Tag Archives: William Faulkner

Clip: Marco Polo Publishes 2 Pieces of My Flash Fiction

13 Feb

Marco!

Polo!

Marco Polo was an explorer. Marco Polo is a lit mag, edited by Darin Beasley, that explores language and love and existence and beauty and Frank O’Hara. It’s a capricious call-and-response. A call to explore the little moments. Responses that show that those small moments can lead to big discoveries. It kind of makes you think about life.

And that’s why I’m so excited to have two short works of fiction* published in Marco Polo.

*They’re mashups of incidents from my life (sort of) and works of literature by William Faulkner and Evan S. Connell.

party“The Party”

yardfire“Yard Fire”

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Writing Wednesday: Writing from a Brothel

6 Feb

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m going to go live in a brothel now. Don’t worry — just as the landlord. William Faulkner told me to.

PS: Sorry for robbing you and drinking all your whiskey. I’m just trying to be a good writer.

xoxo.

 

Note: This is completely fictional. But, Faulkner’s 1956 interview poses an interesting question: What is the best type of job for a writer to hold to earn some income while working on a book?

Jack Kerouac’s Angry Postcard to His Editor

24 Dec

In 1956, Viking Press expressed an interest in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  The author had been writing and rewriting his novel for years, and Kerouac was growing impatient as it languished in the publishing house.  He was working with an editorial consultant named Malcolm Cowley, who had first gained renown for his 1929 book of poetry Blue Juniata before writing one of the first books about the Lost Generation.  Having been associated with the Lost Generation, it in many ways made sense that he was attracted to the Beat Generation.

By the 1940s he was editing Viking Portable editions.  He championed the work of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, and John Cheever.  His interest in Kerouac’s On the Road is important to literary history.  What many people forget is that Kerouac was already an established novelist before On the Road.  He’d written a semi-autobiographical novel entitled The Town and the City that got respectable reviews with comparisons to Thomas Wolfe but which tanked when it came to sales.  Kerouac had literary contacts, but selling On the Road still wasn’t easy.  Cowley was interested but took his sweet time getting back to Kerouac.

On July 9, 1956, Kerouac sent him a postcard depicting the Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park threatening to sell On the Road elsewhere if he didn’t receive his contract and advance from Viking.  You can read Kerouac’s postcard to Malcolm Cowley (as well as 14 other postcards from authors) at Flavorwire.

10 Quotes about Persevering and Finding Your Story

21 Nov

I’ve never been intimidated by a blank page or a brand new diary.  When I was younger and in elementary school, I relished in-class writing assignments.  Inspiration and ideas came easily to me, and I wrote fast and furious.  Perhaps this is because I was a quiet student, who probably went days without speaking in class, so writing assignments gave me a chance to let loose all the thoughts that had been bottled up inside my head.

Most of the time when I sit down to write, I have little idea what will come out.  I almost never work off of an outline, and even when I have a thesis or a direction I want to take my work, the writing seems to have a mind of its own.  I feel that my job as a writer is to just let the words flow and the story will find itself.  If I try to wrestle my words down to keep to some preconceived notion of what I am expected to say, I run the risk of missing something purer and truer.

Much more intimidating to me than the blank page is a work in progress.  Are my words rebelling against my story and leading me astray?  Has everything I’ve said been gibberish?

Below are famous literary quotes about persevering and finding form and structure:

The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with. ~William Faulkner

There is no method except to be very intelligent. ~T.  S. Eliot

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.  ~Hart Crane

Something that you feel will find its own form.  ~Jack Kerouac

The task of a writer consists in being able to make something out of an idea. ~Thomas Mann

If the artist does not fling himself, without reflecting, into his work, as Curtis flung himself into the yawning gulf, as the soldier flings himself into the enemy’s trenches, and if, once in this crater, he does not work like a miner on whom the walls of his gallery have fallen in; if he contemplates difficulties instead of overcoming them one by one…he is simply looking on at the suicide of his own talent. ~Honore de Balzac

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer. ~Ray Bradbury

It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly. ~C. J. Cherryh

Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it… ~Michael Crichton

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. ~William Faulkner

 

Do you plot out your entire work before you begin writing?

Writing Wednesday: A Blurb Job

14 Dec

When Joan Williams asks William Faulkner to blurb her book, it takes an ugly turn.  In telling the story of their affair (a story also told by Lisa C. Hickman in William Faulkner and Joan Williams: The Romance of Two Writers), Glen David Gold makes a compelling argument for not sleeping with writers in “On Not Rolling the Log,” in The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Gold goes on to say:

How confusing it is to entangle acclaim and love. How much of a balancing act to determine your real value to another person. When you cultivate a literary friendship, it’s good to remember — and hard to prove — that it’s the work which is a commodity, not you.

An editor was telling me recently that Ken Kesey asked Jack Kerouac to blurb one of his books and he refused.  He was very protective of his name, his brand.

Some writers whore out their name.  Others keep it under lock and key.  The book business is a small and incestuous one, and a blurb from the right author can propel sales.  But at what cost?