Something new

I'm launching a new blog tonight: Three Line Punditry.

Why? Because I spend too much time reading about politics I might as well do something with it. I do not want to crowd this blog (which is supposed to be focus on my literary thingies) with political talk.

The blog with post links to news items and sum them up in a brief and hopefully poetic and/or humorous way.

Unlike this blog, Three Line Punditry will be updated on a very regular basis. Several times a day.

A sample:

* Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old second-year governor of Alaska, claimed dinosaurs and man walked the earth together 6,000 years ago, which is 65 million years less than scientists claim.

My inspiration comes from a book I've been reading, Novels in Three Lines by Felix Feneon. Apparently in Europe very short summaries of random news events (kind of like a police blotter) are common. Feneon wrote some for awhile, but made them very beautiful, funny and sad.

Well that and Fark/The Onion/Daily Show type headlines which I sometimes write.

Anyways, this is just for fun but if you enjoy it please feel free to bookmark.

Dainty Jowls

- The Guardian has a section of essays on "how to write."(via BookNinja)

Robert Harris on writing novels had some good advice.

Remember that most writing is done in the subconscious ("the boys in the basement," as Stephen King calls his unseen helpers) and that inspiration is only a posh word for ideas. Pace yourself, get some recreation, avoid tiring yourself out. Cut your manuscript ruthlessly but never throw anything away: it's amazing how often a discarded scene or description, which wouldn't fit in one place, will work perfectly later. Resist the temptation to show off your research (one of Tom Stoppard's maxims is, Just because it's true doesn't mean it's interesting).

- Retired Army Colonel says Mccain, in claiming Obama confused tactics and strategy, confused the terms tactics and strategy.

- The Morning News has a collection of Sarah Palin jokes (via Yellow Redneck Blues):

Q: How do you tell the difference between a child in a third-world country and abstinence-only sex education?

A: One works.

Q: How is Sarah Palin like a rabid dog?

A: Both could have used a decent vet.

Ho hum.


Thanks to everyone who came out to Lit Crawl NYC last night and saw me read. Twas fun.


R.I.P. D.F.W.

I just learned that writer David Foster Wallace passed away tonight. I did not know David Foster Wallace personally and have nothing special to say, but I do believe he was one of the few writers whose voice truly mattered. His insights into our modern situation and his ability to explain large concepts in accessible (and typically hilarious) terms was utterly unique. Whether describing the transcendent joy of watching Roger Federer play tennis or detailing the absurd hell-hole that is a vacation cruise ship, his writing was always essential. Losing his voice is a loss for all of us.

- An interview with Charlie Rose (starts around 23 minutes in)

- 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address


Save the date

September 27th at Common Ground I will be giving a reading with several other authors as part of a massive drunken literary bout of craziness that will span downtown Manhattan. More details to come.


The Waffle House lady's inquiry

I'm not sure I can answer it, but here is Part II of my New Year's resolution to read 50 books. I realize that for a wannabe writer like myself this isn't an especially crazy goal. Many of my friends probably read twice that amount. But I'm a slow reader so what can you do?

17) Chord of Light – Zbigniew Herbert
18) Stars of the New Curfew – Ben Okri
19) Wittgenstein’s Nephew – Thomas Bernhard
20) Men and Cartoons – Jonathan Lethem
21) Ant Farm – Simon Rich
22) 60 Poems – Charles Simic
23) In Persuasion Nation – George Saunders
24) Paradise – Donald Barthelme
25) Partial List of People to Bleach – Gary Lutz
26) McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #24
27) The Nimrod Flipout – Etgar Keret
28) The Elements of Style – Strunk and White
29) The World Doesn’t End – Charles Simic
30) I Killed Adolf Hitler – Jason

31) Rock Springs – Richard Ford
32) What I’d Say to the Martians – Jack Handey
33) The Wavering Knife – Brian Evenson
34) Ghost Town – Robert Coover

I enjoyed almost all of the above and won't bother bad-mouthing books here. I did read a stretch of sub-par books from authors I love (Herbert's first poetry collection doesn't stand up to his later work, Bernhard's Wittgenstein’s Nephew felt like a clumsy handling of themes he would develop fully in other works, In Persuasion Nation has several of my favorite Saunders stories, but also several half-baked ones).

As for my favorites, both Jack Handey's What I’d Say to the Martians and Simon Rich's Ant Farm humor collections were fantastic, especially standing out in an era of bland humor writing (Handey and Rich are the only good Shouts & Murmurs authors left going in my humble opinion).

Robert Coover's Ghost Town was a fantastic, twisted, hilarious and inspiring read. Charles Simic's The World Doesn't End was a re-read, but still remains one of my favorite poetry books of all time. Lastly, Rock Springs by Richard Ford was pretty much everything I was told it would be from numerous friends.

Alright, 16 books left to go and about 16 weeks left in the year. I'm currently in the middle of several books (by Roberto Bolano, William Gay, David Foster Wallace and others) so things are looking good for the first New Year's Resolution I'm actually trying to keep.