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The Awe and the Shock and the Awe

The deadline for Polyphony Seven has been extended to March 15th. Did you pre-order?

There's been a lot of links going round for the ten rules for writing fiction that was in the Guardian the other day. Mostly, they're pretty ordinary rules, but occasionally there's a funny one, or one that's got a ring of truth to it, such as Anne Enright's 'The first 12 years are the worst.'

I don't know that I personally have ten rules. I write, I finish what I write more often than not, and I sell it. In the grand scheme of successful authors, I'm not very successful, but most days of the week I feel I'm moving forward, and not backwards, and I figure that's good to believe in. Some days, however, are better than others. Some days you can't escape the sense of failure, the opinions of people, the business, and the hate mail. Still, you do what you can, hey? And to be honest, I think I've had a bit of a shift in my opinion towards writing in the last year. I look back and I think that I was very passionate for a lot of things in writing and it got me into a lot of trouble, most of the time--trouble I didn't mind because, well, none of that kind of trouble was ever new to me. But now, splitting my time between working and writing, I've had to focus my passion a bit differently, if that makes sense. I like to think I found a way to focus some of it into teaching--though that really does depend on the student and what I have--but otherwise I think these days I have everything a lot more directed into what I do, and what I write. There seems to be less chances for me to get into trouble, but that said, nothing has come along that has really gotten me all fired up about the indignation of whatever for a while. At least,not in the writing community.

On the other hand, a year after I heard about it, I finally got around to buying Christian Bok's Eunoia.

Here's a quote:

"Awkward grammar appals a craftsman. A Dada bard as daft as Tzara damns stagnant art and scrawls an alpha (a slapdash arc and a backward zag) that mars all stanzas and jams all ballads (what a scandal). A madcap vandal crafts a small black ankh--a handstamp that can stamp a wax pad and at last plant a mark that sparks an ars magna (an abstract art that chards a phrasal anagram). A pagan skald chants a dark saga (a Mahabharata), as a papal cabal blackballs all annals and tracts, all dramas and psalms: Kant and Kafka, Marx and Marat. A Law as harsh as a fatwa bans all paragraphs that lack an A as a standard hallmark."


I am in awe.

(crossposted)

Comments

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(Anonymous)
Feb. 25th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
Looking at some of those rules, makes me actually sick. Like the one about "said". It seems like most of these writers are so fucking self-conscious of writing as some kind of “act”. As soon as you set rules, make laws and such, you become complicit in all the bad things that naturally flow from such things.
(no subject) - brendanconnell.wordpress.com - Feb. 25th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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