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Archive for April 16th, 2010

keep the interesting in business: helen dewitt

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I’m not sure that all of my US readers (sounds like the UK ones maybe can’t) shouldn’t try to help Helen DeWitt out if they can. The Last Samurai is a very interesting novel; Helen is a very interesting novelist. The world needs more interesting, especially the literary part of the world. And she’s mentioned in a now-deleted post involving Neurathian isotype in her next book – which all AWP readers should understand and support.

(Just to be clear – the better end result from any interest this may spark in you is not to buy a used copy of her novel from Amazon, which will do you but not Helen any good. Unless I’m wrong, a new copy from Amazon would maybe do the trick… But better yet, follow her instructions…. You can pretend you’re paying me for my years of hard toil keeping all of you entertained and educated and such… We’re talking about somewhere in the environs of $15, so come on for chrissake!)

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April 16, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Posted in dewitt, marketing

why i’m not posting

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Paradox of blogging. When I justify – generally to myself but sometimes to others – the fact that I write this blog, generally my argument takes this shape: that the blog is helpful because it takes inchoate ideas, random reflections garnered in reading this or that, and forces me to follow through to a claim about them. In other words, the temptation to make a post of a thought moves distracted thinking through to un-distracted concentration. Time and again, I’ve found an argumentative line where there was nothing more than a passing fancy.

But here’s the paradox. I’m garnering a little more writing work lately, which of course makes more writing work easier to garner, as you can parade around your CV bonafides like a journalism membership card. But what happens when this happens is a sort of doubling-over of, or doubling-down on, the logic described above. Random thought turns into incipient blogpost, but then incipient blogpost becomes potential article for pay and in print.

This happened today, early this morning. I was working on a long post based on this article, when I realized that the thing I was doing had the reasonable potential to be a properly publishable piece. And so I stopped short, post nearly done, and wrote instead an pitch for the world-leading art magazine (as my department’s impact statement has it – and they’re not wrong!) that I sometimes write for. We’ll see what happens – I’d be thrilled to write this up for them. But it does fuck the blog a bit. Increasingly, when I think I’m onto something good, I keep it off of here. For instance, there’s this great idea I have for a piece about DFW, totally blogable, but…. It’ll never see the html.

My plan is to drop the pseudonymity at least by January 2011, right after my probation hearing – in which case, generally speaking, I’ll be able to link to published work and then all will be good and I won’t feel guilty about selling out my readers and being in general a bad blogger of the old and pure school. (There are funny stories to tell about the pseudonymity too – like the one about how I’d do my department good, again on the “impact” side of the REF, if I’d cop to having a blog… But… It’s a bit more complicated than that, isn’t it?)

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April 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm