Thin blue highway hugging the soft edge of night,
along this strange western town burning
with apricot light
like a necklace laid across a swell
of grass, over some vast New Mexican plain,
it fills me with a yearning
I’ve never quite been able to quell,
“Rat-eyed” Virginia Woolf described Somerset Maugham as.
“No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word,” said Eudora Welty of William Faulkner.
“Curiously dull, furiously commonplace, and often meaningless,” Alfred Kazin said of William Faulkner.
“Hemingway never climbed out on a limb and never used…
This is a short video I once made of my transcribing an obscure but beautiful passage written by an almost forgotten poet named Arthur Symons (1865–1945), in his poem “Rain On The Down.”
Rain On The Down
Night, and the down by the sea,
And the veil of rain on…
The word theme comes from the Ancient Greek word théma, which means “proposition or thesis,” and this definition essentially holds true to this very day: theme is thesis; theme is meaning.
In literature, theme is the meaning to which the lines of a poem or the events of a story…
The art of characterization is the art of presenting the people who populate your story.
If plot is the bones upon which the meat of your story hangs, then surely characters are the heart and soul.
“A writer creates a character as a way to reveal and emphasize consciousness —…
Plot is not memoir.
Plot is not diary.
Plot is not journal.
Plot is not history.
Plot is not dialogue.
Plot is not essay.
Plot is not philosophy.
Plot is not sex.
Plot is not chronicle.
Plot is not action alone.
Plot is something deeper and more difficult to get…
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) — nom-de-guerre Nancy Boyd — American poetess and playwright, who at thirty-years-young won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (then only the third woman ever to do so), was, at age nineteen, catapulted into worldwide fame after her mother Cora encouraged her to enter a poem…
The difference between popular fiction and literary fiction is subtle yet unmistakable.
The criteria is graded — think of it as running along a kind of continuum or spectrum — so that a book or movie can have elements of both literary fiction and also elements of commercial-genre fiction at…
“Life is an unceasing sequence of single actions,” wrote Ludwig von Mises, “but the single action is by no means isolated.”
So, in many ways, is plot.
But, unlike life, plot is selective — which means among other things that the author is the selector: the author chooses the actions…
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue…