The average novel invariably reads like a detective's report. It is drab and tedious because it is never objective.
Context is everything in both narrative and real life, and while the accusation is never that these creators deliberately set out to discriminate against gay and female characters, the unavoidable implication is that they should have known better than to add to the sum total of those stories which, en masse, do exactly that. And if the listmakers can identify the trend so thoroughly – if, despite all the individual qualifications, protests and contextualisations of the authors, these problems can still be said to exist – then the onus, however disconnected from the work of any one individual, nonetheless falls to those individuals, in their role as cultural creators, to acknowledge the problem; to do better next time; perhaps even to apologise. This last is a particular sticking point. By and large, human beings tend not to volunteer apologies for things they perceive to be the fault of other people, for the simple reason that apology connotes guilt, and how can we feel guilty – or rather, why should we – if we’re not the ones at fault? But while we might argue over who broke a vase, the vase itself is still broken, and will remain so, its shards ground into the carpet, until someone decides to clean it up.Blog Post: Love Team Freezer
It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.
Life consists of many different stories. A person has not just one but countless life stories that weave in between each other and together create exactly that specific life and that specific human being.
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get.See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On.The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour.And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
I love the longueurs of a book even if they seem pointless because you can get a peek into the author’s mind, a glimpse of their creative soul.
Our dreams and stories may contain implicit aspects of our lives even without our awareness. In fact, storytelling may be a primary way in which we can linguistically communicate to others—as well as to ourselves—the sometimes hidden contents of our implicitly remembering minds. Stories make available perspectives on the emotional themes of our implicit memory that may otherwise be consciously unavailable to us. This may be one reason why journal writing and intimate communication with others, which are so often narrative processes, have such powerful organizing effects on the mind: They allow us to modulate our emotions and make sense of the world.
A shaman and a writer each serve as their communities’ seers by engaging in extraordinary acts of conscientious study of the past and the present and predicting the future. An inner voice calls to the shaman and an essayistic writer to answer the call that vexes the pernicious spirit of their times. Shamanistic writers induce a trance state of mind where they lose contact with physical reality through a rational disordering of the senses, in an effort to encounter for the umpteenth time the great unknown and the unutterable truths that structure existence. An afflicted person seeking clarification of existence cannot ignore the shamanistic calling of narrative exposition. Thus, I shall continue this longwinded howl – making a personal immortality vessel – into the darkness of night forevermore.
o There’s no way to really preserve a person when they’ve gone and that’s because whatever you write down it’s not the truth, it’s just a story. Stories are all we’re ever left with in our head or on paper: clever narratives put together from selected facts, legends, well edited tall tales with us in the starring roles.
A tale may have exactly three beginnings: one for the audience, one for the artist, and one for the poor bastard who has to live in it.
I would write:The soft melting hunk of butter trickled in gold down the stringy grooves of the split yam.Or:The child's clumsy fingers fumbled in sleep, feeling vainly for the wish of its dream.The old man huddled in the dark doorway, his bony face lit by the burning yellow in the windows of distant skycrapers.My purpose was to capture a physical state or movement that carried a strong subjective impression, an accomplishment which seemed supremely worth struggling for. If I could fasten the mind of the reader upon words so firmly that he would forget words and be conscious only of his response, I felt that I would be in sight of knowing how to write narrative.