‘The Muse Only Shows Up When You Put Your Ass in the Chair’

So utterly true!

Longreads

In my twenties I realized that the muse is a bum. The muse only shows up when you bait her by putting your ass in the chair. She can only be lured to your side by the sound of pounding keys, the smell of paper and ink. At some point (I imagine it was when the telephone company cut off our service) I realized it was time for me to start taking my life and my writing seriously. People who are serious about their work show up to work, day or night. So I started setting myself little goals and deadlines. That helped. When I had a project I was excited about, I was manic. I worked mornings, afternoons, nights—whenever I could steal the time. I became infatuated with my writing, obsessed, in love. Perfection was writing all day in bed until I was spent. When it was going exceptionally…

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One might eat the bones as well as the flesh

Biblioklept

The Fourteenth Remove

Now must we pack up and be gone from this thicket, bending our course toward the Baytowns; I having nothing to eat by the way this day, but a few crumbs of cake, that an Indian gave my girl the same day we were taken. She gave it me, and I put it in my pocket; there it lay, till it was so moldy (for want of good baking) that one could not tell what it was made of; it fell all to crumbs, and grew so dry and hard, that it was like little flints; and this refreshed me many times, when I was ready to faint. It was in my thoughts when I put it into my mouth, that if ever I returned, I would tell the world what a blessing the Lord gave to such mean food. As we went along they killed a…

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Riff on Aronofsky’s Noah

Biblioklept

1. Noah continues director Darren Aronofsky’s streak of making films that I will never watch more than once.

2. (The film is new on DVD &c.; I dutifully missed in the theater).

3. (Although I did see Aronofsky’s first feature Pi in the theater—at my university’s student union. I liked the claustrophobic paranoia of Pi, but the film was also silly, histrionic even, and I did not understand the film’s handling of metaphysics—mostly because the film does not understand its own metaphysical vision).

4. (Noah, for its part, does understand its own metaphysical vision).

5. Aronofsky’s Noah takes place in a post-apocalyptic landscape: Cities are failing, the world is barren, dry, the ground seems to be comprised of basalt and ash. The people in his Prediluvian world use a mishmash of technologies, some of which seem fairly advanced (strip-mining, metallurgy, advanced textiles, etc.)—but these technologies also seem stymied, stuck, abortive last…

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I Submitted a Piece of Fiction to The New Yorker, And What Happened Next Will Change Your View on Publishing Forever

Juggling Writer

It’s been almost five years since I sent a piece of fiction to The New Yorker. It was one of the best things I ever wrote. The real first-class type of writing that makes people rich and famous and all that shit.

They didn’t respond.

I queried after two years.

They didn’t respond.

The piece was accepted elsewhere. Although I knew the publication wouldn’t bring me the same fame without The New Yorker seal of approval, I went ahead and agreed to their terms. No payment. Hell, they didn’t even allow me to include a bio with the story. I’d link it for you, but the publication closed up shop a few years back.

I knew it was a bit jerky of me, but I never withdrew the piece from The New Yorker.

Any day now, The New Yorker will send their acceptance letter. This is how I…

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