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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Attention Aspiring Writers

"If a writer has something to say, he should write it."

But know this--one of the central elements in the enduring appeal of Hemingway is that he conveys the impression one need have no special skills to become a writer.  Credulous readers with high ambition, beware; for where is the reader who does not entertain the thought of becoming a writer?

John Singer Sargent mural, courtesy God's Own Library.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Chump's Game

M. LeClerc: "Criticism, no matter how worthless, always appears superior to its object." Or almost always. The shooting-from-the-hip attacks on successful literary figures by the subunderground writer are not launched out of malice, but rather from a sometimes desperate will to survive that is
Image courtesy Fogg Museum.
nourished, sustained, by ridicule and mockery, no matter how petty and unjustified. Established writers who are assaulted understand this, most of them, and out of noblesse oblige let it pass.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cathedral / R. Carver

This collection of stories is a series of lead weights resting on the floor of a sea of negativity, constructed according to the cardinal principle of literary minimalism: "Always leave out the primary event the reader needs to know about," which is gratifying to the mind that has given up on the concept of closure, of human happiness, of teaching by delight. He's like a Hemingway who never picked up a rifle, who played with toy soldiers instead of enduring combat, morose, despairing, grim to the last breath.

I may actually finish this book.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Woodcuts of Women / Dagoberto Gilb

With steamy woodcut illustrations (the fundamental reason this collection of short stories was purchased, that plus a $4.99 remainder price for a $12 paperback {Grove, 2001}), the first story by Gilb, a Guggenheim and Whiting Foundation fellow, is puerile to the point of unbearable, but the point of interest is that on the single occasion one served as ghost writer/copy editor for a literary work, as a favor to a friend, the penname chosen for said editor (credited) was, wait for it--Dagoberto Rebop.
Image © Artemio Rodriguez, 2001. All rights under copyright reserved. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Trump's Cabinet

As cancer spreads from a single malignant cell.

Friday, December 9, 2016

American Mischief / Alan Lelchuk

A novel of boyish fantasia packaged as realism; one might as well play a video game.
Image courtesy Fogg Museum. 
Distinctly not to say bizarrely misinformative on the "dating" practices of women in Cambridge. The milieu of the People's Republic is adequately, in places carefully, observed, but the style is humdrum.