Check out Ramona Ausubel discussing No One Is Here Except All of Us, the winner of the 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction over at Interview Magazine. Topics covered range from writing in the digital age to the influence of her grandmother and history on her fiction.
The article reads:
Writer Ramona Ausubel defies the harnesses of history in her debut novel, No One is Here Except All of Us. In 1939, an isolated Jewish village in Romania has a fantastical solution to the brutality of World War II: they pretend it doesn't exist. Characters shuffle jobs, spouses, even children; they restart their lives from day one, forgetting everything that came before. It's a nearly unbelievable premise, but the reality of the war eventually trespasses upon the village's willed ignorance and defeats their attempt at a fresh start. Human lives are not so easily altered—and old stories are not so easily forgotten. Ausubel follows her eleven-year-old narrator into adulthood, when she flees from her reclusive village to the real world. No One is Here Except All of Us is both a tale rooted in history and a dreamlike departure from reality. With lyrical prose and a poet's sensitivity, Ausubel weaves a story that is largely, itself, about stories.
Have you checked out any crowdfunded literary projects? Book Riot compiled this list of bookish Kickstarters worth checking out. This list included Books: A Documentary, Crooked from Broken Eye Books, Publishing Genius 2.0, and literary short films from Red 14 Films, a company that makes cinematic book trailers.
This article from Brain Pickings gives us an insight on French Polymath Henri Poincaré's observations on the powerful role of unconscious incubation in the creative process. The article reads:
From French polymath and pioneering mathematician Henri Poincaré — whose famous words on the nature of invention inspired the survey that gave us a glimpse of how Einstein’s genius works — comes a fascinating testament to the powerful role of this unconscious incubation in the creative process. In a chapter titled “Mathematical Creation” from his 1904 tome The Foundations of Science: Science and Hypothesis, the Value of Science, Science and Method, Poincaré observes a process profoundly applicable not only to mathematics, but to just about any creative discipline:
I wanted to represent these functions by the quotient of two series; this idea was perfectly conscious and deliberate; the analogy with elliptic functions guided me. I asked myself what properties these series must have if they existed, and succeeded without difficulty in forming the series I have called thetafuchsian.
Just at this time, I left Caen, where I was living, to go on a geologic excursion under the auspices of the School of Mines. The incidents of the travel made me forget my mathematical work. Having reached Coutances, we entered an omnibus to go some place or other. At the moment when I put my foot on the step, the idea came to me, without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it, that the transformations I had used to define the Fuchsian functions were identical with those of non-Euclidian geometry. I did not verify the idea; I should not have had time, as, upon taking my seat in the omnibus, I went on with a conversation already commenced, but I felt a perfect certainty. On my return to Caen, for conscience’ sake, I verified the result at my leisure.
"Imagine you are the object of your own poem."
Today on The Mark Blog is a PSA brought to you by Jade Sylvan on how to not write about women, a guide for men.
Well, this is it: the final blog post, the report on the Final Review, the last duty of The Mark Program. And what a wonderful Mark Program it has been. I still can’t believe that it’s ending.
In this 1975 short documentary "Henry Miller Asleep & Awake" writer Henry Miller takes a tour of his bathroom and his life.
Miller guides us through his bathroom, covered with photos and drawings collected by the author. He points out the highlights of both this gallery and his life in this documentary by Tom Schiller.
The thing about the end of The Mark Program is that I don’t know what comes next. Before this, there had been a number of logical steps: I completed my undergraduate degree, majoring in English; I participated in the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship; I went to graduate school for creative writing; and, most recently, I got to be a part of The Mark Program, which is now coming to a close. The next step, I suspect, is not so structured or clear-cut. I’ve never done it before and I’m not sure how it’s going to work, but I sense that it requires giving myself time, space, and, most of all, creative freedom to let loose and do the one thing that’s left: finish writing my novel.
Last week, in my Final Review for The Mark Program, I had the privilege of discussing my novel-in-progress with the committee, comprised as usual of our instructor Antoine Wilson, advisor Rob Roberge, and Program Manager Libby Flores. During this hour-long conversation, I gleaned a lot of valuable feedback, including the illuminating advice from Antoine that I’ve already created a world, characters, and circumstances; now, in the latter portion of the novel, it’s time to let the will of the protagonist Lillian determine the outcomes of these dynamics. In other words, the events have occurred and Lillian must react and face the consequences. It sounds obvious but, to me, it wasn’t. Also, I’m encouraged by the fact that the committee members supported the developments in the narrator’s voice. The novel is more certain about the fact that it’s told by a 15-year-old and, as such, more fully embodies Lillian’s point-of-view than it was at the beginning of the program. In this way, the constructive criticism and positive support from The Mark committee is helping to make the journey between the current draft and the finished draft ever clearer and, simultaneously, less intimidating.
That’s not to say that I’m not afraid of the unknown. I am—while also knowing that I’m better equipped to face it than I was eight months ago. The Mark Program has forced me to know Lillian better, to ask and answer difficult questions, and to shape the present draft of Look Away so that it’s beginning, perhaps, to feel a tad like a real novel. From here, I’m going to give myself the creative freedom to take risks and write with openness and fluidity, into the unknown.
Lastly, thank you for reading my blogs for these past months. It’s been an honor to share with you and I hope we meet again on the page.
George Saunders gave a convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013. We love this speech about the importance and complexity of kindness. Here's an excerpt pulled from the 6th Floor Blog on the New York Times.
"Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place."
"Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?
...Those who were kindest to you, I bet."
Joan Didion will be awarded with PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd Annual Literary Awards Festival on October 14, 2013. Click here to find out more about the 23rd Annual Literary Awards Festival.
In this short film excerpt directed by Griffin Dunne, Joan Didion reads a selection from the first chapter of her memoir Blue Nights.