Hello Cruel World
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams
Between ANZAC Day and Mother's Day, as April turns over into May, Sydney feels the breath of winter approaching. There are birthdays and anniversaries important to me in the first week of May, immovably connected with the memory of walking out in the chill of dawn, watching puffs of breath mist out into the air. Daylight saving's ended; dark closes in earlier & earlier; thoughts can turn towards larger themes.
From Bartleby, an excellent & useful site:
Modern Essays, 1921. (Christopher Morley, ed.) 30. Beyond Life by James Branch Cabell:
… romance tricks him, but not to his harm. For, be it remembered that man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams. Romance it is undoubtedly who whispers to every man that life is not a blind and aimless business, not all a hopeless waste and confusion; and that his existence is a pageant (appreciatively observed by divine spectators), and that he is strong and excellent and wise: and to romance he listens, willing and thrice willing to be cheated by the honeyed fiction. The things of which romance assures him are very far from true: yet it is solely by believing himself a creature but little lower than the cherubim that man has by interminable small degrees become, upon the whole, distinctly superior to the chimpanzee …
And it is this will that stirs in us to have the creatures of earth and the affairs of earth, not as they are, but “as they ought to be,” which we call romance …
Sunday, April 12, 2009
An Easter Coincidence
Titanic anniversary. Of so many shipwrecks, that one serves story.
- I believe the earth
in each minim mote
of its dust the holy
glow of thy candle.
unknown I know,
lover of making, of the
iron, deed, dream.
Dust of the earth,
help thou my
gray become gold, in the beam of
vision. I believe with
doubt. I doubt and
interrupt my doubt with belief. Be,
beloved, threatened world.
Not the poisonous
out of its privacy,
The sacred lock of its cell
the ordinary glow
of common dust in ancient sunlight.
Be, that I may believe. Amen.
— Denise Levertov
Saturday, April 11, 2009
QueryFAIL: Responding to some of the discussion
[This is still too long, but I can't get blogger's code to use "expanding posts", so you only see the full entry if you go to its separate page, to work on my blogs.]
From Making Light: On QueryFAIL
nielsenhayden.com/ makinglight/ archives/ 011160.html
A summarised summary by Jim Macdonald, Making Light moderator
Apparently a group of agents designated Thursday, the 5th of March, 2009, as official Queryfail day. Throughout the day they’d Twitter those little 140-character descriptions of the worst queries they read (either that day, or had ever gotten in their careers).My comment (#103) on one aspect of this discussion:"A group of online agents, book editors and periodicals acquisition editors are posting about their queries in real time. The idea is to educate people about what exactly it is in a query that made us stop reading and say “Not for me.” We’re being very careful not to include personal identifiers of any kind. The idea isn’t to mock or be intentionally cruel, but to educate."To what should have been no one’s surprise, authors who found out about it got upset ... Amid stories of authors planning to boycott the agents who took part in the first Queryfail, a second Queryfail is apparently being planned for the end of the month."Last week, literary agents blogged about failed queries on Twitter—generating a query fail feed, an agent fail thread, a GalleyCat post, and an emotional debate."and"after hearing from several writers who were upset by the event, I have removed the specific entries. Instead, I’ll focus on what I learned by following QueryFail.See also: AgentFail, WriterFail.
I apologize to those writers who felt disrespected. My intention in reposting was to share what I thought was good information. I still think it’s good information. But if you know me personally, you know I’m an empathetic soul and I don’t wish to cause another writer distress."
Cat Meadors (#93) "Don't be crazy" isn't at all useful, and seems to be what 99% of the "advice" boils down to. Crazy people won't listen, and non-crazy people don't need to.)
Help with defining or examples of crazy and non-crazy, and how one thing can be seen as both in different circumstances could be very useful, though Miss Snark (misssnark.blogspot.com) could be a better source.
Now I think I'm 98-99% non-crazy; feedback says maybe only 90-95%. So I've had to, with much struggle and still not always successfully, modify my (identifiable) public behaviour, writing and media output to make it more acceptable. I am rather angry and bitter about that, still sensitive on certain points — another bit that needs to be controlled (so I can understand, if not accept, some reactions). Honest feedback, even overhearing you being criticised between two other people, can be useful, if hurtful.
Many times I've heard people being mocked, called crazy, weird or otherwise unacceptable for expressing thoughts or behaving in ways I've found truthful or very understandable. It hurts, but it does show how I need to mask and modify to be acceptable (and perhaps try to argue or express those thoughts in ways the 'mainstream', 'normal' (mundane?) culture can digest); and, sometimes, consider the rightness of my thoughts <g>.
OTOH: Lotsa crude, rude, stupid vapidity (IMO) in lotsa comments (and blogs) in lotsa places. Lotsa baaad writing. Sturgeon's Law? It's wearying to get to the good bits
[Disclaimer: I make no claim to be a good writer, and have little authorial ambition. I do like to read.]
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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.