Subversion in Literature most women authors subvert about gender inequality, most male crime fiction authors subvert about political and economic corruption—done between the lines.

‘…Take the example of her story, Wild Pigeon, where the silent rebellion of the central character, Abida, against the adultery of her husband bestows on her a quiet dignity as well as a stature that breaks the conventional stereotypes of a submissive woman. Her silence, obstinacy and equipoise through the long painful aftermath of the discovery of her husband Majid’s extra-marital affair, leaves her in a dominant position compared to her cringing and repentant husband who craves for the past when they loved each other so passionately. He is finally reduced to the realisation that he is a ‘stupid, third class, deficient creature.’ In the face of overwhelming odds, she gains through her subversion of masculinity, thus establishing the basic fact that women in such despondent situations are really not dependent or vulnerable. The story of Abida and Majid exposes the deeply entrenched two-facedness and insincerity of a way of life that characterises our social behaviour.

‘Writing about the lives and deprivation of women, Ismat Chughtai’s collection of stories, novels and novellas as well as her essays have helped women to transform despair and apathy in the face of overwhelming social and gender inequality, into heroic rebellion and constructive transformation, thereby bringing a new way of considering the world and freeing it from the assumptions and social outlook that threaten the rightful position of women in our society…’

Do you have Writer’s Phobia?
It’s much worse than writer’s block
Two illustrations from a group discussion:
“I had deep scars about writing for years because of school (I would get a A for content and style and then my mark would drop to passing grade because of grammar and spelling, no matter how hard I worked, I just couldn’t get those right). At some point I even had panic attack just putting words on paper…”

“I, too, have scars from the ONE creative writing class I took in college for my degree. The professor not only hated everything I wrote, but used my writing week after week as an example to the class of how NOT to write. Eventually I confronted him about singling me out.

“I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over it, and I think his words really stifle me today. And that was almost 15 years ago.”

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Musician Copland’s Brilliant View on Writing

classicfm-imagesLegendary Composer Aaron Copland on the Conditions of Creativity, Emotion vs. Intellect, and the Trap of Public Opinion

“The main thing is to be satisfied with your work yourself. It’s useless to have an audience happy if you are not happy.” -Aaron Copland

‘…Among the most eloquent and interesting interviewees is the influential composer (and the one-time object of Leonard Bernstein’s infatuation) Aaron Copland, recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, and the Pulitzer Prize in composition.

‘Even more than self-gratification, Copland argues, artists’ highest responsibility is to capture the cultural backdrop of their time:

“[Today's artists] are the only ones who can express the spirit of what it means to be alive today.

That’s what makes the creation of art seem important. You’re not just expressing your own individuality. You, as a person, are an exemplar; you are one of the people living now who can put this thing down. In another twenty years … the world experience will be different, so the need becomes very pressing. You have a sense of urgency, of being occupied with something essential and unique. To leave our mark of the present on the future — what could be more natural?”‘

Theodor Adorno on the Art of Punctuation
‘Mary Oliver once joked — perhaps semi-seriously, as is the poet’s prerogative — that each writer has a finite lifetime quota of punctuation, which should be used judiciously to shepherd language into as much elegant submission as the writer is capable of. But half a century earlier, in 1956, the legendary German sociologist, philosopher, musicologist, and media critic Theodor Adorno (September 11, 1903–August 6, 1969) penned an essay titled “Punctuation Marks,” in which he made it abundantly clear that punctuation was no joke — used well, he argued, it bespeaks the writer’s mastery of language; deployed thoughtlessly or haphazardly, it is at best a giveaway of a novice writer’s nervousness and at worst a shameful assault on the written word.

‘Indeed, he reserves special lamentation for the discouraging fate of the exclamation point, demoted from a medium of art to a greedy grubbing for attention where language alone fails to induce it:

‘He moves on to the dash — not “the serious dash” of the nineteenth century that Adorno admires as “wrinkles on the brow of [the] text” (and not — though, oddly enough, he makes no effort to note the notable exception — Emily Dickinson’s spectacular and graceful use of the mark that “both reaches out and holds at bay”), but the application of the dash as an ill-fated effort to assuage the writer’s anxiety:…’

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Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter

jkrowling-timeline-image-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-1-film-1332770766‘…Of course there are many factors that shape our attitudes toward others: the media, our parents and peers, religious beliefs. But Vezzali’s work supports earlier research suggesting that reading novels as a child — implying literary engagement with life’s social, cultural and psychological complexities — can have a positive impact on personality development and social skills.

‘A study published last year in Science found that reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or nonfiction, results in keener social perception and increased empathy — empathy being defined more or less as the ability to alternate between different perspectives on a particular person or situation. Literature with complex, developed themes and characters appears to let readers occupy or adopt perspectives they might otherwise not consider; and it seems that Rowling might get at the beautiful, sobering mess of life in a way that could have a meaningful impact on our children’s collective character…’

Have a Case of Weak Wording? Revive Your Parts of Speech!
‘In a world where we’re accustomed to 140-character Tweets, simple text messages, spontaneous emails, and casual blog posts, we’re familiar with informal grammar. It’s not uncommon to shorten a message by omitting certain parts of speech. This style of writing certainly has its place, but it doesn’t belong in your content writing!

‘In order to establish your credibility as an Expert Author, it’s important to maintain proper grammar and sentence structure. In other words, avoid using “weak wording” in your writing…’
Weak wording is written like this

Tweet Accidentally Belittled Domestic Violence
Reminder to always check the context on hashtags
‘After a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer led to his termination from the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, thousands of women took to Twitter to discuss their physically and emotionally tortuous experiences in abusive relationships. They used the #WhyIStayed hashtag to fight the victim-blaming attitude of Palmer’s critics, who had questioned why she would marry a man who knocked her unconscious.

‘Jumping onto the popular hashtag, DiGiorno clearly didn’t look into its context before tweeting, “#whyistayed You had pizza.”

‘It was a boneheaded mistake, to be sure, similar to snack brand Entenmann’s famously regrettable decision to tweet on the hashtag #notguilty, failing to realize it was trending because Casey Anthony had been aquitted of murdering her daughter…’

How do you seduce sources for your work?
‘Crafting the best pitches and articles hinges on knowing the right people, so writers would be wise to use courting and wooing tactics to build bonds with sources. Here are a few methods I’ve used to find contacts for my work.’

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More on Keeping a Diary

brainpickings-diaryReflections on the value of recording our inner lives from Woolf, Thoreau, Sontag, Emerson, Nin, Plath, and more.
Some of the surprising quotes:
“Of course, a writer’s journal must not be judged by the standards of a diary. The notebooks of a writer have a very special function: in them he builds up, piece by piece, the identity of a writer to himself. Typically, writers’ notebooks are crammed with statements about the will: the will to write, the will to love, the will to renounce love, the will to go on living. The journal is where a writer is heroic to himself. In it he exists solely as a perceiving, suffering, struggling being.” -Susan Sontag

“Just now I pick up the blessed diary of Virginia Woolf which I bought with a battery of her novels saturday with Ted. And she works off her depression over rejections from Harper’s (no less! – – – and I hardly can believe that the Big Ones get rejected, too!) by cleaning out the kitchen. And cooks haddock & sausage. Bless her. I feel my life linked to her , somehow. I love her – – – from reading Mrs. Dalloway for Mr. Crockett – – – and I can still hear Elizabeth Drew’s voice sending a shiver down my back in the huge Smith class-room, reading from To The Lighthouse. But her suicide, I felt I was reduplicating in that black summer of 1953. Only I couldn’t drown. I suppose I’ll always be over-vulnerable, slightly paranoid. But I’m also so damn healthy & resilient. And apple-pie happy. Only I’ve got to write. I feel sick, this week, of having written nothing lately.” -Sylvia Plath

For Google+ Users Only
Google Authorship is Dead [Video]
But Authoritative Content Lives On
In this video, authors Tanner Jones and J.R. Oakes discuss the dismantling of Google Authorship and its implications to the legal marketing community.

JR Oakes: ‘Well, around the time Google rolled out Google+, they wanted a way to be able to authoritatively connect authors to their content. It went through several different iterations, but basically Google Authorship was a link from your website to your Google+ profile, and then your Google+ profile had to link back to your website. Now, that could either be one website or, if you are a writer who writes on multiple websites, you can list all the different websites that you write for. But the goal behind it was to give Google an authoritative link from your Google+ profile as kind of a hub and all the different websites that you write for with a link going to them and a link coming back, so that Google could tell that this was your piece of content that was written by you, and that it had your Authorship, your Google+ profile was a hub of that.’

JR Oakes: ‘Well, it was alarming to us. I think there were several threads going around about this. Google – I think it was in December – lowered the amount of Authorship results and then a few months later they said, “Okay, we’re going to be removing Authorship results,” and then they came out and said, “Okay, we’re going to be just killing Google Authorship altogether.” So that’s alarming for somebody who’s told a lot of clients, you want to do Authorship because you want to have that image there in the results. Because if there are 10 listings on a page and yours has as an image, that’s a chance to draw all the users to that individual listing.’

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Economic Growth Threatens Languages

mashable-Languages‘Already today, several of the world’s nearly 7,000 languages face a serious risk of extinction. “For example, Ainu, a language in Japan, is now seriously threatened, with only 10 native speakers left,” said lead study author Tatsuya Amano at the University of Cambridge in England.

‘The United Nations has noted that half of the languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century if nothing is done to save them. “I personally think that the diversity of languages is associated with the diversity of human cultures, which are definitely worth preserving,” Amano said…’

Who owns the rights to Jennifer Lawrence’s naked photos?
‘A porn Web site that posted hacked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence refuses to take them down — until lawyers can prove who owns the rights to the images.

‘The site argues that since the steamy shots are not selfies, the person who actually snapped them holds the copyright, TMZ reported.

‘A lawyer for the actress sent a letter to the porn site, which has not been named, demanding it remove the photos — which were leaked along with dozens of other naked and intimate shots of celebrities.

‘But the site fired back with their own document demanding Lawrence provide proof of copyright, including the name of the person who took the photos…’

Pondering Personal Pronouns
‘In this article we’ll review personal pronouns: what they are, how to use them, and some of the controversies surrounding them. We won’t cover everything, as there’s far too much material for a single article, so additional references are given below…’

Has Your Content Been Stolen?
A Lawyer’s Guide To Defending Your Online Content
‘…The blogger buys or borrows a new lawnmower and tests it for two weeks to write a review. He takes pictures of the lawnmower, before and after photos showing the mower’s performance, and then writes a detailed article explaining how the mower is a great buy. He posts the photos and review to his website and the traffic starts flowing in.

‘After a week, the traffic drops off dramatically. He performs a search to see where his blog is ranked and notices a similar article ranked above his. He clicks on it to see that a lawn care blog copied his entire article and posted it on their site.

‘Fortunately, our blogger knows his rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, commonly known as the DMCA…’
How to Make Use of the DMCA

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Insane and Dangerous Overreactions to Fictional Threats

the-digital-reader-91EkRRhGseL._SL1500_1-102x150‘…A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace’s Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, according to news reports from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future…’

Top 10 Reasons for Article Rejection
‘We’ve created this handy infographic that outlines the 10 most popular reasons articles are rejected. To view the graphic in a new window, simply click the image below and then click the image again to zoom in or out…’

How I Kept a 373-Day Productivity Streak Unbroken
Jamie Todd Rubin wrote for 373 consecutive days
‘As I sit down to write this, I am in the midst of a streak. I have written every day for the last 373 consecutive days. That consecutive day streak is part of a larger streak that began in late February 2013. Since then, I have written 516 out of the last 518 days. The last day on which I managed no writing was July 21, 2013 (the day I traveled home from the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop in Laramie, Wyoming, in case you’re wondering).

‘Saying you’re going to write everyday is one thing. But to ensure the streak’s success I had to bulletproof it for when the routine was interrupted for one reason or another. How could I continue to write every day despite occasional disruptions, planned and unplanned? Over the course of more than 500 days, I’ve learned ways to hack my writing streak to cope with the disruptions and still write every day. Here are the three most common roadblocks I run into and how I deal with each of them…’

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The Psychology of Writing and the Perfect Daily Routine

brainpickings-showup‘…Reflecting on the ritualization of creativity, Bukowski famously scoffed that “air and light and time and space have nothing to do with.” Samuel Johnson similarly contended that “a man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.” And yet some of history’s most successful and prolific writers were women and men of religious daily routines and odd creative rituals. (Even Buk himself ended up sticking to a peculiar daily routine.)…’

Seeing Through the Otherness of Others
Will you admire repulsive persons in the future?
“Maria Popova: This particular book explores the rather common experience of seeing someone as both frightening and repulsive until we get to know them — one manifestation of our broader, fundamental fear of the unfamiliar. Did you have such an experience yourself, either with a teacher or with another figure in your life, that inspired the book?

Peter Brown: When I was a kid I had several grumpy adults in my life. There were the old neighbors who would actually yell at me to get off their lawn. There was the mysterious family of five who all seemed to be mean and miserable, even the kids. And yes, I did have a few grumpy teachers, too. I was confused and concerned by all of those people, but the grumpy teachers were especially distressing because I had to be in close quarters with them for a whole school year.”…’

Fiction Books that Prophesy
Dale Brown prophesied this in his 1993 book Chains of Command:
Ukrainian Prime Minister Says Government Will Seek NATO Membership

British and American Spellings
Even bestselling Margaret Truman had a problem with American and British spelling of ‘theatre’ (for her book Murder at Ford’s Theatre). Her editor Sam Vaughan favored ‘theatre’ over ‘theater’ so she agreed.

A review by James E. Carroll:
“…I don’t doubt that Truman strolled the cafes and galleries of Dupont Circle sipping latte at Kramerbooks & Afterwoods researching the details about historic Ford’s Theatre that she got correct right down to the spelling (of ‘theatre’).”

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