2 Things I Learned About History’s Role in Writing from Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

All right, because I’m a nerd like that, I insisted on reading Lovecraft Country before watching the show. I’m only a couple episodes in – so no spoilers! Here are a couple things I learned reading the novel: Acknowledge Your Literary Tradition…and Critique It. Art is not made in a vacuum. Every piece of writing … Continue reading 2 Things I Learned About History’s Role in Writing from Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Writing in Bed

The story is that Edith Wharton wrote in bed. Whenever she would finish handwriting a page, she would drop it on the floor. Later, her secretary would gather up the sheets of story and type them. One must have a method. Despite the -- dare I say it? -- privilege inherent in the image of … Continue reading Writing in Bed

A Castle of One’s Own

Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf, despite having friends in common and despite both being talented and respected female writers working at the turn of the 20th century, apparently did not admire each other's work. Woolf's new-fangled modern stylings (stream-of-conscious, no distinct plot-line) didn't resonate with Wharton. And Wharton's style (structured storylines) was representative of writing … Continue reading A Castle of One’s Own

Edith Wharton on Writing a War Story…or a Love Story…or a Comedic Story…or a Story Story

In September 1919, Woman's Home Companion published a lovely little nugget of story by Edith Wharton. "Writing a War Story" is the tale of Ivy Spang, a poetess-turned-short-story-writer. Working as a nurse in France during WWI, Miss Spang is commissioned by an editor at the magazine "The Man-at-Arms." He tells her that he wishes her to … Continue reading Edith Wharton on Writing a War Story…or a Love Story…or a Comedic Story…or a Story Story

The Ghost in the Machine

Mary Shelley's "On Ghosts" is an interesting little article/essay. It's more of a meditation on: With all the scientific advancements, with all the mysteries being explained, do we truly not believe in ghosts anymore? She begins by pointing out that myths and legends are just that: myths and legends, stories once told by unenlightened cavemen. … Continue reading The Ghost in the Machine

White Paper – Wilt Thou Be My Confident?: Grief and Creation

On July 8, 1822, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley died in a boating accident. Months later, Mary Shelley wrote the following in her journal: If you ever get the chance to read the whole entry, it will break your heart. (If you're not a cold-hearted bastard, that is.) She continues to explain how the only comfort … Continue reading White Paper – Wilt Thou Be My Confident?: Grief and Creation

Dream Sequence

Of all the books in all the world that have been inspired by dreams, Frankenstein remains the most famous. (Though Twilight did what it could to oust that.) In the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Shelley goes into detail about the inspiration behind the novel: her nightmare.  "When I placed my head on my pillow I … Continue reading Dream Sequence

Write Expecting to be Read: Mary Shelley’s Journals

When I was younger - maybe eleven or twelve - my mother told me never to write down anything I didn't want someone else to read. If I kept a diary or a journal, I needed to make sure I meant what I said. And I should never write down anything I would not say … Continue reading Write Expecting to be Read: Mary Shelley’s Journals

Sleeping With Your Father

Throughout January and February, I'm going to be utilizing Mary Shelley as my writing mentor. You may have heard of her. Quick Bio: Mary Shelley is most famous as the creator of Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus -- a novel which has undergone endless printings and, since the invention of the movie, several films. You probably know the … Continue reading Sleeping With Your Father

Kerouac’s Genius/Interpreter Theory vs. Jenny’s Genius/Genius Theory

We're going to finish up our exploration of Kerouac with a couple of differing opinions on the form "genius" takes. “Let’s examine the word ‘genius.’ It doesn’t mean screwiness or eccentricity or excessive ‘talent.’ It is derived from the Latin word gignere (to beget) and a genius is simply a person who originates something never … Continue reading Kerouac’s Genius/Interpreter Theory vs. Jenny’s Genius/Genius Theory