Archive for March, 2012

March 31, 2012

Come hear me rock my own songs on April 2.

Hi Cambridge-Area Folks,

I’m not just a novelist nerd, you know. I do write songs, too.
Come hear me rock on April 2. After that my next gig is in 2027,
when all rocking will be done in wheelchairs. Natali Freed and
Rick Drost will be performing that night, too.

Here’s the FB invite & the flier:
http://www.facebook.com/events/369655889722664/
David Krancher, songwriter
On April 2, Monday, 6:15 p.m.
All Asia Bar, Central square,
334 Mass Ave. Cambridge, MA
617-497-1544

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March 28, 2012

“You can observe a lot by watching”—Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

I sit in my window in springtime
writing a story about life and death
in World War II. Just past the view
of my notebook is a dogwood tree.
Half its buds are purple, half the blossoms
are pink, half the blossoms are lavender.
There is only one day in a year
the tree shows such color.
Fifteen people walk past it
talking on phones, gazing at feet,
texting friends in far states of mind.
One woman crosses the street to it
and looks around as if surprised
that no one sees a burning bush.
She aims her eyes and camera.
Another in a lavender top
stops and looks into it as if
it’s a mirror:
it is one
and she is one.

March 26, 2012

What Will YouCave Do with All My Non-Information?

Snotting black

Do you struggle with finding enough alone time? Do you secretly resent your friends for all those hours you wasted hanging out with them playing Settlers of Catan?

Have you ever fled to a beach resort, excited for uninterrupted internet usage in the lobby? Were you then dismayed to find your friends’ intrusion continued through the devilish devices of social media? Are you frustrated with how your computer has been transformed from a haven of solitude into a communal nightmare, where even your self-diagnosis for back pain at WebMD can be shared?

Your FaceFriends have the potential to know everything you’re doing online, and soon full disclosure will become mandatory, forced upon us by advertisers and facebook overlords. We will be too busy sharing our favorite brand of toothpaste to realize our white shirts have turned to yellow from body oil because we have sat in our own filth for…

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March 24, 2012

March 15, 2012

“Essays from the Edge” Meets “Big Sur” Without a Hangover

There’s a fine review by Patricia Hampl of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Essays from the Edge” in the American Scholar. While the excessive use of alcohol is often associated with an impulse to run away from feelings and, thus, an impulse towards cowardice, it is clear that it took great courage to expose his disease by writing these essays. While he did write fiction, it is clear from the writing that he had first-hand knowledge and that these are autobiographical events.

A generation later, Jack Kerouac came up with a novel called “Big Sur” which is a masterpiece of a chronicle of his own “crack up” with alcohol. I imagine he had read those essays of Fitzgerald’s. It’s amazing to me that great writing does not always require a sound mind. Perhaps writing is more than an intellectual exercise—ya think? The Crack-Up was published in 1945 and by then Fitzgerald was known as a great American writer. “Big Sur” was published in 1962 and by then Kerouac, too, was considered one.

Here’s a quote from Patricia Hampl’s piece:
“John Dos Passos was particularly exercised. “Christ, man,” he wrote to Fitzgerald in October 1936. “How do you find time in the middle of the general conflagration to worry about all that stuff?” The “general conflagration,” presumably, was the Great Depression, but also National Socialism and fascism in Germany and Italy, and the Spanish Civil War, which had ignited in July. “We’re living in one of the damnedest tragic moments in history,” Dos Passos steams on. “If you want to go to pieces I think it’s absolutely OK but I think you ought to write a first-rate novel about it (and you probably will) instead of spilling it in little pieces for Arnold Gingrich,” the editor of Esquire, who had commissioned the essays.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Essays From the Edge:

March 9, 2012

What Did Freddie, the Beagle, Steal?

What Freddie Stole

Dad’s beagle tugs a bone from
under my boot and sprints
around me. I cut him off against
the fence. He drops it and barks.
He slurps it up again and runs
behind the rose bush. I sit down.
He peeks out. Chase me, he says.
I let the walnut tree rub my back.
He lays the bone beside his paws.
Orange from the sun sets in his eyes.
His tongue wags like a tail.
A flight of geese honk over Norm’s farm
and I hear their calls echo off the hill.
Don’t you know he’s never coming back,
that he’ll never rattle your water bowl again?

I’m not going back in there—
that living room is too full of polite.
I didn’t announce it was Dad in the canister
although he would have liked the audience.
He would tell his bullfrog jokes again.
He can learn to listen now.

When Steve held the canister up
they squared their shoulders to him
one last time. I could see in their eyes
what they didn’t want to know.
I let Freddy back inside.
They didn’t wait long.

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March 7, 2012

Doerr published her first novel at 74. Never give up.

SONYA CHUNG

7 March 2012

Harriet Doerr, author of the National Book Award winning novel Stones for Ibarra, published that beautiful novel – her first – at the age of 74 (she also went back to college to earn her BA at the age of 65).  She wrote, in a personal essay called “The Tiger in the Grass,” about speaking at a writers’ conference:

I explained my late start as an author after forty-two years of writing “housewife” on my income tax form.  These years without a profession, from 1930 to 1972, were also the years of my marriage.  Hands were raised after my talk, and I answered questions.  The final one was from a woman who assumed, incorrectly, these were decades of frustration.  “And were you happy for those forty-two years?” she asked, and I couldn’t believe the question.  I asked her to repeat it, and she said again…

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March 5, 2012

Is Tardy Son a Young Adult novel? This was asked my by another writer, Kimberly Elkins, after I told her about my novel. I had written most of it already and was on a final rewrite. I never did intend it that way, so I finished it with the same intention, but then took this test she gave me:

Test for “Tardy Son”:

Young adult literature has certain unique features which set it apart. Books for teens are often written in the first person and usually have:
• a teenage protagonist [ YES ]
• adult characters as marginal and barely visible characters [ NO ]
• a brief time span (the story spans a few weeks, yes, a summer, maybe, a year, no) [ YES ]
• a limited number of characters [ NO ]
• a universal and familiar setting [ NO ]
• current teenage language, expressions…

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March 4, 2012

Yoko Ono and Oskar Kokoschka

Yoko Ono has collected the Oskar Kokoschka prize, one of Austria’s most important awards for contemporary art.
Speaking at a press conference, she said: “I think this is very special because Kokoschka is not only an icon of Austria but he is a world icon in the art field.”
“He’s always going to be known and his work is always going to be known because he was always true to himself. And I think truth is something that’s very important now,” she added.

—Oskar Kokoschka had a passionate, often stormy affair with Alma Mahler, shortly after the death of her four-year-old daughter Maria Mahler and her affair with Walter Gropius. After several years together, Alma rejected him, explaining that she was afraid of being too overcome with passion. He continued to love her his entire life, and one of his greatest works, The Bride of the Wind (The Tempest), is a tribute to her.

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