Aphorisms by Ralph Waldo Emerson

From All Aphorisms, All the Time with a focus on writing (Hat tip: Frank Wilson) The introduction:

Just finished reading First We Read, Then We Write by Robert D. Richardson, reflections on the creative writing process gleaned from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays and journals. Richardson, who has written fantastic biographies of both Emerson and Thoreau (and William James), does a magnificent job of curating these Emerson quotes. Emerson is a great aphorist (Geary’s Guide, pp. 83-85) and in these observations and analyses he gets at the heart of what it’s like to write and to read…


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‘Arguably’ by Christopher Hitchens

A book review by Nick Owchar of the Los Angeles Times:

Christopher Hitchens‘ writings on politics and his public face on a variety of TV programs and in other forums have earned him manifold tags, not always favorable ones (depending on whom is bestowing them) — he’s been called a provocateur, a contrarian, a ranter, a polemicist, a traitor (by former friends on the Left who disagree with his view of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq). But the essays in “Arguably” remind us of other dimensions to this singular writer and thinker that are sometimes overshadowed by the range of his political commentary.

Though there are plenty of essays on politics to be found here, the book also treats us to other arrows in Hitchens’ proverbial quiver, including his bracing, exhilarating approach to important literary figures…

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Roger Ebert Quotes John Waters & the Crowd Goes Wild

Law professor Ann Althouse has a post titled, Roger Ebert quoting John Waters: “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t f**k them.” The many comments are quite interesting, but so few of them answer her question:

What book, spotted on a prospective lover’s shelf, would make you turn away and walk out the door?

The best answer from those who did answer her question: Ways to Cut off a Relationship by Lorena Bobbitt. And I thought this one would stimulate a quick exit: Harvesting Human Organs for Fun and Profit. And Living with AIDS might give one pause. 


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Platte Canyon High School Incident

Five years ago today, on September 27, 2006, Duane Roger Morrison, age fifty-six, murdered sixteen year-old high school student, Emily Keyes in what is called the Platte Canyon High School incident, near Bailey Colorado, a few miles from where I live. In April 2007, two days before the Virginia Tech massacre, I had the pleasure of hearing Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener, who was in charge during this horrific crime, give a speech to a small group of concerned citizens. He spoke for one and a half hours detailing what schools and law enforcement learned after the Columbine HS massacre on April 20, 1999 and how, in many ways, the Platte Canyon school was very well prepared because of Columbine. (A unique perspective of that incident is offered by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters at Columbine, in this article, “I’ll Never Know Why” from oprah.com.) Sheriff Wegener also said that Platte Canyon, being in a rural area where everybody knows everybody, never expected such a thing to happen there. He discussed the lockdown procedures, the prior training of teachers and students, and assured his audience, including some teachers, that the Sheriff’s office takes the matter seriously—his own son was in the room below the shooter when it happened.

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Five Ways to Screw Up Your Life with the Internet

There may be more ways, but Five Ways to Screw Up Your Life with the Internet covers some important ones:

One of the odd things about the Internet is that so many people don’t seem to understand that it’s real. Sure, they realize that there’s a computer in front of them, a “series of tubes,” and then…it gets kind of foggy. It’s like they think there are magical pixies from the land of Lulz on the other end, as opposed to their family, friends, co-workers, and old boyfriends who are obsessively poring over their Facebook page.

Granted, they are aware that they do need to be careful about a few things: viruses, hackers, identity thieves, Nigerian princes who want to give them millions of dollars — all the standard stuff. But there are some lesser known dangers of the Internet that can steamroll your life like Paris Hilton stampeding towards a line of cocaine.

See the five at the link.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy—the Book, the Movie

From the Guardian, John le Carré: a Tinker, Tailor A-Z is about the book and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy—review is about the new movie.

It should be a good  film.

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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer

I read Under the Banner of Heaven a few year’s ago and was fascinated by it. The linked review is from Powell’s Books by Doug Brown. Also, I’ve linked to a piece from Texas Monthly on the sexual assault trial of Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Strange folks.

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A Brave New Book World: How Authors Become Entrepreneurs

From MediaShift, an assessment of social media, e-books, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype—all this stuff I thought I’d never do:

So this is what it’s like to be an author now – finishing the book is only the beginning. New technologies allow writers to seek out and engage with their readers more than ever before, and to participate in a community of readers and writers that isn’t limited by geography. The drawback is that for many authors who want people to buy their books, social media isn’t optional. In the years to come, the image of a reclusive writer, isolated in his garret, might become an antiquated one, like that of someone pounding out a novel on a typewriter or reading an actual book made of paper.

I’d actually prefer to be the reclusive writer, but it doesn’t auger well for actually selling books to follow that path—one must get with the times, which involves shameless self-promotion.

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Stephen King On Writing & Childhood

From Today in Literature:

On this day in 1947 Stephen King was born. As told in On Writing, his 2000 “memoir of the craft,” King’s childhood was formative of the man and his themes, “a kind of curriculum vitae.” He denies any shape or through-line to his recollections, but this seems disingenuous: growing up may be “a fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees” but the trees cited are mostly “the kind that look as if they might like to grab and eat you.”

Certainly Durham, Maine was not “Fern Hill.” King’s first memory is of playing the Ringling Brothers Circus Strongboy and dropping the cinder block on his toes. His second, aged four, is of Eula-Beulah, one of an endless stream of babysitters hired by his mother — his father disappeared when King was two, having gone for the proverbial package of cigarettes. Eula-Beulah was very large, and prone to gas: “Sometimes when she was so afflicted, she would throw me on the couch, drop her wool-skirted butt on my face, and let loose. ‘Pow!’ she’d cry in high glee.” She was fired when she fed him seven fried eggs for breakfast and locked him in the closet for the day, where he “yarked” and slept until mom came home from work. Other memories, related here or in Danse Macabre (1981), are similar, or similarly placed-subterranean forces, fright-night drive-ins, sick-bed seclusions, creaking-attic discoveries. (Emphasis mine.)

The Eula-Beulah bit doesn’t sound like much fun. Read the whole thing at the link.

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