I’ve been reading a lot of books and not posting about them! So here’s the first of some ‘what I’ve been reading’ catch up posts:
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway: I read For Whom the Bell Tolls a while back, and was underwhelmed, though parts of it did make me feel, and the end did stick with me. So many people love Hemingway so much, I thought I’d give him a second shot. I picked ‘TSAR’ because I heard it mentioned a couple times as Hemingway’s best.
Well, again I was underwhelmed, and mostly bored until the end. I think perhaps I just don’t get the appeal of Hemingway. The stories are so simply told, and the prose so simple and basic, and ‘surface level’. For me, I get a lot of my enjoyment of reading from the prose, so even if there are not exciting things happening, I can enjoy the words for themselves. Perhaps I’m missing subtexts or something, but Hemingway’s writing just doesn’t appeal to me in that way. So when his stories are moving slowly or simply forward, it’s much easier for me to get bored and stop paying attention than if I were reading a different writer who writes beautifully even when nothing is ‘happening’.
I think, he’s just not for me.
Habits sure are easy to break.
I have been writing a lot of short stories lately, and trying to edit my novel, and doing a lot of stuff for Lucent Dreaming. Let’s see, what’s been going on…
I’ve written 22 stories this year so far, though some of them are very very short, and some are so ridiculous they will never be read by strangers. I’ve submitted a bunch of them to various magazines with no luck yet.
I’m nearly halfway done with a first edit of my novel, and yowza is it slow going. What a pain… why do people write novels anyway…
We’ve accepted a bunch of stories for issue 3 of Lucent Dreaming, and I’m working on editing some of those.
I’m reading things! I won’t make my goal of 40 novels this year, but, I’ll get close.
So, I’m still alive and doing writing stuff, but I’ve got to get back into the habit of writing about things. Writing about thoughts cements them into reality, and helps them grow and become something useful…
I’ve been reading a collection of short stories by Anton Chekhov, and am enjoying it immensely. His characters are so bright and clear and amped-up that you can’t help but love or hate them. But more than any of that, I absolutely love the lack of twist endings in his stories.
Anton Chekhov, if you’re not familiar, wrote in the 1880’s and 1890’s, and is considered by many to be the ‘father’ of the short story. And I have to say, I prefer him to most of his offspring. It is hard to describe how refreshing it is to read a story that doesn’t try to rip the rug out from under me in the last sentence every. single. time. A story that says what it’s trying to say, and then ends, without having to manufacture a shock that turns everything you just read on its head, or somehow reverses the meaning of something important. Instead, I get to the end, and it’s over. His stories are not all preamble to some endorphin-triggering key word. They are not just a fuse leading to an explosion. They are enjoyable for themselves.
After reading Chekhov’s stories, I became very aware that today’s short stories, at least in the non-literary genres, are basically distilled twist. If there is not some shock or surprising reveal or reversal at the end, then what is the point of writing it? I fear, is what people think. Well the point, like any writing, is to make someone feel or think or identify or understand something. And there are plenty of things other than surprise that a story can make you feel.
I am learning a lot from these stories, and this is definitely going to affect my own writing in the future. I heavily recommend reading Chekhov to anyone who wants to write short stories!
It’s now up on the website for free! Why haven’t I mentioned this earlier? I don’t know…
check it out here!
and preorder issue 2 while you’re at it!
Welcome to Lucent Dreaming
I’ve been listening to Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy, my first Tolstoy, and am enjoying the lack of moral relativism. It’s somehow refreshing to have a narrator with a clear opinion of what is evil and what is good, and a character who also knows this and is trying to be good. All the shades of grey in current fiction, though realistic, leave a bit to be desired as far as inspiration goes.
The story is about a nobleman in 188x, Nekhlyudov, who is on a jury, and sees that one of the accused is a woman he was in love with, and wronged, in his youth. She has since become a prostitute, and he blames himself and the way he treated her for her decline over the years. After at first wanting to ignore the situation, he decides he wants to ask her forgiveness, and help her, and do anything he can to make it right, he will even, he thinks, go so far as to marry her.
The drive to do good, and make things right, and make up for a past error are appealing in a character. And its sort of a spark of light among all the antiheros of the day.
We’ll see where it goes, though, I’m only at the start…
The end saved this one a bit for me. I really was not a fan of a lot of the middle, so much of it seemed disconnected from everything and meaningless and confusing, but maybe that was the point.
The end was really surreal and creepy and dark, but the kooky humor of the rest of the book sort of undercut the effect of it I think.
I feel there was probably some meaning I was missing in this one, as nothing seemed to have any connection to anything… a strange read, but not recommended unless it’s your brand of humor.
26 hours ago we received the first print run of Lucent Dreaming’s debut issue. Oh my goodness. It looks awesome. It’s full colour, illustrated and high quality and features new and emerging authors and artists. And when you’ve read and reread the stories and poems, you can even colour in our illustrations! We’re open for […]
via Our Debut Issue has Arrived! — Lucent Dreaming