Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last (Literary) Lines for 2012

Stealing this idea from NPR librarian Kee Malesky, who closes out the year by sharing last lines from classic novels. Too difficult a task to think of my all-time favorite, so I limited my search to the books I read in 2012. The winner for me was Junot Diaz's THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER. Here's how he ends it:

You bust out a couple more things. Then you put your head down.
The next day you look at the new pages. For once you don't want to burn them or give up writing forever.
It's a start, you say to the room.
That's about it. In the months that follow you bend to the work, because it feels like hope, like grace--and because you know in your lying cheater's heart that sometimes a start is all we ever get.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Great Advice to Writers

From Jeffrey Eugenides, one of the best articles on writing I've read in a long time. It was adapted from a speech he made to a group young, award-winning authors, but it's excellent advice for writers of any age--award-winners or not.

Here's one of my favorites of several great passages:

"When you started writing, in high school or college, it wasn’t out of a wish to be published, or to be successful, or even to win a lovely award like the one you’re receiving tonight. It was in response to the wondrousness and humiliation of being alive. Remember? You were fifteen and standing beside a river in wintertime. Ice floes drifted slowly downstream. Your nose was running. Your wool hat smelled like a wet dog. Your dog, panting by your side, smelled like your hat. It was hard to distinguish. As you stood there, watching the river, an imperative communicated itself to you. You were being told to pay attention."

Read the entire article HERE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Richards on Writing

Reading Keith Richards's LIFE and came across this, as true for fiction writing as for songwriting:

"And also the other thing about being a songwriter, when you realize you are one, is that to provide ammo, you start to become an observer, you start to distance yourself. You're constantly on the alert. That faculty gets trained in you over the years, observing people, how they react to one another. Which, in a way, makes you weirdly distant."