Writerly Ephemera

It’s been a wild week over here. At work, a pestilence is sweeping the kids and teachers alike, and I’ve been fighting what feels like a losing battle using vitamins, blueberries, green tea and some quick naps between my getting home and starting in on my writing. My trip down to Red Hen Press is coming up very quickly (more on what I’ll be doing at the press coming soon), and we’re getting ready to open submissions for The Los Angeles Review’s Issue 9 (9! Can you believe it?) in two weeks. Sound fragmented? Well, yes.

And just as scattered as my life’s been, so are the cool things I’ve been, over the last several days, gathering to share in this blog. I thought about hoarding these fun bits of writerly ephemera to dole out over the next few blog posts, but I decided that was quite stingy indeed. So, ladies and gents, in ascending order of coolness, I present to you:

1. I Write Like

I’m not sure what kinds of algorithms this site uses to determine which notable writer one sounds like, but it has declared my new novel sounds like a Chuck Palahniuk creation. (Maybe if Chuck Palahniuk wrote a ya novel in verse?) Okay, to be fair, Margaret Atwood says on her Twitter stream that she was declared a James Joyce sound-alike on the website, so I presume the list of writers against whom one’s work is referenced is pretty slim. But still, the gadget’s a good deal of fun to play with.

2. If your’e sick of the 20 under 40 and responses to it, skip down to item 3! But for the rest of us, Dzanc Books has made an intelligent, possibly more fair list of writers to watch after having polled editors, agents, publishers and reviewers in the small press world.

I still may not agree with the entire list, but isn’t it refreshing to hear “At no point do we imagine that the twenty writers who have made our list are the exclusive voice of literary fiction” ?

3. Faulkner at Virginia

Those of us who weren’t lucky enough to catch a lecture by Faulkner during his life (that would be most of us!) have a reason to smile. While Faulkner was a writer-in-residence at Virginia, a number of his lectures and Q&A sessions were recorded. Today, any of us with Quicktime can hear what Faulkner had to say about fiction, Southern literature, and–yes–even poetry. My favorite clip so far is one in which an unidentified questioner asks “Is there any particular poetry that you think came closest to saying the truth in a few words?” and Faulkner answers, “Almost all of it.” A delicious answer…

2 Replies to “Writerly Ephemera”

  1. I think you’re right. The IWL database must be small. I plopped in 900 words from my novel and behold! I write like James Joyce too! Look out Margaret Atwood. Still, it’s good fun. I’m going to have it analyze writing from my local writers group. The results ought to make our next meeting a riot.

  2. Look out, indeed! Yes, I agree it’s still fun. And I will admit I had the quick though of “gee, can we use this in pitching the book?”

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