Amazon Labels’Tom and Jerry’ Racist

metro.co-mouseTom And Jerry cartoons depict ‘ethnic and racial prejudice’, warns Amazon
‘Without mentioning specific examples, the Amazon blurb reads: ‘Tom And Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.’

‘The official line from Warner Bros, which now owns the animated series, adds: ‘While the following does not represent the Warner Bros view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed…’
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The Perils of Publicity in Creative Work
“But publicity — particularly interviews, profiles, and public appearances — has another, perhaps even more perilous demand: It distracts the artist or writer from the very work that sprouted the demand for such interviews, profiles, and appearances in the first place and takes him or her away from both the contemplative space and the dogged dedication that produced that work.” -Maria Popova

“I think publicity in general is a very destructive thing, for any artist… It always is a problem. Because even if it’s good, the extent to which you get all this attention is an extra thing for you to take account of. You start thinking about your work as an outsider — you start being aware of… what other people think of you. And you become self-conscious… It’s taking your attention away from your own business.” -Susan Sontag
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The Psychology of Cryptomnesia
How We Unconsciously Plagiarize Existing Ideas
‘In the altogether illuminating 1994 volume The Psychology of Writing (public library) — which also gave us the conditions of the perfect daily routine and ideal creative environment — cognitive psychologist Ronald T. Kellogg defines cryptomnesia as “the belief that a thought is novel when in fact it is a memory” and examines how it arises.’

‘”Much of what a writer knows, particularly discourse and sociocultural knowledge, exists only in tacit form. For example, sentence patterns as well as cultural beliefs are shared by members of the same discourse community and are drawn upon freely by all, without conscious awareness. The same sort of unconscious copying may also occur with specific sentences, facts, and arguments — forms of domain-specific knowledge. When it does, however, the author is subject to the charge of plagiarism… [Cryptomnesia] can lead to inadvertent plagiarism if a writer fails to acknowledge unwittingly an earlier source due to the failure to recognize his or her own thoughts and words as unoriginal.” -Ronald Kellogg
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William Faulkner on Writing
My favorite comment about writing:
“It’s the most satisfying occupation man has discovered yet, because you never can quite do it as well as you want to, so there’s always something to wake up tomorrow morning to do.” -William Faulkner

‘In 1957 and 1958, the period halfway between his two Pulitzer Prizes, Faulkner served as a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. On the last day of his residency in May of 1958, he read from his favorite novel, The Sound and the Fury, at an event open to the general public. After the reading, he answered questions — wonderfully Southern-drawled questions — from the audience. The surviving recording, found in the University of Virginia’s Faulkner archives, is of questionable audio quality but makes up for it in sheer richness of insight into Faulkner’s views on writing and the project of art…’
Transcribed highlights below

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Primitive Retro-Hair Trend

Originally posted on Plato on-line:

tribalartasia-HEAD HUNTER
Notice the hair? Same as the teen trend now isn’t it? That man was a tribal head-hunter during the 1940s. Add the ‘caveman’ short pants which is below the knees and the trend now too and we have primitives and cavemen

Harry Potter Plagiarized Again?
Christian Mom rewrites Harry Potter sans the “magic”
‘The woman in question – a conservative Christian who goes by the name of Grace Ann – has already published the first seven chapters of her opus on Fanfiction.net, claiming she is rewriting the book for her children in a bid to keep them from the dark side.

‘She explains: ‘My little ones have been asking to read the Harry Potter books; and of course I’m happy for them to be reading, but I don’t want them turning in to witches!

‘‘So I thought….. why not make some slight changes so these books are family friendly?…

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Robot Writers Are on the Rise, but Do They Work?

thenextweb-monk‘If you’ve spent any time reading on the web the past week, odds are you’ve read something written by a robot—and you didn’t even realize it.

‘Robot writers are algorithms that collect and analyze data and then turn them into readable narratives. Many news sites like the Los Angeles Times and Forbes are already using them. Even Wikipedia has articles that weren’t written by humans.

‘Reception to robot journalists has been mixed: Some see how robots can be useful, while others take this as another sign that creative professionals are being devalued.

‘To see for ourselves whether these robot writers can be useful or how they might impact creative work, we can start by getting to know one of them…’
Meet the robot journalist that writes for AP and Yahoo

Authors United should admit most books are consumer goods like any other
‘…But wait — isn’t that exactly what Amazon is doing with Hachette, by using a variety of retailing tactics to send a message to the publisher that it is charging too much for its books and/or not giving Amazon enough of the proceeds? It sure is.

‘So then how could the authors’ group claim that Amazon shouldn’t be able to do the same thing with Hachette that it does with every other product? Simple: because Authors United argues that books are not a consumer good like any other. Books exist in a special category, and that category of products should not be open to traditional negotiating tactics used by retailers…’
As the letter says:

Is Concision a definitive virtue?
“We have deemed all these words necessary in order to explain that we have been traveling more slowly than was predicted, concision is not a definitive virtue, on occasion one loses out by talking too much, it is true, but how much has also been gained by saying more than was strictly necessary.” -Jose Saramago, The Stone Raft
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The marketing tools you need for any self-published book
‘Tactics that game the system also tend to stop being able to game the system fairly quickly. So by the time you’re reading about it, it’s already too late to use it.

‘And keep in mind, if you simply try every piece of advice out there on marketing your book, you’re going to spread yourself way too thin to be effective.

‘Marketing your self-published book involves a lot of focused work, typically as much work as it took to write the book in the first place. And there are no guarantees. But without marketing your book, no one beyond your friends and family will read it…’
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Posted in Books, Business, eBooks, Journalism, On-line Publishing, publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Crush Your Writer’s Anxiety

writewithwarnimont-Writers-Anxiety1-199x300‘Writing is a stressful job, if not the most stressful, due to the roller coaster income, length of time it takes to actually write and edit, and most frustrating, the expectancy to handle a wide array of skills we are unfamiliar with. Whether you have a degree in writing, have taken a class or have no training at all, the majority of lessons we learn about writing pertain to the actual writing itself: plot, story arc, character development, prose, genre specific writing and a little bit of how to get published.

‘Below are a few ways to crush you writer’s anxiety and stop fighting the craft you love. I don’t want to sit here and spew out a bunch of “easier said than done” points, because those never helped me and they probably won’t help you. (ie. ambiguous “build a platform” advice) Let me know if I missed anything:…’
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Han Solo on Beta Readers and Writing Critiques
‘Whether in the Death Star or working with beta readers, keep the situation normal. Maintain control for both your beta readers and yourself. Think about how absurd it is to give someone a 60,000 word book and expect them to read it. The book is still in a rough stage, and you don’t even know if it’s any good (so you pawn it off on other people). Cut the story into chunks to lure your beta readers in, and to target the feedback, so you know exactly where people get lost in your story. If you give beta readers two or three chapters and they don’t like them, those chapters can be rewritten, but if you give them your whole manuscript and they come back with bad words, you feel like your whole book is crap, which probably isn’t true. Manage the workload for them and make the revisions easier for you…’
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Why a good book is a secret door [Video]
‘Childhood is surreal. Why shouldn’t children’s books be? In this whimsical talk, award-winning author Mac Barnett speaks about writing that escapes the page, art as a doorway to wonder — and what real kids say to a fictional whale.

‘…I write children’s books, and there’s a quote from Pablo Picasso, “We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth or at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

‘I first heard this when I was a kid, and I loved it, but I had no idea what it meant. (Laughter)

‘So I thought, you know what, it’s what I’m here to talk to you today about, though, truth and lies, fiction and reality. So how could I untangle this knotted bunch of sentences? And I said, I’ve got PowerPoint. Let’s do a Venn diagram. ["Truth. Lies."] (Laughter) So there it is, right there, boom. We’ve got truth and lies and then there’s this little space, the edge, in the middle. That liminal space, that’s art. All right. Venn diagram. (Laughter) (Applause)…’
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Graphophobia: The Writer’s Phobia

writing.inside.tru-skullandquill.php_I was in a group discussion when someone gave me a bit of a shock. She said ‘…At some point I even had panic attack just putting words on paper…” That’s when I got the idea of ‘Writer’s Phobia’. This discussion is still in progress and so far, there were four testimonies about their graphophobia. Here they are:

“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.”

‘I have “writer’s phobia” that I have to overcome every single day, but for an entirely different reason. I have no support from my family. My friends are more supportive, but my family are very practical people. They just can’t imagine me writing anything that anyone would want to read. So, I gather my faith in myself every single day, and I write. I just feel that writing is a talent I am lucky enough to have, and no one can take that away from me. I choose to believe in myself! I think that’s what you have to do…believe in yourself.’

‘…actually it did stop me from writing for a long time. The science fiction saga that I have in the works (first 3 books published already) I thought up and was going to write 50 years ago but because of the actions of this one teacher I didn’t. It wasn’t until a few years ago when some people saw some poetry that I had written which they liked that I started to get up enough courage to try writing again. Now that I am going into retirement I felt I had nothing to lose by trying to write so I wrote the first book in the saga as a test. Within a week it was in the top 1% of book sales on Amazon. I wish now I had tried earlier as I really enjoy writing and my books are being well received with a growing readership. Its amazing how the thoughts and actions of one person can make or break an individual. That teacher could just as easily have encouraged me and helped me and if he had today I would no doubt be giving him an acknowledgement in my books as having inspired me but alas no such page will be dedicated to him.’

I will add more testimonies if and when there are more.

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Subversion in Literature

kazbar.org-tahiranWhile 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…’
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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?”‘
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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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