Shop Talk, August 2021

W.B. Yeats wrote about “the sedentary toil of creative art.”

And T.S. Eliot added:

 ‘And indeed there will be time  
 To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"’ 

Marcus Aurelius starts his Meditations by thanking his family, friends, and teachers, and then explains how he was influenced by them; it was from one of his mentors, for example, that he learned “not to breed quails for fighting.”

I am grateful to have been allowed into the heady creative atmosphere, surrounded by artists way smarter than I, better writers and thinkers. And now, in a time of limited personal, physical contact, I surround myself with books, and learn from the talents and intellects who wrote them, from my youngers as well as my elders. (Even with the internet the fact that younger creative people are still choosing to write novels amazes me. Or poetry. Or short stories.)

From recent reading:

When My Brother Was an Aztec, by Natalie Diaz

The language is dazzling, the subject matter achingly sad. Poetry as I wish I could write it, about events I hope I don’t have to experience.

Sour Heart, by Jenny Zhang

Growing up on the East Coast of USA, contemporary stories of Chinese immigrants. Howlingly funny and with the detailed accuracy of an ethnographer.

Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu

From the West Coast, a critique via satire of bad tv drama, written in script format, it parodies criminally stupid ethnic stereotypes while at the same time, especially in backstory, really telling it like it is for Chinese immigrants.

A Collapse of Horses, by Brian Evenson

The poor souls in these stories are seldom in confident possession of their own consciousness, their minds are always playing tricks on them. Unsettling.

A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, by Hoa Nguyen

Poems about Vietnam and referencing what you’d expect, the War, but also what you wouldn’t, like a six-woman troupe of motorcycle daredevils who traveled and performed throughout the country in the late 1950’s.

We Are Watching Eliza Bright, by A.E. Osworth

An office and gaming industry parody, 400 pages divided into a hundred and some chapters, written in regular prose, emails and IMs.

As well as:

C Pam Zhang

Joseph Millar

“You Own It” by Alice Fulton

Zaina Alsous

Mahmoud Darwish

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My books are available on Amazon.

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