasted terrain of North Africa. Journalists, sure, and politicians, too. But also travel writers.

On account of the Arab Spring the third and most recent edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to Libya was never published, according to one of its primary authors Kate Grace Thomas. In a vignette-style article about being a travel writer in a warzone published on Guernica, Thomas explains:

I was writing a guidebook to a country that no longer exists; a country where busloads of Italian tourists gathered around hotel buffets; where billboards advertised the Qaddafi brand—forty-one years, they sang, the leader’s face peering down at the cars on the highways like that of a god who thought he created them. The guidebook I researched was a guidebook to the past.

Keep reading …

(via Wall Street Journal)

People fuss about punctuation not only because it clarifies meaning but  also because its neglect appears to reflect wider social decline. And  while the big social battles seem intractable, smaller battles over the  use of the apostrophe feel like they can be won.
Yet the status of this and other cherished marks has long been  precarious. The story of punctuation is one of comings and goings.

(via Wall Street Journal)

People fuss about punctuation not only because it clarifies meaning but also because its neglect appears to reflect wider social decline. And while the big social battles seem intractable, smaller battles over the use of the apostrophe feel like they can be won.

Yet the status of this and other cherished marks has long been precarious. The story of punctuation is one of comings and goings.

There are plenty of people who wear morbidity and fatalism as an  aesthetic pose—hello, goths, zombies, Diamanda Galas, and black metal  fanatics—but after learning about the 1880s literary movement known as decadence, it becomes clear that most of them are mere dabblers in the dark arts.
Keep reading …

There are plenty of people who wear morbidity and fatalism as an aesthetic pose—hello, goths, zombies, Diamanda Galas, and black metal fanatics—but after learning about the 1880s literary movement known as decadence, it becomes clear that most of them are mere dabblers in the dark arts.

Keep reading …

(via The Guardian)

The great thing about this cat – the writing one – is that there are a thousand different ways to skin it. In fact, you don’t have to skin it at all – and it doesn’t even need to be a cat! What I mean, in the first instance, is feel free to dispute or ignore everything in this introduction or in the articles that follow. As Tobias Wolff puts it in his masterly novel Old School: “For a writer there is no such thing as an exemplary life … Certain writers do good work at the bottom of a bottle. The outlaws generally write as well as the bankers, though more briefly. Some writers flourish like opportunistic weeds by hiding among the citizens, others by toughing it out in one sort of desert or another.”

This freedom is the challenging perk of the non-job. If you are a tennis player any weakness – an inability, say, to deal with high-bouncing balls to your backhand – will be just that. And so you must devote long hours of practice to making the vulnerable parts of your game less vulnerable. If you are a writer the equivalent weakness can rarely be made good so you are probably better off letting it atrophy and enhancing some other aspect of your performance.

Slake, a Los Angeles-based quarterly with stride and attitude, is one of our new favorite magazines around the office. Learn a little more about it, as well as Sampsonia Way, right over here …

Slake, a Los Angeles-based quarterly with stride and attitude, is one of our new favorite magazines around the office. Learn a little more about it, as well as Sampsonia Way, right over here …