explore-blog:

Rare audio of O. Henry, who would’ve been 150 today, on the secret of writing good stories.

I’m going to let you in on a few of my secrets in writing a short story. The most important thing, at least in my humble opinion, is to use characters you’ve crossed in your lifetime. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. All of my stories are actual experiences that I have come across during my travels. My characters are facsimilies of actual people I’ve known. Most authors spend hours, I’m told even days, laboring over outlines of stories that they have in their minds. But not I. In my way of thinking that’s a waste of good time.

Open Culture has more background. Also see Kurt Vonnegut on the 8 secrets of stories.

True words here.

(via explore-blog)

Spanish Market and the Remains of Summer

Another Spanish Market in Santa Fe.  Another year of saying next year I will be with someone and we will hold hands and laugh at the people and the art.

Always next year waiting for her.

Spanish Market coming and going in Santa Fe is the lead up to the Indian Market and then the Fiestas and then the end of summer and the the cold will come back again.

Hopefully new doors are opening at the end of this particular summer and better things will happen.  It’s been a bad year for a lot of us.   

The end of this summer means the end of much more, though.  Good friends are leaving Santa Fe to seek their fortune.  I am moving on and away from someone and perhaps joining something that may become a completely new family.

Maybe I will write this summer down and write the people down and know that - as hard as its been - it’s been a year guided by stars.

Thanks, Andy

Andy Griffith dying is like losing a member of my family.   Some of the earliest memories I have are of watching the show with my father on a black and white Motorola in all of the different places we lived when I was a boy - Germany, Omaha and, finally Atlanta.

I watched with envy as little Opie skipped rocks with his Dad and walked barefoot on a dirt road on his way to the pond for some fishing.  Of course, my father and I never did any of that but it was good to pretend we might some day.

When I got older and moved on, Andy Griffith stuck around.  I ran with a large group of friends in my twenties and they watched it every single night.  It seemed to be the thing you did in the south back then.

I’ve not lived in the south in a long long time and wonder if that holds true today.

The best two episodes of the show ever:

1.  Gomer goes on a blind date with Thelma Lou’s cousin, who is a complete dog of a person.  He offers her a cookie and she looks at him and says, “They lay on my chest.”

Gomer falls in love with her any way.  Sounds like my life.

2.  Thelma Lou overhears Barney say, “I’ve got that little girl right in my back pocket” and spends the rest of the episode trying to get her back and making even more gaffes while he does it.

Again, my life.

For a Southerner, Andy Griffith was life.  It was the life we all thought we should be living and would be if we weren’t stuck in a big city and there wasn’t so much traffic and if any of us could really stand living in Mayberry at all.

The only one who partied in Mayberry was Otis and look where that got him.

Andy you made me laugh and cry and revealed to me a world I wanted to live in and never will.  Thanks.

A Henry Miller Quote that is extremely relevant

From Sexus:  You were afraid that if I did ask you to do something for me you would not be able to refuse. You were perplexed because, being in love with one woman, you already felt yourself the potential victim of another. It isn’t a woman you need—it is an instrument to liberate yourself. You crave a more adventurous life, you want to break your chains. Whoever the woman is you love I pity her. To you she will appear to be the stronger, but that is only because you doubt yourself. You are the stronger. You will always be stronger—because you can think only of yourself, of your destiny.

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

But goodbye wins.  

I am blaming the planets.  I could blame God but I can’t because I think God shows and there are signs all around that ultimately things will likely be OK.

There is a shadow of doubt, however.

Let’s talk about the past 48 hours.  One woman who I have loved for years - she left me with rapidity almost a couple of years ago - decided along with me that it was time to say goodbye.  It’s time to say goodbye.  There were many tears and we are still great friends but talking every day isn’t helping any one.

And then there is the woman I love now and who does not love me and never will, I guess. There is her and she and it.  It is the thing that surrounds me now, my love for her has enveloped me and there is nothing I can do about it.

Does love matter?  I do not think so any more.  If you love someone and they don’t love you back it’s meaningless isn’t it?  

I love someone and they do not love me.  I considered myself the luckiest person in the world to have met her and fallen in love with her.  She does not feel lucky at all for having met me.

She is everything to me.  I am nothing to her.

Somehow I can hear Hemingway speaking to me over beer somewhere:  If she does not love you then she does not love you.  It’s the end.

But what if I don’t want it to be over?   

Hemingway:  You have no choice.  If she does not love you, then there is no use struggling against it.  Look, when you hook a trout it fights, the good ones do anyway, but eventually one of you wins and one of you loses.  You have lost this fight.

I have lost this fight.   A great boxer can lose and realize he was not good enough that one time when it mattered.  I have lost.

The ring is terrible.  I will go into it again, not old enough to know better, not smart enough to avoid it.

I’ll fight again.  It hurts.

I read this story at Op Cit Bookstore recently.

Tide In, Tide Out: Undertow

Not much has changed in my house since I’ve moved in.  I have used the oven every night and washed mounds of dishes which are all minor triumphs over my past life as I leave it behind.

Challenges are ahead.  They always are.  

As usual, my thoughts are of love and writing.  I can’t agree they are intertwined.  Related.   Not part of a web of thought and action and reaction.  

Moving into a new place that is shockingly large for me and realizing I have nothing and simply need another imagination around is enough to realize the love part is, well, it is what is.  Dumb cliche but it holds.

Writing is another thing.  Am I avoiding it?  I don’t know.  Am I afraid of it.  I was.  But I circle it like a dog unsure of some thing he has not seen before.  Circling.  Sniffing the air for trouble.  A dog always goes in.  Eventually.

I’ve been called worse.

nedhepburn:

nevver:

 Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck
Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.
Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

‘Cannery Row’ is one of the best books, and ‘Of Mice & Men’ can make a grown man cry. Steinbeck was a legend. Also; the third point here is vital, stellar advice.

nedhepburn:

nevver:

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

  1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
  2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
  3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
  4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.
  5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
  6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

‘Cannery Row’ is one of the best books, and ‘Of Mice & Men’ can make a grown man cry. Steinbeck was a legend. Also; the third point here is vital, stellar advice.

(via npr)

Cold and a touch of snow

We got the first drips of snow and a long rain in Santa Fe last night.  The mountains, already capped by fresh snow yesterday, are probably covered this morning.

I have not ventured out of my little San Francisco Street studio to look yet.  

This is the time of year where I wonder if I can truly write again - ever.  I feel the urge, even the need, but there is a block in my mind and a nagging pain in my shoulder that say, “Why bother?”

Why not bother?