Archive for July, 2011

h1

Reminder: LA 9 “Early Bard” discount through August 1

July 29, 2011

Reminder

SCWC LA 9The Southern California Writers’ Conference is preparing for its ninth annual Los Angeles conference, to be held in Newport Beach.

Registration includes an “early bard” discount ending August 1, so you have until Monday to knock $50 off your registration fee.

Check into the News & Announcements for the latest updates on participating authors, editors, publishers, and agents.

Go. Do. Write. Now.

-bd

h1

Furry

July 29, 2011

Sometimes you might pause to wonder, “Should I really inflict this on people?” And sometimes the answer is a no-brainer: “Well, duh. Of course I should!”

WilfredFor those unfamiliar with Wilfred, a television series running on FX network:

On Wilfred, FX’s Elijah Wood comedy adapted from the Australian original, the titular character is a dog — to everyone except Ryan (Wood), the near-suicidal neighbor who agrees to dog-sit him. To Ryan, Wilfred appears as a walking, shit-talking, hung-over man in a rumpled dog suit. Wilfred exhibits both human and animal behaviors: He watches a Matt Damon movie, then indulges in the urge to dig holes and pee freely around the yard. He gives Ryan some legit life advice (between beers and bong hits), and he also humps stuffed animals. This all raises a number of questions, obviously: How crazy is Ryan? If Wilfred is a dog, who’s smoking the other half of those joints? And if he isn’t a dog, then is Wilfred a furry, a person who puts on a costume, attends conventions, and perhaps gets down in a fur suit?

Yeah, some things we just don’t need to know. And then one day they work their way into general view, and, well, right.

Those who are familiar with the diversity of pornography, or the odd quirks of Generations X and Y, have probably heard of the furry behavioral phenomenon. To me, well … never mind what I think; I’ll plead the Fifth. No, wait. Strike that. I’ll plead the Thumper Rule.

At any rate, New York Magazine yesterday posted its interview with Kilcodo, a practicing furry.

I know, I know.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

A wild thing returns

July 28, 2011

Maurice Sendak, with HermanJust so you know, Maurice Sendak has returned. Dave Eggers brings us the tale of the Wild Thing’s latest book, for Vanity Fair:

Bumble-Ardy is the first book Maurice Sendak has both written and illustrated in 30 years. I called him the other day to talk about it, and we were both surprised it had been that long. “Jesus,” he said. “What have I been doing?” We went through a list. He designed operas here and abroad, illustrated dozens of books—by Tony Kushner and Herman Melville and Shakespeare, among many others—and had a best-seller just a few years ago, in Mommy?, a pop-up book about a boy looking for his mother in a haunted mansion.

But in terms of a book completely his own, Bumble-Ardy is the first since 1981’s Outside Over There. Not that he wants to make a big deal out of it. “People from New York have been calling, to see if I’m still alive. When I answer the phone, you can hear the disappointment in their voice.”

Meanwhile, you can also hear the story about the effort to save a 1961 bedroom mural painted by Maurice Sendak for the Chertoff family of New York, via NPR.

-bd

h1

Bulwer-Lytton 2011 winner: Sue Fondrie

July 26, 2011

Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron LyttonAnd the winner is:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh associate professor Sue Fondrie scored the top honors for the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

The twenty-six word entry is the twenty-ninth grand prize winner, and also the shortest submission to ever take the honor, which is given to the worst opening sentence for a novel in honor of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s [in]famous, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Congratulations, of course, to Sue Fondrie, and our thanks to the contest organizers for their annual dose of levity.

-bd

h1

The library police get hip

July 25, 2011

New York Public Library logoFrom the New York Public Library, one of the coolest gimmicks ever:

From July 25 to September 9, 2011, participants in NYPL’s Read Down Your Fines program can erase all their library fines just by logging their books and reading time on SummerReading.org.

-bd

h1

Yo, Ed ….

July 25, 2011

A note for Decker: Broetry.

What? I ain’t sayin’ a word.

-bd

h1

Nifty: Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler

July 25, 2011

Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler via BBC 1958Carolyn Kellogg‘s reflection on Raymond Chandler at Jacket Copy includes this gem:

… writer Geoff Nicholson sent me a link to an amazing 1957 interview between Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler on the BBC. It was the first time I’d heard Chandler speak, a strange and marvelous experience. He’s a little moody, a little distracted, and quite possibly drunk. The two were, apparently, sitting in the same studio in England.

Yeah. Click that link. It is about twenty-five minutes long. Absolutely fascinating.

-bd

h1

Ranting: Four authors, and why I feel stupid

July 24, 2011

Jack Cady's "Rules of '48"A number of literary elements come together: What could Douglas Adams, Steven Brust, Jack Cady, and Michael Thompkins possibly have in common?

Well, other than the obvious fact of all being authors.

The late Jack Cady once explained that if you need a soapbox, if you have a point to make, then write an editorial for a newspaper; don’t make the story subordinate to politics. I always had a hard time with this. To the other, though, I still cringe whenever I try to start a story with a preposition, or an article, or … never mind, that’s a separate issue.

Michael Thompkins put the resolution in front of me; among the tidbits he picked up along the way was to give those problems to your characters. Problem solved.

No, really, it was that easy. I was just making too much of the question. For years and years and years. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The end of an era? Or just a retail chain?

July 22, 2011

An email from Borders CEO to rewards programs customersI don’t know. I feel like I should say something about the end of Borders, but I really don’t know what.

Anyone? Anyone?

-bd

h1

The question of the question mark

July 22, 2011

Suddenly, I have a Duran Duran song stuck in my head.

Zawga elayaOh, right. Sorry. Um … Syriac. That’s the important thing here. You know, ancient language, all that?

Anyway, a Cambridge researcher has asserted the identification of the world’s first question mark, a Syriac character called zawga elaya:

The double dot mark, known to later grammarians as zawga elaya, is written above a word near the start of a sentence to tell the reader that it is a question. It doesn’t appear on all questions: ones with a wh- word don’t need it, just as in English ‘Who is it’ can only be a question (although we use a question mark anyway). But a question like ‘You’re going away?’ needs the question mark to be understood; and in Syriac, zawga elaya marks just these otherwise ambiguous expressions.

“Reading aloud, the same function is served by a rising tone of voice – or at least it is in English – and it is interesting to ponder whether zawga elaya really marks the grammar of the question, or whether it is a direction to someone reading the Bible aloud to modulate their voice,” said Dr Coakley.

Question marks in Greek and Latin script emerged later than in Syriac, with the earliest examples dating from the eighth century. It is likely that these symbols developed independently from each other and from Syriac. Hebrew and Arabic, close neighbours of Syriac, have nothing comparable. Armenian, another neighbour, has a similar mark, but it seems to be later.

For his own part, Dr. Chip Coakley is gratified by the reception his argument has received from fellow academics. “I’d describe it as a significant footnote in the history of writing,” he explained, adding cheerfully, “And it’s satisfying to have made sense out of some of those weird dots.”

-bd