Some things to note:
The Universe on Urban Honking has an interview with sci-fi author Mark von Schlegell:
“The novel will have to expand if we hope to keep track and take control of what these lives might mean, into dimensions it hasn’t even realized it’s had. When space travel is the norm, long hours of flight will best be filled by long novels, longer, I think than we even imagine. Presumably, off-Earth, 1/3 gravity will be the norm so we’ll be able actually to hold enormous books rather easily.”
He sounds like something else, let me tell you.
George Saunders’ latest article for GQ Magazine is contained within the January issue. It covers his travels along the entire US/Mexico border. It’s prefaced with a personal note from Mr. Saunders, in which he asks for donated money to go toward a wheelchair for a recently paralyzed undocumented worker. Read: The Great Divide.Or actually, don’t read it, because it’s not all online. GQ likes to present their stories as teasers on the website. So what to do? To buy the magazine itself, of course. I recently attempted to do this, and I write this here to register the unsatisfying results of such an attempt. None of the newstands I checked carry it. To put it frankly, I can’t find anyone selling GQ. So I guess I can’t read this article. GQ, if you’d like to expand your readership, you have a few options: expand your distribution; or put the entire article that many people want to read, and should read, online.
According to William T. Vollmann’s celebrated* review of Jarhead author, Anthony Swofford’s, debut novel, Exit A, that previous book, Jarhead begins in much the same way as Tim O’Brien’s great The Things They Carried. This is not coming from Vollmann; it’s coming from me.Vollmann notes that Swofford beings Jarhead by saying, “What follows is neither true nor false but what I know.”
If I remember correctly, O’Brien begins his book with a similar statement along the lines of, “Some things in this book may not be factually true, but they are all real.”
I’ll get that exact quote later. I suppose that grappling with the relationship between factual accuracy and the truths within a story is something that memoirish war-writing often has to do. To check if this checks out, check out Garry Trudeau’s outstanding MilBlog repository, The Sandbox. I strongly recommend checking out The Sandbox.
*Read a vibrant discussion of Vollmann’s review over at MetaxuCafe.
There’s currently a writing contest going on at McSweeney’s. The deadline is Jan. 22, so write right now! To enter, pick one of the unpicked story ideas that F. Scott Fitzgerald devised but never fully realized, and use it to create a story. Fun! I’m eager to discover if the winning story will be a creative story about writing a story, as the winning stories have been for the last three contests I’ve entered. Let’s hope not!