Maxine Hong Kingston: Physical Writing Process

"Instead of a woman warrior with a sword, I could create one with a pen who would be just as dramatic." - Maxine Hong Kingston From Drawings to Words Across a Multitude of Drafts Maxine Hong Kingston is such an accomplished writer that she has been awarded by two presidents. She's best known for her book The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, but I tend to associate her with the novel Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book. While we might not classify her as part of

They’re Only Pretending to Use Urinals: Comic Literary Fiction

Witold Gombrowicz: Trans-Atlantyk Witold Gombrowicz’s novels are chock full of absurdity, so perhaps it’s natural that we find some hilarious moments thrown in. His writing styles are highly original, and his own personal philosophical concepts underlie the characters and events in his fiction, providing a lot of depth to what may appear to be silly, farcical stories on the surface. Any look one takes at Gombrowicz invariably focuses on his unique biography, but in Gombrowicz

Octavia Butler: Physical Writing Process

Inspiring Oneself Octavia Butler's groundbreaking writing continues to captivate readers as they rethink humanity and society through the lens of her work. She paved the way for those who would follow in her path, being the first science fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant, the first woman to receive both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and the first African American woman to rise to prominence as a science fiction author. In 2008, the Huntington Library in Sa

Dalton Trumbo: Physical Writing Process

Writing in the Bathtub & the Duality of Screenwriter-Novelist Dalton Trumbo liked to write while he was in the bathtub. I wouldn’t say that he wrote while he was taking a bath because it was less about the bath and more about the idea that being there in the water was a comfortable place for him to sit and write all night. And at first I was thinking, maybe that’s not so odd—but the water mixing in with his papers and ink—and apparently he would have his typewriter in there w

There Are No Cups in Kafka’s Amerika

“Sword? One supposes a mistake, since Kafka never saw the monument. Yet it grows increasingly clear that Karl has landed in a nightmarish new world where everything is slightly off-kilter, skewed and disorienting. A bridge over the Hudson connects New York to Boston.” (Quote-Michael Dirda, WP | Image-Vanished Empires) Comic Moments in Literary Fiction #1 There’s plenty of reasons to laugh, so this series will explore the hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments found in serious,

Jack Kerouac's Original On the Road Scroll

The American Writers' Museum's First Exhibit Features the legendary scroll manuscript of Kerouac's classic American novel. I first read On the Road by Jack Kerouac in 2008. Then I started to get even more into Kerouac's writing, reading many of his other novels starting in 2009. But at that time, I learned I had just missed the chance to see with my own two eyes the actual, original, legendary, scroll manuscript of On the Road. Starting in 2007 and ending in early 2008, the s

Gogol’s Impossibilities of Imagination

Some reflections on magical realism via Nikolai Gogol It would be easy to brush aside the absurd impossibilities of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose”as merely a dream or illusion, but the story’s narrator—who sometimes butts his own nose into the story to tell the reader exactly what is going on—will have none of this. As the narrator concludes, “Say what you may, but such events do happen—rarely, but they do.” Kovalyov, our poor noseless protagonist, also questions that these event

Donna Tartt: Physical Writing Process

Literary Talismans Literature as we tend to conceive of it exists in the realm of the mind, represented by little markings that are easily reproduced (the written word) and endlessly spread, whether on paper or electronically. But my goal in this series was always to explore the physical roots, the paper on which the words were originally carved. I'm also exploring what an English professor of mine once called "literary talismans" - tangible objects left behind by creatives.

Salman Rushdie and Timothy Garton Ash

Dialogue on Freedom of Expression at PEN World Voices Festival Salmon Rushdie sat down with his friend and colleague Timothy Garton Ash for a conversation about the importance of freedom of expression during his last year as chairman of the PEN World Voices Festival, which he founded back in 2005. "If we all had a right not to be offended by anything that offended us, nobody could say anything,” Rushdie said. “I don't like the novels of Dan Brown, but I think he should live."

#TwitterFiction & the Art of Microfiction

I decided to write a quick blog entry after reading an article in The Millions by Elizabeth Minkel entitled, "Can #TwitterFiction Transcend Gimmickry and Become Art?" which has the obvious implication that current fiction on Twitter has not, and maybe cannot, become worthy of the title, "art."  As I read her article, I learned of the Twitter Fiction Festival that is currently going on now through this Sunday, March 16th. I thought she was covering the gist of Twitter fiction

The Author's Character

How much does the character of the author affect the work? Death and a Dictionary I recently read Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. The subtitle captivated my attention when I saw it on the clearance shelf and captures the essence of the book. It takes something that sounds quite boring and tedious (making a dictionary), combines it with crime thriller terms (you immediately think, “Wh

A Look @DB10’s Conceptual Fiction Folio w/ “Stranded” by Marcos Mataratas

This blog may not have been updated recently, but I wrote a post for Drunken Boat's blog the other day, which I thought I'd share here. I'll be writing another one next month, all leading up to when the 15th issue of Drunken Boat is released. UPDATE - March 31st, 2012: I just wanted to add the link to my most recent article up on Drunken Boat's blog: Joseph Pascale on DB9’s “The Bull’s Eye” by Inderjeet Mani. You can access the story "The Bull's Eye" in Issue 9 of Drunken Boa

George R. R. Martin Book Signing in NYC

George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, made an appearance at the Barnes & Noble in New York City's Union Square on July 14th to support the release of his latest novel, A Dance With Dragons, which has already had the highest opening day sales of any book released this year. Below is a 50 minute video of the spoiler-free talk/Q&A he gave to a packed crowd before the signing began. Under the video I have included my highlights with timestamps of when

Joyce & Borges: Physical Writing Process

The Physical Writing Process: James Joyce & Jorge Luis Borges - Writing With Eye Trouble I have the impression that the most iconic images of James Joyce are those in which he's wearing an eye-patch, and the reason he’s wearing it is because he suffered from eye problems his entire life (iritis, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, episcleritis, synechia, and cataracts), which became worse as he got older. During the time he was living in Zurich he had to undergo several operations on h

Jonathan Franzen: Physical Writing Process

Destroy the Internet In a recent post I wrote, “I tend to type my novels directly into GoogleDocs so that they are constantly backed up on Google’s servers” and I realized that my writing process being so entwined with the internet is the exact opposite of Jonathan Franzen’s, who wrote (in his top ten rules for writing), “It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” The Time Magazine article “Jonathan Franzen: Great American

William Gibson: Physical Writing Process

The Cyberpunk Future was Written on Hemingway’s Typewriter In my abandoned, unfinished novel RPGs Aren’t Censored, a character says, “The cyberpunk future was created on Hemingway’s typewriter,” which is a direct allusion to William Gibson. Speaking of Neuromancer and the other books in his Sprawl trilogy in an interview with Playboy, he said, “The typewriter that I actually wrote that stuff on was a Hermes 2000, which is like a very Ernest Hemingway sort of war-correspondent

Jack Kerouac: Physical Writing Process

Whenever I encounter tales of the way writers physically sit down to write one of their books, I’m always fascinated. I like to imagine what the setting might have been like and what sort of instrument they actually used to get the ideas and images out of the mind and onto the page. I know that it probably has little bearing on the finished product of their writing, but I still find it fun to imagine what it might have been like when these works of art were created. I picture

Creative Overgrowth

in a Windowsill Garden I am honored to have my work included in On A Narrow Windowsill: Fiction & Poetry Folded Onto Twitter alongside 42 other wonderful writers. Folded Word Press has crafted a print version that is a sleek volume presenting the once Twitter-exclusive stories in a way that brings them alive. Appropriately enough, it is also available for ebook readers such as the Nook. According to Folded Word Press: “Written on four continents and read on six, the works in

Love of Literature

and Hatred of Fellow Man: Ezra Pound's Pisan Cantos I love the poetry of Ezra Pound, but it is unfortunate that he cast the tainted shadow of anti-Semitism over his work, and this is something that his readers must struggle with. This is especially true in The Cantos, and The Pisan Cantos in particular, which still manages to be one of my favorite pieces by him. It seems to me that he was trying to unveil a usurious global banking conspiracy - something we can certainly relat


Oxford World's Classics Recently, I've been working on my novel The Bookstore Hobos, and I've amused myself by adding a minor, yet impossible, detail. There's a scene when two of the characters are perusing the James Joyce section. One of them, having previously noticed one of the B&N's giant posters for Ulysses on the wall near the bathroom - "The Modern Library's #1 Novel of the Twentieth Century" - takes a copy of the novel from the shelf. As he turns the thick paperback b