Writing can be like constipation sometimes. Something gets in you that has to come out. You resist, thinking it’ll piss people off, hurt somebody’s feelings, would make you look silly. And then, if you finally let it out, you discover that nobody cares, the people whose feelings should be hurt aren’t (and the innocent who think that you are writing about them are), and that people have thought you were an idiot all along, so in the end it’s all a wash.
And then there are the paths you shouldn’t be going down because you’re working on Something Important and you recognize that the cool idea percolating in the back of the head is the Distraction Devil determined to knock you off your rhythm.
The only problem is you see the nature of the obstacle, your fear or your common sense, and so you do nothing.
That’s why they call it writer’s block.
That’s what below’s list is about. I love sharing stuff I liked, but worry about boring you with it.
Yet I want to do it anyway.
So let’s do it.
* XKCD’s comic that made me laugh makes sense if you remember that Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity while working at this job.
* Stories about suicide have to wrestle with the difficulty of feeling empathy for the person feeling the pain. What goes on inside the head can be completely at odds with what everyone else sees going on in that person’s life. No matter how successful you are, no matter how much money you have, no matter how promising your future, none of that matters when the voice in your head is saying “do it.”
All this is by way of saying that Charles G. Hill pointed my way to a story from the mean subways of Toronto called “Die Another Day.”
* Today’s writer’s meme comes courtesy of Galleycat: Stephen King Characters Connection Flowchart.” You’re welcome. (Nice to see “Tessie Girl” responding to corrections and suggestions in the comments).
* Galleycat is also starting to provide a Self-Published Bestsellers List.
* Gotta save this for Comics Gone Wild: The Comic Book Legal brings a lengthy historical post on the year they came for the comic books,” with a guest appearance by the recently late Ray Bradbury.
* Seeing artists providing free sketches at comic conventions and appearances always left me wondering why writers aren’t asked to do the same. Jamie S. Rich takes up the challenge with bespoke writing commissions.
* BEST IN BOOK REVIEWS: Alan Caruba gives us a long list of books worth reading in June 2012. In particular, he praises a book on the Fast and Furious scandal, a memoir by Larry King, and a novel of the Old West (“Whip”) by Karen Kondazian, about a hard-bitten man, a stage coach driver and outlaw killer, who was also in reality a woman.
I’m also liking Bookgasm’s reviews of “The Zombies That Ate the World”:
“While there’s occasional mayhem, what makes the book stand out is its pitch-black sense of absurd humor. The stories — and this is closer to a collection of closely related short stories than a full-blown novel — can be veer from poignant to slapstick at the turn of a dime, and the charmingly cartoony artwork (à la Darwyn Cooke or Jordi Bernet) manages to underline those tonal tweaks with casual mastery.
“The historical element is appreciated, and for those who like alternative histories, you should give GANYMEDE a shot. And for hardcore Priest fans, don’t worry: There’s still a bunch of walking dead moseying around the waterfront. Always a fun read.”
* Jennifer Weiner talks about her next novel (“The Next Best Thing” set in Hollywood), writers bullying writers and obsessions over at Carolineleavittville. (Caroline also reminds me that Weiner gave a kick-ass speech at the BEA that touched on social media and getting screwed by the media.
* While the news media likes to see itself as always truth-telling, always fearless, it’s important to reminded has easy it lets itself be subverted. Case in point: Syria.
* David Denby wonders at The New Yorker: “Can Dostoevsky Still Kick You in the Gut?”
* After eight years, Tom Wolfe is coming back with a new book, “Back to Blood,” set in Miami.
* Finally, one of my bookmarked sites is Letters of Note, which publishes correspondence of note. In the latest batch: Gene Wilder displays great fashion sense about Willy Wonka; mystery author Raymond Chandler gets wonderfully snarky about science-fiction (check out his parody, which a Google reference to boot); and Jan Wenner and Annie Liebovitz negotiate the terms of her iconic Rolling Stone covers.
Finally, a musical taste of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane.” While I love his version, let’s pass along the Cowboy Junkie’s cover.