Haven’t posted any lovely eye-candy in what feels like a long while. Enjoy.
This session I tried something new and asked my students to e-mail their favorite fairy tale to the group between classes. The idea was to (a) get them to read more fairy tales and familiarize themselves with the genre, (b) get them talking to each other, if only in e-mail, (c) read some stories outside my habitual group of favorites.
So this week I’m going to post a new student favorite each day. We’ll start with “Thumbelina”:
THERE was once a woman who wished very much to have a little child, but she could not obtain her wish. At last she went to a fairy, and said, “I should so very much like to have a little child; can you tell me where I can find one?”
“Oh, that can be easily managed,” said the fairy. “Here is a barleycorn of a different kind to those which grow in the farmer’s fields, and which the chickens eat; put it into a flower-pot, and see what will happen.”
“Thank you,” said the woman, and she gave the fairy twelve shillings, which was the price of the barleycorn. Then she went home and planted it, and immediately there grew up a large handsome flower, something like a tulip in appearance, but with its leaves tightly closed as if it were still a bud. “It is a beautiful flower,” said the woman, and she kissed the red and golden-colored leaves, and while she did so the flower opened, and she could see that it was a real tulip. Within the flower, upon the green velvet stamens, sat a very delicate and graceful little maiden. She was scarcely half as long as a thumb, and they gave her the name of “Thumbelina,” or Tiny, because she was so small.
This is, apparently, the time in which I post a lot of little clips of successful authors talking about how to write.
I admire Kurt Vonnegut tremendously, and though this slideshow is visually a bit silly, it is verbally quite sound.
Check out the Russian version of “The Little Mermaid,” with magically delicious animation. I’m starting with part 2. If you’d like to watch the entire thing, just follow the link in the bottom right-hand corner of the YouTube embed and you’ll find the index for the rest on the right-hand side of the YouTube page.
For me, I would rather read a good book, from a contented author. I don’t really care what it takes to produce that.
Some writers need a while to charge their batteries, and then write their books very rapidly. Some writers write a page or so every day, rain or shine. Some writers run out of steam, and need to do whatever it is they happen to do until they’re ready to write again. Sometimes writers haven’t quite got the next book in a series ready in their heads, but they have something else all ready instead, so they write the thing that’s ready to go, prompting cries of outrage from people who want to know why the author could possibly write Book X while the fans were waiting for Book Y.
I remember hearing an upset comics editor telling a roomful of other editors about a comics artist who had taken a few weeks off to paint his house. The editor pointed out, repeatedly, that for the money the artist would have been paid for those weeks’ work he could easily have afforded to hire someone to paint his house, and made money too. And I thought, but did not say, “But what if he wanted to paint his house?”
Taken directly from BoingBoing:
The June issue of The Atlantic has an article about a 72-year-long study at Harvard about how different experiences affect the health and happiness of people. Video above, full text of article here.
Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.
The June class is filling up! There are only three spots left, get ‘em while they last.
“We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if we could only arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants our love.”
Ranier Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet[?]
There are distinct differences between traditional fairy tales and fantasy short stories. When I teach my class, I ask my students to stick to the former and eschew the latter. I love fairy tales and I believe passionately in the discipline of writing to the traditional fairy tale form. Plus, in a six-week class, there’s not enough time to stray too far from the curriculum.
However, I love fantasy short stories and novels just as passionately. I love comics, too. Any story form that takes me out of the world I know and into a world of surprise and possibility is a story form that I love.
So it is with tummy-tingling, heart-glowy anticipation that I await the release of this movie:
Dave Eggers wrote the script, and while he may be the most maddeningly over-hyped hipster author in print today, he’s also one talented mother[shutyourmouth]. I can’t wait to see how the movie turns out!