Wednesday, 31 December 2014
A new writing project. Yup, I'm at that point in the cycle. What's next? My mind is shooting blanks, my cup does not runneth over...
Normally, an idea for a story or novel bubbles up. So far, though, nada.
(As for the hows and whys of this creative bubbling? Who knows. That's that, despite reading a ton of T.S. Eliot's criticism years back re: "Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity" and "The other aspect of this Impersonal theory of poetry is the relation of the poem to its author. And I hinted, by an analogy, that the mind of the mature poet differs from that of the immature one not precisely in any valuation of “personality,” not being necessarily more interesting, or having “more to say,” but rather by being a more finely perfected medium in which special, or very varied, feelings are at liberty to enter into new combinations.")
Anyhow, the new project currently consists of discards. Ideas so bad, projects so unwieldy, so profitless, and so very dubious that they're only mildly worthwhile as blog entertainment.
To date, they are—
(1) a campy, comic revisiting of Aaron Spelling's Dynasty, but with vampires.
(2) an updating of How To Marry a Millionaire set in a somewhat dystopian future à la William Gibson's Neuromancer.
If you dare, feel free to use either. I'm formally disavowing them!
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
For me, 'best of' lists aren't so much quantitative—empirical evidence or absolute proof that authors X, Y, and Z wrote the definitive best literature of a given time period.
Instead, I use them to see what other writers or reviewers have read that I may have passed by or overlooked altogether. And, admittedly, to see how someone else's opinion about the same book can be so radically different than mine. And so wrongheaded, of course.
This year, for mine—I was asked to contribute my five favourite books of the year—I opted for gut feeling, and chose books that stayed with me for being emotionally impacting, intellectually stimulating, or aesthetically distinguished (and, I guess, any mixture of those three).
In no particular order, my choices were—
1. The Western Home: Stories for Home on the Range, by Catherine Cooper [review]
2. Orfeo, by Richard Powers [review]
3. Ellen in Pieces, by Caroline Adderson [review]
4. All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews [review]
5. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell [review]
That 'choose just five' restriction also meant quite a few couldn't make it to my Top 5. Still, I enjoyed them in assorted ways and would be negligent if I didn't mention them here.
They include Hilary Mantel's The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher [review], Lorrie Moore's Bark [review], Sean Wilsey's essay collection, More Curious [review], Ian Weir's Will Starling [review], Mark Sampson's Sad Peninsula, C.P. Boyko's Novelists [review], Rae Spoon and Ivan Coyote's Gender Failure [review], and Margaret Atwood's Stone Mattress (a book that I actually purchased and did not review).