Links: Post-Colonialism

About a year ago I posted about Michael Fauver, a novelist who was blogging about his experience at writers’ retreats. A few people in the comments to that post expressed their dislike for such places. Fauver has read those comments, and he responds in “In Defense of Colonies and Workshops.”

Samuel R. Delany‘s epic dystopian novel Dhalgren has been adapted for the stage as Bellona, Destroyer of Cities.

Walter Mosley: “Through my veins run 10,000 years of history that touches every continent, deity, and crime known to humanity.”

Lewis Lapham on how the recession might affect writers: “It might make them see more clearly what kind of society that they’re living in. A lot of the writing for the last 20-odd years has been very self-absorbed — the memoir instead of the portrait of the society. It might encourage writers to engage more with the society as a whole. It might force them to look more carefully at other people.”

The Web site of Canada’s National Post is hosting a roundtable on Colum McCann‘s Let the Great World Spin.

American fiction about the Vietnam War doesn’t attract much interest in Vietnam.

Ray Bradbury figures the idea that new technologies distance us from ourselves isn’t anything new: “I grew up with radio, I saw what radio did to a people. I saw that it was beginning to disconnect us in society.”

Years of BASS uses Nicholson Baker‘s story “K. 590” as an opportunity to discuss archiving techniques at newspapers.

A Smithsonian article on the early history of the paperback shares a great anecdote about a wounded soldier biding his time in a foxhole reading Willa Cather‘s Death Comes for the Archbishop: “He grabbed it the day before under the delusion that it was a murder mystery, but he discovered, to his amazement, that he liked it anyway.”

A few metalheads are disputing whether Metallica‘s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” has anything to do with the Ernest Hemingway novel. Which is besides the point; as I’ve pointed out before, Cormac McCarthy is the truly metal American novelist.

The Colonist

Michael Fauver, a writer who’s done time at Yaddo and is heading to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the fall, is currently residing at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, where he’s trying to get started on his first novel. He’s describing the process on Why I Won’t Remember Who You Were, a blog with the same title as his book, and he has a few interesting insights into life at writers retreats. Apparently Yaddo often had too much entertainment going on to let him be productive. “A lot of people work here at night,” he writes. “When I was at Yaddo, we drank and played Boggle and watched movies after dinner, so I never felt motivated.” This time around, he appears to be a bit more productive. Recently he spent some time with his colleagues discussing his concern about writing sex scenes :

Turned to Rabbit Redux when I had to write about sex today. I’m so used to shying away from the subject, so I wanted a reminder that you can get away with almost anything if there’s a reason. Miranda July’s work, especially “Something That Needs Nothing,” was what really got me thinking about sex in writing. I’ve been wondering: How far can you take it? Is it like The Penis Game from adolescence? (One person whispers “penis,” and then the other says it louder. “Penis.” “Penis.” “Penis.” Louder and louder until one of them is brave enough to have everyone in the library staring at the guy shouting “PENIS!”) Yeah. Is it like that? You just test your guts? See at what point you wimp out?

I asked some writers at dinner today about it. Is there such a thing as writing about sex too much? One joked that he never stops writing about sex. Another said that it’s only too much if you’re doing it to avoid talking about intimacy. I think that’s spot on. In writing as in life.

This feels like it could dangerously devolve into overshare—if you’re chatting about your novel, on a blog or otherwise, it’s time away from writing it—but he’s just finished a draft of chapter one. (via GW English News)