Mark Twain’s 20 Quotes on Writing

mark twain, quotes by mark twain, mark twain hobby, mark twain books

1. “I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

2. “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.”

3. “One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.”

4. “The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.”

5. “To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.” Continue reading “Mark Twain’s 20 Quotes on Writing”

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Why I’ll Never Love a Book More Than Harry Potter

[click the image for the reasons] Why I'll Never Love a Book Like Harry Potter - Source: (azevedosreviews.com)

I wear glasses and say words like “derogatory”. I watched Arrested Development. So, yeah, I’m pretty smart. I’m not an expert in literature, but I’ve read a few of the Slavics, some Dickens, all of Bukowski’s novels and most of Vonnegut’s. Of my countrymen, I’ve read almost everything by Saramago and Eça; I read one or two other authors, but I don’t bother with the rest. But when people ask me which is my favorite book, I’ll always proudly reply: Harry Potter. It doesn’t matter which big words I use or the way I arrange my glasses when I reply, they’ll always be, in this order, surprised and condescending. “Don’t give me that derogatory look just yet”, I tell them “let me explain”.

There’s a very simple reason for Harry Potter remaining in the top of my favourite books: I read it as a child. I grew up with it. I was lucky to be the same age as Hermione, Harry and Ron. I went through the same things they did, at the same time. I was accepted in a very exclusive school, top 10 in the country at the time. My sister went there before me, but I still felt like a mudblood (sorry for the language). Before the school year I had to buy my supplies. Like a Weasley, everything I could re-use from my older siblings I did. Fortunately, my parents had TV’s, so I had only a 5 year older sister, smaller than me; I got some books, pens, notebooks, rulers, erasers, half of a set-square, and one particularly large summer dress. What I couldn’t get second hand, I had to buy at the lowest price, so I had to scourge Diagon Alley for the best bargains. I was either 10 or 11, I thought I was big and brave, but like Harry I was also scared when Olivander helped me choose my wand. I mean, when he helped me getting chosen by my wand. I also bought my cauldron, 1 set of crystal phials, gym clothes, 2 gridded notebooks, 1 telescope, 1 drawing pad, 15 different pencils, 1 set of brass scales and the required books I hadn’t inherited: Portuguese, English, History, Sciences, Defense Against The Dark Arts and Geography. I also had to buy new clothes. I wanted a pair of loose jeans, with a cartoon on the back and metal chains, which connected from the beginning of the pocket to the end, and hung almost to the knees. I got the cheap imitation and which still made me happy.

You might have noticed I have some difficulty separating reality from fantasy. That’s the muggle in you talking. Tell him to quiet down for the next few hundred words. Continue reading “Why I’ll Never Love a Book More Than Harry Potter”

Shift in Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Zombie Survival Guide HERE
Zombie Survival Guide HERE

On a previous post I grazed a subject slightly tongue-in-cheek. I had paused my The Last of Us game at an interesting moment. Joe, the apocalypse survivor resignedly explained a massacre that occurred by saying, “You sacrifice the few to save the many.” Ellie, the 14 year old girl that accompanies him says, “That’s kind of shitty.” I jokingly extrapolated from this, by comparing these two apparently inconsequential states to the opposite utilitarian and Kantian moral philosophies. By opposing minimalism with an overwrought idea I intended to make humour happen. I failed in that, but the idea stayed with me.

In The Last of Us, like in all post-apocalyptic books, movies, TV shows, there is a shift of moral codes. In this setting your mortgage payments cease to be a priority, and fucking your new nanny loses, in the battle of importance, to filling your reserves with Twinkies*. In this setting it’s probably justified to kill your new nanny to get those Twinkies; but not to fuck her. No, necrophilia is still not cool in Zombieland.

The issue of morality and economic systems in a post-apocalyptic world is so rich, that I don’t know where to start. I’ll start randomly, a system of organization as good as any other and very dear to my heart:

One of the first things that would happen, should be the inversion of importance of roles. Basically, the people whose skillset we value the most and the people with the least valued skill-set would switch places (the only exception being immediate health care specialists). By value, I mean pay. Entertainers, professional athletes, highly specialized professionals and scholars would see their skills completely devalued. Army men, Handy men, plumbers, electricians, would see their value increase diametrally. This was covered for the first time (as far as I know) in World War Z. In the second moment of the zombie apocalypse, after survival to the first wave of zombies and the creation of a new society, famous artists were taught by plumbers or electricians a new trade. Imagine Jay Leno lisping “Oh, but this shit isn’t going down!”

This specific example shows the volatility of the current system of free enterprise. It can be used as the perfect argument for socialism: Cringe, Americans! While in World War Z this isn’t stated, the flaws of capitalism become evident. What we value today is decided by our society; the fact that Jay Leno gets millions of dollars for talking in front of a camera is decided by the people who want to sit and watch him. Easily enough, the paradigm in which his skillset is valued shifts. The same is true for any other profession. Michael Jordan made millions as a basketball player, because in the eighties and Continue reading “Shift in Post-Apocalyptic Fiction”

Favourite Comedians: Woody Allen

Louie CK with Woody Allen: Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen spent some time with Louie CK, shooting Blue Jasmine. Even if you’re not up to par with the comedy scene, you know Louie is THE stand-up comedian. Woody Allen is also THE stand-up comedian… of 1967.

In a recent interview, Louie described his audition with Woody – he was supposed to play a bad guy, a role that eventually went to the hands of Andrew Dice Clay. Woody grimaced at his acting and Louie understood why. He couldn’t play that character, but still auditioned for the chance of meeting his idol. He got another role, more suited to his skills and personality.

I learned about this a while ago, but this piece of news got a new meaning now that Woody announced to be toying with the idea of going back to stand-up. Woody is more into basketball than movies, nowadays, and I suspect he doesn’t watch much TV with Soon-Yi, but it’s in that medium that Louie shows his acting chops. He shows that he can play himself with some tweaks. He even mocks his acting skills in a hilarious sequence with Matthew Broderick. So, did he hire Louie just to measure himself against him? Continue reading “Favourite Comedians: Woody Allen”

Favourite Comedians: Daniel Tosh

If you’re a fan of YouTube videos you know him from his web-redemptions, where he finds famous fail-videos and gives the protagonists a shot to redeem themselves. If you’re a hardcore feminist, you probably know him from the voodoo doll made in his semblance you keep poking with needles. He was the center of a controversy thanks to a misguided rape joke. If you love stand-up comedy, you know him for his one hour specials “Completely serious” and “Happy Thoughts”. If you’re Mary Adelaide Tosh, you know him from being his mother.

As you figured out by the title, I know Daniel Tosh from his stand-up comedy. And Continue reading “Favourite Comedians: Daniel Tosh”

Charles Bukowski’s 20 Quotes on Writing

Click the image for 19 more Bukowski's quotes on writing

1. “Do some living and get yourself a typewriter.”

2. “writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.”

3. “He asked, “What makes a man a writer?” “Well,” I said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.”

4. “Writing is something that you don’t know how to do. You sit down and it’s something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It’s beyond me, because you yourself don’t even know if you’re going to be able to. I’m always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I’ll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don’t go up there to write. The typewriter’s up there. If it doesn’t start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.”

5. “if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.”

6. “There’s nothing to stop a man from writing unless Continue reading “Charles Bukowski’s 20 Quotes on Writing”

Favourite Comedians: Louis CK

Click the image to learn about why Louie CK is great

It was an interview he heard that made him change his stand-up to what it is now. It didn’t one-handedly put him in the place he is right now, but it set him in the course to now be able to say that we could end peanut allergies by letting some millions die. The interviewee was George Carlin.

Curious George had an unusual approach. Like a snake he shredded his material when he was done with it. The unusual side of it was that it happened once a year. Louie had been working for 20 years to get one hour of material that he refused to abandon, because he feared he couldn’t do better than those rotten comedic scales. It wasn’t awful comedy, Louie was the proud number 98 on a list of Comedy Central 100 Greatest Standups of all Time. But they were funny musings at best. What Carlin said that stuck with him was that after you exhaust your ideas on making jokes about dolphins’ flippers or hats, you have to go deeper to find material. If you do it long enough, you get to places most comics can’t or won’t go.

The first bit that did it consisted on him saying Continue reading “Favourite Comedians: Louis CK”