Mr Pond in Print

or, Whence Friday?

I’m not sure how the week’s over already, but I’m not complaining. Two big deadlines to whack through, as well as designing the next issue of Unsettling Wonder, and spending most of today working on a Secret Project which will be announced soon, and involves grapefruit.

I guess that all adds up to mean it’s link week at Paradoxes, since we’ll end as we began: with two links that will enrich your life, or mind, or soul, or at least be something like vaguely interesting.

As the title promised, I just had an academic article published this week, co-authored with Joshua Richards. It’s in the new volume of VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review, which should be of interest to any and all who like one of the seven author the journal focuses on, e.g. Owen Barfield, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy Sayers, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. The article we’ve written is called “The Dantean Tradition in George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind,” and it does what it says on the tin, really. We offer a close textual reading of how MacDonald uses the Commedia in his children’s book.
It’s a doozy, that’s all I can say. Not available online, but you can buy the issue here.

Also, yet a bit more about DARE: Language Log reported this week that the Dictionary of American Regional English has got a new lease on life and has raised money they need to start work on their hugely important digital edition. Victory for crowd-funding? No, not really—they got several hundred thousand from UW-Madison, the American Dialect Society, and an anonymous donor. Confirming my general suspicion that the next great wave of the future is patronage. The funds they have really aren’t that much for a project of this enormity, though, so if you can donate anything, do.

There you go—four links when I promised you two. The service here, I’m telling ya.

advice from Mr Fun

First, a link of note: my colleague the incomparable Dr Richards has just posted a thoroughly challenging piece about writing and retelling fairy tales, at Unsettling Wonder. It’s called ‘Gilt, Alloy, Catalysis’; you can read it here, and if you have any interest in writing or fairy tales and fantasy, and how these things can be understood, then you probably should.

Second, if you like art and good-humour and animation, and especially if you like Disney lore, you’ll want to check out the works of Floyd Norman. He’s an animator, cartoonist, Disney historian and all around nice guy, it seems. Seriously, what could be more fun than Mr Fun’s Blog? It’s always a treat, whether he’s giving anecdotes about cartooning and the ‘Old Maestro’, or discussing depictions of race in Disney films, or—like today—dispensing startlingly pertinent writing advice.

Yeah, I know—writing advice on the internet? No one’s ever done that before. But it’s because there’s so much of it that’s so bad, it’s a treasure to find someone actually giving good advice. Since I guess this’ll  be of interest to you, here’s what Mr Fun had to say about writing today, taken from the link above. Pay particular attention to the closing line:

My story as an author began back in High School English Literature. Eager but intimidated, I looked forward to learning a little bit about writing in my junior year. However, my English instructors thought I was in over my head and thought a “lower level English class” was more my speed. I was hardly delighted with this decision but took it in stride. When it came to the task of writing I decided I would learn on my own. Since that time I’ve come to believe most writing classes are bunk. You learn to write by writing, and no class can ever make up for that. You simply have to do it each day. There are no shortcuts or magical inspiration that will make the words appear on the page. Like most difficult things in life you simply have
to do it.

Getting booted out of High School English Literature was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I never lost my love for books and like most students I read most of the classics. I continued to have only the greatest respect for writers and was lucky enough to meet a number of favorites during my career. Guys such
as Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Douglas Adams provided a fair share of encouragement. While I knew I would probably never do work on their level,
I continued to learn the craft just in case I would one day have to put words
on paper.

link or links of interest

This may be of interest to some or all of you: as of now, They Might Be Giants mp3 album downloads are just $4.99 (USD), for twenty-four hours. Actually probably more like nineteen hours, looking at the clock. But if you go right away to download Nanobots or Severe Tire Damage or whatever, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Also, in case you missed it, over at Unsettling Wonder I wrote an article wondering what good are fairy tales?

say said

There’s a lot of bad writing advice on the internet, if you look for it. And even if you don’t. As in, really pathetically bad writing advice. A lot of it, I’m sorry to say, is written by writers, or agents, or publishers. And the reason it’s so pathetically bad isn’t because they’re bad writers or agents or publishers, but more that either they’re trying to express something they learned intuitively—which is a distinct skill from being a good writer, or agent, or publisher, in fact—or because they have their own heads crammed full of bad advice which they unwittingly ignore when they write, agent, or publish.

In fact—here’s a secret—you can find some pretty bad writing advice in the archives of this very blog. I won’t link to it: that wouldn’t be kind to anyone.

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