links for 2010-05-02

02 May
  • Her less-than-refined writerly day began with finding her notebook, which surely she'd left right there. Then, having found a notebook (not the one she'd used yesterday), and staring in stunned amazement at the illegible chicken scratchings therein, she would finally settle down to jab at elusive characters and oil creaky plots. Most astonishing, Curran discovers that for all her assured skewering of human character in a finished novel, sometimes when Christie started her books, even she didn't know who the murderer was. Ah! It makes sense—a brilliant mystery writer must first experience the mystery! Or does it?
  • Previously, reading was an act of solitude by design, with most residue of the process locked in a book's physicality. This is no longer true.
    I'm excited about digital books for a number of reasons. Their proclivity towards multimedia is not one of them. I’m excited about digital books for their meta potential. The illumination of, in the words of Richard Nash, that commonality between two people who have read the same book.[16]
    We need to step back for a moment and stop acting purely on style. There is no style store.[17] Retire those half-realized metaphors while they're still young.
    Instead, let’s focus on the fundamentals. Improve e-reader typography and page balance. Integrate well considered networked (social) features. Respect the rights of the reader and then — only then — will we be in a position to further explore our new canvas.
  • First, most teams don’t work. They don’t trust each other. They are not led in a way that creates a culture where people feel trust…I’d say, based on my experiences at many organizations, only one of every three teams, in all of the universe, has a culture of trust. Without trust, there is no collaboration. Without trust, ideas do not go anywhere even if someone finds the courage to mention them at all.
    Second, most managers/leaders are risk averse…
    But without the ability to take risks, innovation and progress can not happen. Even if you have a good idea, to bring it into the world is risky…
    Without teams of trust and good leaders who take risks innovation rarely happens…
    Next, we need to get past our obsession with epiphany. You won’t find any flash of insight in history that wasn’t followed, or proceeded, by years of hard work. Ideas are easy. They are cheap.
  • I’ve always found it disconcerting that even when India saves so much, why are we so far behind?
    The limiting of domestic investment is evident.,,
    Plus, we have tax arbitrage. Invest in the stock market, zero tax. Invest in housing, you get tax rebates. These propel bubbles and more importantly, move capital away from avenues they would have otherwise gone into – like entrepreneurial ventures, or small business funding, or local/semi-urban development. These areas have lagged behind; and even today, have less prominence…
    Regulation restricts things further…
    Lastly, the lack of financial transparency rings home. Banks needn’t disclose much. Public companies don’t have to disclose their balance sheets and cash flow once a quarter – once a year is the limit. By the time you get the news it’s already six months old.
  • to the parents in these towns: There are people out there who are deciding what your kids can read, and they don't care what you think because they are positive their ideas of what's proper and what's not are better, clearer than your own. Do you believe they are? Think carefully before you decide to accord the book-banners this right of cancellation, and remember that they don't believe in democracy but rather in a kind of intellectual autocracy. If they are left to their own devices, a great deal of good literature may soon disappear from the shelves of school libraries simply because good books — books that make us think and feel — always generate controversy.
    If you are not careful and diligent about defending the right of your children to read, there won't be much left, especially at the junior-high level where kids really begin to develop a lively life of the mind…
  • Readers today don't need more information about books. They're wading in information, wallowing in it, drowning in it. Information is as cheap as a click away…
    I guarantee you, reviewers, you will not drive people to anything (except, perhaps, suicide) by relying on crutch-clichés or hoity litspeak to act as substitutes for undisguised thought. You will only succeed in pushing readers farther away…
    They want authenticity. They want honesty. They want to identify and relate to YOU, not to be impressed by your fluency with words like "limn" or "luminous," or "magisterial."…
    They want to see, to know, to connect with YOU. To know why, on an intellectual AND personal level you liked or hated what you read. It's very, very difficult to do this unless you are willing to be completely transparent and to take chances that old-timers weren't forced to take.
    Expose yourself. Spill some blood. Say something worth saying. And something worth reading.
  • Yes, hell hath no fury like one author gleefully savaging another author's work.
    And, lucky for us, there's plenty to be had where that came from.
    Cast your eye on these, the 50 most memorable author vs. author put-downs (in no particular order; though if you've got a favorite, by all means, comment on it, below).
  • It’s easy to say “oh, it’s not the right time” as if there could ever be a perfect time. No one is ever going to drop down from the sky and say “Quit now! It’s time! The universe has your back”, yet people seem to expect it will feel like this. It will always feel scary, weird and uncomfortable because it is new. And after the stability of a proper career, something you likely worked hard to get, it goes against the grain of our cultural attitudes to abandon that for something unknown…
    Recessions or depressions are macro trends – it’s in the large. There are always countervailing micro trends and that’s all you need to find.
  • A literary agent is a broker of dreams in a world in which most dreams don’t come true. It’s this aspect of David—his finesse at handling aspirations and setbacks—that is his greatest skill, and the gift (we) most wanted him to share with our daughters.
    David would teach them how to dream…
    What’s the most important gift you can give to a dreamer?
    “The belief in their ability to succeed…Because when you believe in them, you give them the strength to believe in themselves.”
    “But at that moment when I first walked into your office,” I said. “I didn’t believe. I’d been working my dream for a decade, and I wasn’t making it. I was at a wall.”
    “I don’t see the wall,” he said. “And I’m telling you to be the same way. ‘Don’t see the wall.’ Of course you may encounter a wall from time to time, but you tear it down, walk through it. You find a way to get over it, or around it, or under it. You acknowledge it but move beyond it. Whatever you do, don’t succumb to it. Don’t give in to the wall.”
  • Voices can be silenced, but the human voice cannot. Our languages are what make us fully human…Each language is unique: To lose one is to lose a range of feeling and a way of looking at life that, like a living species that becomes extinct, can never be replaced. Human narrative skills are found in every language, and are very old: We all have them. We writers merely use them in what we fondly believe are more complex ways. But whether written down or not, stories move—from hand to paper to eye to mouth, from mouth to ear.
    And stories move us. This is their power. Written stories are frozen voices that come to life when we read them. No other art form involves us in the same way—allows us to be with another human being…from within the mind itself. Such experience—such knowledge from within—makes us feel that we are not alone in our flawed humanity.
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Posted by on May 2, 2010 in Uncategorized


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