In love with the process of writing


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A needull original.

It is one of those days when you are in a strangely good mood in the morning. And you feel the itch to write.

I have recently started listening to “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles on Audible during my office commutes. Amor worked in the investment profession for 20 years before taking to full time writing. This is his second novel. As you keep getting older, you start re-calibrating your dreams. You try to find examples of people who have done it who were in a similar or worse situation than you. It gives you hope. And Amor gives me hope that someday I will be able to write.

I love the entire experience of writing. I like everything about it. The solitude, the rigid chair and desk, the smell of fresh ink on paper and the ink flowing from your fountain pen.

It is pure magic. You are able to communicate your most abstruse thoughts to others by etching out symbols on paper. And your thoughts might survive and be read and understood by someone thousands of years later.

Such a feeling of wonder!

How to write a book with a full-time job


Writing

Tips from a writer.

Step 7: Set short-term goals

Or as I like to say: write in chunks. Sitting down to write a whole book is frankly terrifying; nothing makes me want to watch television and eat toast so much as facing down a goal of that size. But sitting down to write, say, 1000 words—you can do that. The writing group is helpful here, too. My group meets once a month and that meant that every month I set myself a goal of what I wanted to have ready to share—usually a chapter, sometimes just a few pages. These short bursts of momentum kept me going through to the end. A book is a marathon, but if you’re busy (and you are, you have a full-time job) it can be far easier to write if you turn it into a series of short sprints.

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Jean Hannah Edelstein — The Creative Independent

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Rereading, retelling, rediscovering Beowulf


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I won’t pretend that Beowulf has ever been my favourite Anglo-Saxon text – I always used to get an impression of it as containing lots of action and little reflection – but I have encountered it in many different guises, and found it different each time.  This year, I intend to finally get around to reading the whole poem, preferably out loud, in Old English, using Michael Swanton’s parallel text edition, and I expect to find a different poem from the one which I have read, taught, acted, heard and seen over the years.

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Kate Thomas — For the Wynn

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Outspoken to Unspoken: Searching for Anne’s Voice after She Marries


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I loved the first four, where we journey with Anne from ages 11 to 25. Here was the character from the movies in all her spunk, wit, ambition, and imagination. She writes stories, goes to college, teaches, almost marries the wrong man, becomes a school principal, befriends prickly people, wins over the conniving Pringle clan, and comes to know herself better.

But when Anne Shirley becomes Anne Blythe, she doesn’t seem like the same person. I barely recognized her. I couldn’t find the spark and ambition of her earlier years. While she retains her quirky expressions, love of nature, and propensity to meet kindred spirits, her voice changes. After marriage it flattens and, in some cases, disappears altogether.

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Charlene Kwiatkowski — The Curator

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How Oscar Wilde’s life imitates his art


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Wilde made his own life into a tragic, exquisite, grotesquely gorgeous work of art. That was his legacy to the 21st century. Nowadays Wilde’s queerness is being embraced with open arms. In 2017, he was among 50,000 gay men posthumously pardoned by the Ministry of Justice for sexual acts that are no longer illegal. Everywhere you turn these days, there seems to be another shrine to Oscar going up somewhere, whether it’s the Oscar Wilde Barand Oscar Wilde Temple in New York, or the Irish hotels set to open in London and Edinburgh. Wilde’s works, once considered to have a corrupting influence, are now taught in schools around the globe. He has become gay history’s Christ figure. The relics of his martyrdom have become attractions, sites of pilgrimage.

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Michele Mendelssohn — OUPblog

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Wedding Woes and Mutual Hatred


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In The Wedding, West offers a more nuanced and succinct take on the same themes. In the late summer 1953, the prosperous Coles family is gathered on the Vineyard for the nuptials of their lovely scion Shelby Coles to a white jazz musician. The impending wedding brings to a head the foundational illusion of their lives: that skin color is “a direct barometer of virtue,” as Shelby’s sister, Liz, sarcastically puts it. West tracks the idea’s evolution and its fallout by telling the stories of the family’s ancestors, black and white, from back when “cars hadn’t yet been invented, cocktails hadn’t yet been invented, and the idea of colored people taking vacations had not yet been invented either.” In a more recent flashback, a young Shelby gets lost, and the islanders are on the lookout for a “little colored girl.” But blonde Shelby isn’t recognizable as such, and when she tells her name to a white mother, the woman is at first confused and then reluctant to ask if she’s “colored.” “I couldn’t do anything as awful,” the woman says to her friends. “Supposing she isn’t? It might leave a scar.”

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Emma Garman — The Paris Review

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The second-worst poet in English


Intriguing.

He was the second-worst poet in the English language, not far behind William McGonagall. Born in 1862, he seems to have commenced author, as the saying goes, in his middle fifties, thereafter suffering, or perhaps enjoying, severe graphomania, the compulsion never to leave off writing. Until then he had led a wandering life, abandoning his native London for Australia as a teenager, studying for the church at Sydney University, and working variously as a minister, gold miner, and sheep farmer in many far-flung places. But he settled eventually in Bournemouth and evidently decided that Bournemouth was best.

The boarding houses met with in this splendid seaside town

Are mainly very excellent, deserving their renown.

The residents form usually congenial society,

Although among so many you meet types in great variety.

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Anthony Daniels — The New Criterion