Rēad, Rĕad, Rad.

Ask me anything!   Work & Etc.   

A book blog run by Austin Wilson.

- Don't be afraid to ask/chat with me. A list of my work within comics, prose, and podcasting can be found through the WORK & ETC. link.

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Journalist/screenwriter/writer of pretty much whatever the hell he could write Ben Hecht on his lack of fame:

As a man embarked on his memoirs, I am not depressed by this lack of fame, nor should the reader be. For though fame is a help in selling books, it is of small use in writing them.

This quote lined up nicely with another I read from Andrew Ferguson over at the Advice To Writers page, in response to the question “Have you ever suffered from writers block?” He said:

Yes, continually (or do I mean continuously?). In fact, it’s closer to the truth to say that I spend more time being blocked than I do writing. 

I’ve read several writers discuss how they think writer’s block is a lie, and it’s more a label we give to our procrastination or laziness than anything. Earlier on in that very same interview with Ferguson he cites a quote from Jacques Barzun, one I had already seen, paraphrased by writer Brian K. Vaughan (who failed to cite its source, sadly). The question is a simple one, and just the right amount of existential as well; a nice blend of blue collar realism with a hint of higher-ed navel-gazing.

The famous question (asked first by Jacques Barzun, I think) that should be pointed at would-be writers is: Do you want to write, or do you want to have written? The distinction is crucial, because if you truly want to write, you’ll write, and the kind of advice you need will find you sooner or later; if you just want “to be a writer” you’re probably in the wrong line of work and no amount of advice will square the circle. For myself, I detest the act of writing but it’s too late for me now. As Robert Benchley once said about his career as a hack: “By the time I realized I wasn’t any good, I was making too much money to stop.” He made more money than I do, but the principle is the same.

I see what he means, but it is kind of scary to say “…if you just want ‘to be a writer’ you’re probably in the wrong line of work…”. The desire to write does not make one a writer. Thinking like a writer is absolutely possible, and um yeah, definitely necessary if you’re actively practicing the whole writing thing. It occurs to me that it would be a trap, or worse, a failing to only think like a writer. Since I’m so quote happy I’ll go ahead and drop another one, this time by Stephen Fry, modern day Renaissance Man and Creative Guide for so many, though he was paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, who also held similar roles to Fry’s during his own heyday:

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it - that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing - an actor, a writer - I am a person who does things - I write, I act - and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.

So there ya’ go. Try not to focus on thinking about what you want to do and sacrifice the actual doing, but also don’t abandon thinking altogether either, I guess. None of it’s easy. And I’m not talking about just writing, either. Whatever the verbs you choose, they’re most likely going to come along with plenty of confusion.

— 1 day ago
#writing  #Stephen Fry  #Ben Hecht  #Child of the Century  #Oscar Wilde  #journalism  #screenwriting  #writing advice  #books  #reading  #The Booklands 
Anonymous asked: Just begged University of Chicago Press editor to help me get Child of the Century back into print.


Answer:

You’re fighting the good fight!

— 5 days ago
This book was recommended to me in an AMA by journalist Rick Perlstein. I asked Mr. Perlstein how important he felt higher education was for journalists, and he answered:

Great question! Journalism used to be a lot less “professionalized.” It was basically a working class profession. Its practitioners were a lot more worldly in a way—they knew people from all walks of life. The fact that journalists are better educated is a paradoxical hindrance to that—they’re sociologically sheltered. I was shocked by a reporter for This American Life, in a report on the explosion of disability claims, who apparently didn’t know how stressful it was to have a job where you have to stand up all day. Ben Hecht would have never have been so callow. Read his memoir ,”Child of the Century,” which is my favorite non-fiction book, and captures the pre-Columbia Journalism School world brilliantly.

I hadn’t heard of Ben Hecht before then. When I looked him up on Wikipedia I realized that somehow I’d missed someone who was regularly referred to as the “Shakespeare of Hollywood,” which is not a subtle nickname. Hecht’s writing output shamed me immediately, though I rebounded quickly and turned this into energy for work, which is something you try to learn quickly, or at least quicker than you learn to sulk and retreat into whichever comfy and reliable distraction is closest.
Hecht wrote an almost ridiculous amount of content. He even did uncredited re-writes on The Shop Around the Corner, the 1940 film based on a Hungarian play called Parfumerie, both of which are the basis for You’ve Got Mail, one of my all-time favorite movies.
This guy was quickly becoming someone I had to know as much about as possible. Of course this means the book in question, Child of the Century, was not only out-of-print but used copies were astronomically priced. I even tweeted at Politics & Prose to see if they had the rights to print a copy in-store, like they offered to do when I was searching for The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton (a book I knew about thanks to Rory Gilmore). They did not, and I was sad. Ready to give up.
One last place contained a hope for me to mine, though, a place that has more hope than it is often given credit for. The library. I feel like that should be capitalized. The Library.
One of my favorite local libraries had a copy (yes, I have multiple favorite local libraries), and although it’s a little beat up it’s still going home with me. I’ve been focused on a lot of non-fiction lately - not at the complete expense of fiction, though - and journalism specifically. I’m working my way through All the President’s Men for the first time; a copy of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and The Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg is making its way to me, along with Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff.
I worked at a small hometown newspaper briefly, covering school board meetings and the occasional controversy, like the time someone was trying to sell the old hospital and all of its land on EBay for $1 million. It was one of my favorite jobs, though the writing I did there wasn’t extraordinary or too memorable. I left in a hurry, mostly because the management wasn’t sure how to deal with me, but that absolutely had to do with my own confusion about what to do with me too. I convinced myself journalism wasn’t the writing I enjoyed. Now I’m pretty sure I was wrong about that.
The other night I re-watched All the President’s Men (after I picked up the book), and the idea that to be a journalist you need a degree or even more specifically an Ivy League and/or prestigious degree seems implausible and ludicrous. Carl Bernstein dropped out of high school and started working at a paper when he was 16. 
I hope I’m not putting too much on the shoulders of Ben Hecht and his memoir. With more and more energy building, seemingly to be directed toward some kind of journalism, I’m thrilled to be thinking that I can do it not despite my circumstances and choices but because they give me a unique perspective.

This book was recommended to me in an AMA by journalist Rick Perlstein. I asked Mr. Perlstein how important he felt higher education was for journalists, and he answered:

Great question! Journalism used to be a lot less “professionalized.” It was basically a working class profession. Its practitioners were a lot more worldly in a way—they knew people from all walks of life. The fact that journalists are better educated is a paradoxical hindrance to that—they’re sociologically sheltered. I was shocked by a reporter for This American Life, in a report on the explosion of disability claims, who apparently didn’t know how stressful it was to have a job where you have to stand up all day. Ben Hecht would have never have been so callow. Read his memoir ,”Child of the Century,” which is my favorite non-fiction book, and captures the pre-Columbia Journalism School world brilliantly.

I hadn’t heard of Ben Hecht before then. When I looked him up on Wikipedia I realized that somehow I’d missed someone who was regularly referred to as the “Shakespeare of Hollywood,” which is not a subtle nickname. Hecht’s writing output shamed me immediately, though I rebounded quickly and turned this into energy for work, which is something you try to learn quickly, or at least quicker than you learn to sulk and retreat into whichever comfy and reliable distraction is closest.

Hecht wrote an almost ridiculous amount of content. He even did uncredited re-writes on The Shop Around the Corner, the 1940 film based on a Hungarian play called Parfumerie, both of which are the basis for You’ve Got Mail, one of my all-time favorite movies.

This guy was quickly becoming someone I had to know as much about as possible. Of course this means the book in question, Child of the Century, was not only out-of-print but used copies were astronomically priced. I even tweeted at Politics & Prose to see if they had the rights to print a copy in-store, like they offered to do when I was searching for The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton (a book I knew about thanks to Rory Gilmore). They did not, and I was sad. Ready to give up.

One last place contained a hope for me to mine, though, a place that has more hope than it is often given credit for. The library. I feel like that should be capitalized. The Library.

One of my favorite local libraries had a copy (yes, I have multiple favorite local libraries), and although it’s a little beat up it’s still going home with me. I’ve been focused on a lot of non-fiction lately - not at the complete expense of fiction, though - and journalism specifically. I’m working my way through All the President’s Men for the first time; a copy of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and The Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg is making its way to me, along with Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff.

I worked at a small hometown newspaper briefly, covering school board meetings and the occasional controversy, like the time someone was trying to sell the old hospital and all of its land on EBay for $1 million. It was one of my favorite jobs, though the writing I did there wasn’t extraordinary or too memorable. I left in a hurry, mostly because the management wasn’t sure how to deal with me, but that absolutely had to do with my own confusion about what to do with me too. I convinced myself journalism wasn’t the writing I enjoyed. Now I’m pretty sure I was wrong about that.

The other night I re-watched All the President’s Men (after I picked up the book), and the idea that to be a journalist you need a degree or even more specifically an Ivy League and/or prestigious degree seems implausible and ludicrous. Carl Bernstein dropped out of high school and started working at a paper when he was 16. 

I hope I’m not putting too much on the shoulders of Ben Hecht and his memoir. With more and more energy building, seemingly to be directed toward some kind of journalism, I’m thrilled to be thinking that I can do it not despite my circumstances and choices but because they give me a unique perspective.

— 1 week ago with 1 note
#journalism  #Ben Hecht  #Child of the Century  #library  #tumblarians  #reading  #books  #library books  #Carl Bernstein  #Bob Woodward  #All the President's Men  #Rick Perlstein  #AMA  #reddit  #Politics and Prose  #bookstore 
"In my twenties I realized that the muse is a bum. The muse only shows up when you bait her by putting your ass in the chair. She can only be lured to your side by the sound of pounding keys, the smell of paper and ink."
— 1 week ago with 124 notes
"Nothing’s riding on this except the First Amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country."
Ben Bradlee, as played by Jason Robards in the film ‘All the President’s Men.’
— 1 week ago with 1 note
#first amendment  #freedom of the press  #us constitution  #all the president's men  #Ben Bradlee  #quotes about journalism  #journalism 
quirkbooks:

A beautiful infographic featuring writing advice from Tolkien. Via GalleyCat.

quirkbooks:

A beautiful infographic featuring writing advice from Tolkien. Via GalleyCat.

— 3 weeks ago with 123 notes
"Dark slaughter was the river the Elder God rode."
From ‘Memories of Ice’ by Steven Erikson, in reference to K’rul.
— 3 weeks ago with 7 notes
#K'rul  #malazan  #steven erikson  #reading  #books  #The Booklands  #memories of ice 

Last night I finished Mona Lisa Overdrive, and it has one of the most memorable and aggravating last pages I’ve ever read.

I wanted there to be more.

— 1 month ago
#reading  #books  #William Gibson  #Mona Lisa Overdrive  #cyberpunk  #The Booklands 
"

This book’s corners were rounded. A wide strip of discoloration crossed the cover, maybe a stippled sun-stained blotch. It dissipated at the edges, those small points of color finally merging.

"One of the pages cut me," Conchita said.

"Paper cuts are the worst," Tori said.

"It was different than that." She turned the book over. Its back cover was rough, a spot near the spine had started to erode, wiry fibers poking free from the layers of cloth and cardboard. "I couldn’t see the cut. No one could."

"
Josette Vipond
— 1 month ago with 2 notes
#Josette Vipond  #reading  #books  #quotes from books  #quotes about reading  #The Booklands  #paper cut 
thecatsaysmiaw:

I was supposed to get that one book, just one, but is apparently not available in any bookstores I went to. So here I ended up with these! #bookhaul #books #bookstagram

thecatsaysmiaw:

I was supposed to get that one book, just one, but is apparently not available in any bookstores I went to. So here I ended up with these! #bookhaul #books #bookstagram

— 1 month ago with 4 notes

Are you a monster? Do you flip to the glossy pages in the middle of the book first, or do you wait, reading toward them? Time travel, or a countdown. 

— 1 month ago
#books  #reading  #pictures in books  #the booklands 

Do you live in or around/near Indianapolis? You might want to check out Indy Reads Books indyreadsbooks, an independent bookstore in downtown Indianapolis. The store directs money to the not-for-profit organization Indy Reads, which fights illiteracy within Indianapolis.

— 1 month ago with 44 notes
#Indy Reads Books  #bookstore  #indy bookstore  #independent bookstore  #Indiana  #Indaianapolis  #reading  #books  #The Booklands  #fighting illiteracy 

Currently reading Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill, and Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson.

(I need to finish The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, Iron Council by China Miėville, and The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. I’m reading them, but I guess I define “currently” by what books I carry with me for the day. How do you define it?)

— 1 month ago
#reading  #currently reading  #books  #Dirty Wars  #Jeremy Scahill  #Mona Lisa Overdrive  #William Gibson  #The Interestings  #Meg Wolitzer  #Iron Council  #China Mieville  #The Booklands 

lobeltz:

I visited an amazing, hidden bookstore today. The owner came up and offered me tea, and asked if I was looking for anything specific. When I told her I was searching for Julia Child’s books she pointed me to a 13th edition of her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. She and I talked food and she told me her personal stories of meeting Julia on multiple occasions. As I kept browsing she came back and gave me a 1st edition of the 2nd volume of Julia’s book. I’m so thankful to have found a gem like this. 

Oh man I want to go here.

— 1 month ago with 39 notes