Writers like to read about other writers. At least I do. I like to read what tricks, techniques, beliefs, rituals, blood sacrifices, and word processing software people use. It’s not that I think reading any of this stuff will make me a better writer. I’ve long since realized that the only thing that will do that is more writing. It’s just this voyeuristic enjoyment of seeing how others make the words happen that drives me. One site that’s pretty good at collecting all these sorts of
useless* helpful tidbits together is Brain Pickings. Bradbury said writers should read poetry every day to seed the subconscious with poetic thinking, the kind of thinking a writer needs to steep herself in. And while I don’t read poetry every day, I do find the topics on Brain Pickings to be the kind of intellectual/inspirational fodder I’m looking for. On top of that, it has a rather nice graphical design, easy on the eyes, so to speak.
Speaking of designs, I’ve recently designed a website for debut young adult author N. Griffin (Her The Whole Stupid Way We Are comes out in February from Atheneum Books). You can see the website here. My job was made easy due to a lovely header graphic by Joe Keinberger, which I adore.
In my own writing news, I’m happy to announce my story “The Suffering Gallery,” has been reprinted in The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three, and is now available on the Kindle. Also, next month on October 11 at 6pm, I’ll be reading with a group of talented folks, including N.K. Jemisin, at Books of Wonder in Manhattan, for Ellen Datlow’s and Terri Windling’s anthology After. At this podcast link Last Short Story gives an in-depth and glowing review of After.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading as well. Mostly short stories, and quite a few from online magazines, but I’ve just completed Amos Tutuola’s novel The Palm Wine Drinkard. Weird, disturbing, original (a least from my limited USain POV), and raw in the sense that you feel that Amos breathlessly threw these thoughts onto the page, so strongly did it need to come out. Which brings me full circle, to something I read on Brain Pickings, where David Bryne’s rejects the notion that art simply begs to be born into the proper medium. He argues that artists tailor their art for their medium in the way a electrician chooses the right gauge wire. It’s obvious Amos tailored his work to the medium (I noticed a lot of language echoing the bible, which betrays his Euro-centric English education — he was schooled in his native Africa by missionaries — with its emphasis on mainly literary as opposed to oral propagation of stories), and it’s interesting to think about how his visions might have been different had he been schooled as a painter.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this Charles Burchfield painting to ponder. Perhaps it will inspire you in a way you didn’t expect.
* I hope it goes without saying this is firmly tongue-in-cheek; Brain Pickings is rather amazing.