I’m ready to start my next fiction project, a novel, which I’ve been thinking about for a year. I’d like to address two main ideas. One is the bifurcation of American Society, into reactionary conservatives and experimental progressives, but I … Continue reading
Project 1: I have put my most recent novel, “Being Ruby,” to bed for a while. It will rest until July, when I will take it to the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference (http://www.unm.edu/~taosconf/). I hope to find out if the … Continue reading
I got to “The End” of the first draft of my latest novel without a car chase, drug bust, or explosion and only one murder, which occurs off-stage. I think I stayed focused on my character. I went back through … Continue reading
For the rewrite of my latest novel, I’ve decided to cut several wonderful themes and plot points that involve cartoony physical action, which I love. It’s lights, camera, action! Not lights, camera, brooding introspection. I’m trying to change. Action scenes … Continue reading
The workshop I went to recently was called “advanced” because you needed product. You couldn’t walk in with just an idea or an outline. I went with 75,000 words, the ninth revision of a suspense novel. What I learned at this workshop was … Continue reading
Against Sincerity To frame a discussion of literary vs genre in marketing terms encourages cynicism, because marketing pretends discourse while designed only to separate you from your money. So let’s forget about how the distinction between literary and genre is used … Continue reading
I bought a new refrigerator. It’s lovely, stainless steel, lots of space, plenty of features. One feature is a carbon-matrix air filter to take out smells, supposedly replaces the box of baking soda. Was that a problem? It could be so construed.
But the feature that perplexes me now is the refrigerator light. Those have always posed a difficult epistemological question anyway: How do you know the light goes out when you close the door? And if you don’t know that, what else happens, or doesn’t happen when you’re not looking? It’s a deep philosophical problem.
But my new refrigerator solves a problem I didn’t even know I had. When you open the door, the light does not come on instantly. For a moment it’s dark inside. Then, over the course of about 1.5 seconds, the light comes on, dimly at first, then surging to its’ full 40W strength. Every time I open the door, my reaction is “Damn light’s broke.” Then it gradually comes on and I think there is something wrong with my vision. Did I just experience a blackout?
I’m sure I’ll get use to it, but I’m wondering, what problem does this technology solve? I never had any issues with the refrigerator light coming on when I opened the door. Maybe if it were the middle of the night and I were grazing for a sandwich, I would be dazzled by a bright light. “Omigod!” I would shout, “What blazes creep hither?” I don’t know. Has that ever been a problem for anyone? Sleepwalkers?
It’s a helluva struggle to write anything on a road trip. Finding the time is one problem but the far bigger issue is finding the brain. It’s hard to focus. In the morning I have a visceral urge to hit … Continue reading
Like millions of other Americans, I’ll be on the highways in July. I’m taking a novel manuscript to a writing workshop in Iowa City. A sensible person would fly. Even though driving is far more dangerous than flying, not to speak … Continue reading
Elizabeth Strout is on the cover of the August, 2013 The Writer magazine. She has a new book, Burgess Boys, which I haven’t yet read. I enjoyed Amy & Isabelle, and I rank Olive Kitteredge as one of the greatest-ever collections … Continue reading