The Cost of Pursuing Art

Joan Didion, 1972. (c) Jill Krementz
Joan Didion, 1972. (c) Jill Krementz

From Laura Bogart via Dame:

The best thing that ever happened to my writing life was breaking my ankle. Painful, yes, but it bought me seven weeks of forced bed rest—kind of like a paid writer’s retreat, except for the part where I had to figure out how to get myself to the bathroom.

I’ve written in the margins of life since I was a college student selling cardigans at Lord & Taylor; a graduate student tutoring kindergarteners on the alphabet and prepping high-school seniors for their SATs; an adjunct with a five-class courseload across two campuses; and a late-twentysomething/early-thirtysomething “in marketing and editorial.” Lunch breaks bled into long nights, and long nights bled into weekends. All the while I was chafed raw: I had to eke out my passion in the hours between helping other people achieve their dreams—or at least get what they wanted.

This prolonged, uninterrupted time out of the office was the silver lining of a catastrophic injury.

There’s more…

One of the Best Things to Happen to My Writing

this last year, has been belonging to an online writers group. There’s 7 of us. We each post about 150 words of our work on our designated day of the week. I post on Saturdays. This is what I posted today:

We got drunk on Havana Club, this fancy rum they have over there available only for tourists and those high in the government. We came home singing, drunk as skunks. I went to sleep in the clothes that I was wearing. My dad stayed with my grandmother. I had never seen him happier–except maybe the time after I graduated from Pratt. The next morning we drove west, from Havana to Pinar del Rio. That’s where we’re from. The strangest thing about this, is that when I saw the truck coming towards us, I didn’t have time to be afraid. I’m sure it was the same for my father. I was fooling around with my camera, and I remember my uncle, who was driving, saying: “look at this guy,” we looked up at the truck, he was trying to pass someone and he couldn’t get back into his lane. This main road in Cuba, the Carretera Central, was only two lanes, one going each way. I heard they gave the driver a ten year sentence. What a useless, stupid thing to do. Like the poor guy wasn’t already in jail, after what he did. He probably never felt free, after what happened. Me neither. . .I haven’t felt free since. . .

This Is “Your Brain On Fiction”

A great article on the effects the (fictional) written word has on the area between our ears, by Annie Murphy Paul:

AMID the squawks and pings of our digital devices, the old-fashioned virtues of reading novels can seem faded, even futile. But new support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.

Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.

More HERE. . .

How To Copyright Your Work

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One of the things to do after you finish your opus. The other thing to do is to begin Opus #2. From The Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office:

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States
(title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including
literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This
protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106
of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive
right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
• reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords.
• prepare derivative works based upon the work.
• distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other
transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.
• perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and
choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual
works.
• display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
• perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission.”

There’s more info here.

Another Self-Publishing Success Story

From the Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, a story that makes people like me salivate:

I spent years shopping my novel to publishers and agents; after reaching the end of my patience I dumped the book into the Kindle Bookstore expecting only my mother to buy it.

I did no marketing. Somehow (I’m still not quite sure how) the word spread.

There’s more. . .