Tag Archives: Writing

Life Advice for Book Lovers: Finding Joy in Retirement ‹ Literary Hub

Book Recommendations for the Troubled Soul

By Dorothea, January 19, 2023

From article…

Dear Dorothea,

I’m sixty. I just took my pension after having worked in the Quebec health system for forty-two years. Yes, I survived COVID. I saw a lot of my old patients die, and I had to work under less than ideal conditions. We were forced to wear masks, scrubs and gloves all day.

Moreover, there was a lack of personnel because many employees got the bug. Therefore, the rest of us had to work like dogs but did not sleep like logs, afraid as we were of falling sick too. It was a time of distress.

So, I should feel joyous not going to work anymore, but not as much as I think I would. I’m telling myself that I will finally be able to finish and polish the sci-fi series of adventure novels I began years ago. However, in the morning I feel a little bit depressed. I have trouble believing that the whole time of each new day (or at last a big part of it) can be spent pursuing my heart’s desires.

It’s like Society is whispering in my utilitarian programmed brain: do something useful, start a garden, cook with your wife, find a part-time job, study theology, etc. How can you believe that what you write will interest anybody?

Should I read positive thinking books, although most of them are written by Republican car salesmen?

Thank you, Morning Hope, Morning Sadness

Source: Life Advice for Book Lovers: Finding Joy in Retirement ‹ Literary Hub

Returning, Again, to Robert M. Pirsig | The New Yorker

All roads lead to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

By Jay Caspian Kang, October 25, 2022

As readers, we believed Robert M. Pirsig could see the Buddha in a well-maintained carburetor. We wanted to see it, too, and we wanted to work as he did.Photograph from Alamy 

Every writer I know has memories they return to in their work over and over again. There is rarely much logic to the choices, nor do such memories tend to align with the sorts of significant events that traditionally make up the time line of one’s life.

My point of fixation, one that’s appeared a few times in my writing, occurred during a solo cross-country road trip I took at the age of nineteen. I was driving to Seattle, where I knew nobody, and was planning to stop for the night in Billings, Montana. It was already late, and I had been keeping myself awake with a non-stop chain of cigarettes and vending-machine coffee I’d dutifully bought at every rest stop along the way. I had a pile of books on tape on the passenger’s seat.

About an hour outside of Billings, I put in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” which, coincidentally, starts out on a road trip to Montana. The first line—“I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning”—had a hypnotic effect on me. I blew through Billings that night, and for the next six hours I listened to Robert M. Pirsig’s barely fictional meditation on fatherhood, Chautauquas, Zen, tools, and the idea that quality—the main conceptual preoccupation of Pirsig’s life—lay in the repetition of right actions.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/returning-again-to-robert-m-pirsig

On Maggie Bradbury, the woman who “changed literature forever.” ‹ Literary Hub

By Emily Temple, August 30, 2022, 9:40am

from article…

Ray Bradbury met his first girlfriend—and his future wife—in a bookstore. But they didn’t lock eyes over the same just-selected novel, or bump into each other in a narrow aisle, sending books and feelings flying.

It was a warm afternoon in April 1946, and 25-year-old Ray Bradbury—an up-and-coming pulp fiction writer—was wearing a trench coat and carrying a briefcase while he scanned the shelves at Fowler Brothers Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles.

Naturally, Marguerite McClure—Maggie—who worked at the bookstore, “was immediately suspicious.” Someone had been stealing books, but hadn’t yet been caught. So she struck up a conversation. “I expected him to slam his briefcase down on a pile of books and make off with a few,” she said. “Instead, he told me he was a writer and invited me to have a cup of coffee with him.”

Coffee became lunch became dinner became romance; Maggie was the first woman Ray had ever dated, but he managed all right, and they were married on September 27, 1947.

Source: https://lithub.com/on-maggie-bradbury-the-woman-who-changed-literature-forever/

Finding Healing at Paris’s Shakespeare and Company ‹ Literary Hub

Natasha Sizlo on Realizing She Needed to Write

By Natasha Sizlo, August 19, 2022

from article

Shakespeare and Company’s green-and-yellow facade and weather-beaten sidewalk book bins telegraphed old-world charm. Inside, thousands of books both new and used lined the shelves that stretched from floor to ceiling. More books were heaped on tables crammed into corners. I’d never seen so many books packed into a space. Tara had told us on the way over that this English-language bookstore, founded in 1951, had long been the center of expat literary life and that many famous writers had visited and even slept there over the years. Looking around the store, an extraordinary tribute to reading and writing as surely as the Musée d’Orsay was to art, I could see why.

I ran my fingers absently over the spines of books, picking up one classic novel and then another. A tattered copy of S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders caught my attention. It looked just like the one I’d been assigned in boarding school long ago. As I leafed through it, the words on the page brought me powerfully back not to the lessons in the classroom but to the countless letters I’d written to my friends in those years. What happens to you as a teenager matters. Sometimes, the intervening decades can feel all but gone.

It’s easy to get kicked out of most boarding schools. All you have to do is break just one of the cardinal rules: no leaving campus without permission, no alcohol, no drugs of any kind, no cheating, no sex, and, above all else, no breaking of the school’s beloved honor code.

Source: https://lithub.com/finding-healing-at-pariss-shakespeare-and-company/

When did Ernest Hemingway live and write in Kansas City? | The Kansas City Star

By Kynala Phillips, July 08, 2022 5:00 AM

Ernest Hemingway

In the late 1990s, reader Sara Prem was living in Lenexa, Kansas when she took a Kansas City history bus tour that passed a home in Mission Hills. Her tour guide pointed out a window in the home and said that American literary icon Ernest Hemingway wrote one of his novels from that bedroom.

“I no longer remember which novel,” Prem said in an email. “I was hoping you could find that out and a little more of the story of how (if it is true) Hemingway came to be writing in a bedroom in Mission Hills, Kansas.

”This week, KCQ dug into a bit of Hemingway’s connections to Kansas City. It is true that he wrote pages of his novel “A Farewell to Arms” while in Kansas City. We don’t know exactly how many of those pages were actually written in that Mission Hills home, according to Steve Paul, author of “Hemingway at Eighteen: The Pivotal Year That Launched an American Legend,” but we know he did spend time there during the summer he was working on the book.

Source: When did Ernest Hemingway live and write in Kansas City? | The Kansas City Star

The everyday miracle of writing | The Economist

Give thanks to the people who resolved to make pictures stand for sounds

By Johnson, columnist, Economist, June 30, 2022

Nick Lowndes
Audio MP3

If you are reading this column, a combination of 26 squiggles on a page or screen is putting the sounds and meaning of this sentence into your head almost without effort on your part, though you have almost certainly never met the writer.

If you are listening to this on The Economist’s audio edition, a reader who has also never met the author has turned a copy of those squiggles into intelligible sound waves for you.

Writing is such an everyday miracle that it is easy to take for granted. People who can read cannot stop themselves, as studies have shown in which subjects are told to ignore a word flashing on the screen while attending to another task, but are unable to do so. Reading is the prime goal of education everywhere. Writing seems so fundamental that it is hard to believe just how recent, and contingent, it really is.

Estimates differ widely on when language was developed, from 50,000 years ago to as many as 1.9m years. On even the most recent hypothesis, humans spent 45,000 years talking before it occurred to a few to make their words into durable visual signs. Writing was then independently invented just four (proven) times, in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and Mesoamerica. Most people lived without it for a few more millennia.

Only in the 1940s did humankind pass a literacy rate of 50%.

Source: The everyday miracle of writing | The Economist