Posted in books, creative writing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog

a dense but colorful concrete jungle

Today I walked through a Dense but not boring Concrete Jungle.

dense concrete world I bought the book for a young person. But it was left in my house for a long time. So one recent day I decided to buy some coloring pencils and tried out this pass time activity. The first picture was a rather futuristic one and my audience did not comment so I knew it was really not presentable. I did a second one without recognizing the objects until I finished and took a picture and read the small heading which labeled “Bon Voyage”. I realized then I was coloring a whole lot of sails on waves! Someone sent a few claps. So I was encouraged to do a third one. This is the result and I finished it on time for this week’s picture, “dense”.

When I first looked at the densely packed buildings in this concrete jungle I really had no clue what colors I should use to make it a bit more cheerful looking. So I just picked whatever color pencils I pulled out from the pack at odd time when I was taking a break from my usual writing or translating work. Often it was after a meal. It became quite fun as I was amused by the colors that come out at random after a while.

I like to imagine what kind of people would reside in such colors. Would they like the colors? I imagine myself as a friendly giant who tries to be helpful by breaking the monotony of the colorless world through splashing bright colors at random on people’s houses. Perhaps he is trying to cheer up some home alone children who look out of their tiny windows. I hope they like the colors. Being fictional characters they can swap house if they prefer the colors of their neighbor’s house and vice versa of course.

Advertisements
Posted in books, photography, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

writing about life in crisis

Crisislife in crisis
Lately I realize the more I look at life being lived by others the more I value my own. Writing about others’ lives is not a pleasant task. Often we see the imperfections and the should-have-been scenarios. Before the explosive and swift takeover of the world by digital technology which broke through all geographical barriers and rendered all physical boundaries useless in terms of sharing of instant visual and audio thoughts and perceptions, we read news which were not news. But today we read news as they come into being somewhere faraway and yet real, real suffering, discriminations, and hate crime being perpetrated by evil right in front of our eyes manifesting digitally.

I may ask, who are these people? Why do they hate so much? We read of who they are superficially in the news. What are the factors that drive them to killing out of hatred? We read of the usual socio-economic-racial-religious-class-color-power distribution factors. All these factors cannot answer the question why others under the same categories do not hate or kill others, and why the particular person or group of persons hate and kill innocent people.

The rules of war have been altered as each national boundary has been invaded through borderless ideologies and beliefs. When we read further and ponder the issue deeper we realize that it is the borderless infiltration of the mind that is the culprit. How do we close our mind border? This is the real question today.

This picture was taken in a winter in a foreign land. The bush/grass had lost their life giving green color. The birds continued fishing in the shallow brook. They co-existed. The bush/grass continued to shelter the birds. I just read that a young person stabbed to death 19 people and injured 26 in a stabbing spree at a facility for disabled people. It was reported that the young man who was a former staff considered them unfit to live. They were deemed disqualified to live because they were not as perfect as he wanted them to be. Where did he get the idea who are perfect to live? Where did he see pictures of physically perfect people whom he worshipped as idols/icons?

I remember the book Lord of the Flies, a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British plane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. The book portrays their descent into savagery; left to themselves in a paradisiacal country, far from modern civilization, the well-educated children regress to a primitive state.

This is a prophetic book that tells of a future-today’s world in crisis.

Posted in books, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

Nightmare and memory

Nightmare
hassam_tuileries_gardensparis cafeWH Smith Paris
What was I doing that sad night when it happened to the “City of Victory”? I tried to recall. It was just an ordinary night and I was thousands of miles away from NICE (its name means victory). It was meant to be a day of national celebration. I then remembered the day July 14, a certain long gone year, when I was in Paris. That was my first Bastille day.

A colleague with the name Henriette(Pronounced “On-Yet”) called and told me they were going to watch the parade. “Please come. I will meet you at the Champs-Elysées Clemenceau Metro.” She met me and explained to me the excitement I should see that day, “The French national holiday on July 14th is a huge celebratory event in Paris. From morning to night, a raft of exceptional events make this anniversary an especially festive one. With a military parade, evenings with dancing, and a fireworks display, there is something for all tastes and ages.”

It was a fun day. Henriette was helpful and tried her best to be a good guide. I was new to her country and she was determined to play the hostess that day. We had ice cream and snacks. We bought paper periscope so we can view the parade through the mass of human walls. We watched all sorts of street performances. She told me that the folks from the provinces came too as a special day out for the family. Later we decided to find a spot at a cafe along the street at Champs-Elysées and just rest our feet. We walked miles that day. There were crowds of mixed nationalities everywhere. I could hear many different languages being spoken. Henriette told me that there were many from many parts of French colonies in Africa. Of course, most of them spoke French. I was tired and decided not to stay for fireworks.

I went alone later to the Tuileries Garden towards the evening. There was music in the air. Then I regretted not going to WH Smith, the largest English bookshop in Paris since 1903. I had a studio near the Eiffel Tower and the Tuileries Garden. I went to the garden every Saturday and sat there, just reading. There were always some old people round. I was probably the youngest person in their midst. But we were regulars and we greeted each other. The ground in spring time was covered with tiny yellow flowers. One day I decided to buy a pot of African violet as recommended by my South African colleague Gillian. The violet flower lasted until I was ready to leave Paris.

Coming home my dreams have always been sweet and gentle. I cannot recall a nightmare with Paris. The books, the cafes, the gardens, walks and the people are sweet and gentle in my memory.

Posted in blogging, books, creative writing, God's blessing, life of riches and honor, literary magazines and publishing, thoughts, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

writing with an aim

winter and branches
Writing without an aim is like taking this winter picture of bare branches at random while strolling by. Is it essential to have an aim? I believe so. HERE ARE SOME DEFINITIONS of AIM:
Objective, object, goal, end, target, design, desire, desired result, intention, intent, plan, purpose, object of the exercise; ambition, aspiration, wish, dream, hope, raison d’être.

I ask myself, “Why do I write this little note daily? What is my aim?” My answer is, “I need the practice.” Blogging is an effective way to practice writing and keeping your brain working a bit. Reading and writing are still the more tested way of keeping a person’s brain cells exercising a bit and not falling into stupor for too long to the point of eventual incapacity. A point of no return. The more reluctance one feels the more one should try to write and read. One way of learning to write is to copy. Take your favorite book and start copying chapters. Make it a daily habit. Another way is to write a letter to a loved one. You may not get to post the letter but it does keep you going and building a habit. I just read of someone who actually hand writes to many people. Over the years many have received and even collected his handwritten letter and notes. Some frame them up. (You know who the person is as he is in the news right now.) I have not posted a physical letter for years. Even my email has been replaced by short social text or multimedia messages. But I find that the short messages do not take brainwork to compose. It is more like clicking at random and giving automatic pre-programmed short replies.

When I interview some persons I find that they have nothing to say. They are not even capable to think. They have nothing to say about themselves or others. Their minds do not store words. I note that they spend the bulk of the interview time messaging or reading messages on their mobile handheld phone including iPads, iPhones and other smart phones. I find it sad to look at them or think about their lives. Can a man or woman happily leave out a big part of what God has perfectly created and designed for them to have and enjoy? I often wonder. Please do not get me wrong. I am not judging the rightness or wrongness of a lifestyle. I am just lamenting the loss of quality of life that God has given so richly to each of us as human.

Writers ad poets like to dream that one day the whole earth will be filled with readers of books. I am one of such dreamers.

Posted in blogging, books, creative writing, literary magazines and publishing, writer's blog, writing

Do we still need writers?

woman reading Irish copyToo often I write without thinking of what I shall do with the written words. When the words come, perhaps even at midnight I just sit up and write. I am doing a book in another language at the same time but it is based on a book already formed and written in English so the translated work is only a partial writing as I add new information I have since uncovered in my research and interviews. For that book I know the target audience so it is not exactly like writing without a direction.

But when it comes to my thoughts in words at midnight I have no audience except myself. I read yesterday that the traditional publishers of physically printed books have to collaborate with providers of e-technology so that the books can be published online or in other multi-media forms. The increasing spectacular growth in online internet environment and mobile-phone and portable hand-held e-book reading gadgets trend warrants that the traditional publishers change drastically and involve themselves in strategic alliance with paperless technology professionals.

Whilst the technology gadgets are dazzling and convenient for the young users and perhaps readers of books, the contents of books still cannot be replaced by gadgets. Content counts. That is why we still write. There is still hope for a content writer.

Posted in books, creative writing, life of riches and honor, literary magazines and publishing, photography, writer's blog, writing

Some people walk away from you. A few march with you.

jeffrey-archer-mary-archer
Jeffrey and Mary Archer

“Some people standby you in your darkest hour while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“We all make mistakes but one has to move on.”
“If you make a deal with a fool, don’t be surprised when they act foolishly.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“I find I don’t learn a lot while I’m talking”
“While there may not be a book in every one of us, there is so often a damned good short story.”
“Are parents always more ambitious for their children than they are for themselves?”
― Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth
“There are defining moments in one’s life when you learn about yourself, and you deposit that knowledge in the experience account, so you can draw on it at some later date.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Best Kept Secret
“Making a million legally has always been difficult. Making a million illegally has always been a little easier. Keeping a million when you have made it is perhaps the most difficult of all.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
“It’s one of the ironies of mountaineering,’ said Young, ‘that grown men are happy to spend months preparing for a climb, weeks rehearsing and honing their skills, and at least a day attempting to reach the summit. And then, having achieved their goal, they spend just a few moments enjoying the experience, along with one or two equally certifiable companions who have little in common other than wanting to do it all again, but a little higher.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Paths of Glory
“The sign of a great man is how you handle defeat. – Old Jack”
― Jeffrey Archer, Best Kept Secret
“No, Mr Redmayne, not my tears. Although I’ve read that letter every day for the past eight months, those tears were not shed by me, but by the man who wrote them. He knew how much I loved him. We would have made a life together even if we could only spend one day a month with each other. I’d have been happy to wait twenty years, more, in the hope that I would eventually be allowed to spend the rest of my life with the only man I’ll ever love. I adored Danny from the day I met him, and no one will ever take his place.”
― Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth
“If you have talent and energy, you’re king. If you have only energy and no talent, you’re still a prince. But if you have talent and no energy, you’re a pauper.”
“You can often judge the character of a person by the way he treats his fellow men.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“only a fool blames the messenger.”
Mary Archer: ‘Jeffrey asked from jail if I wanted a divorce, but I’m not a quitter’
‘Hang on, hang on.” Dame Mary Archer is determined to interrupt her husband Lord Archer in mid-flow as he tells a story about the deal he did with her father to let her carry on with a career as a chemist after their marriage. “If I might be allowed…” she tells him in school-mistressy tones, fixing him with a look from across the drawing room of the Old Vicarage at Grantchester. But the bestselling novelist, entrepreneur, former politician, charity fundraiser and ex-prisoner is taking no notice. “You’ve said enough already,” he barks back, and the couple simultaneously burst out laughing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.
He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married to Mary Archer, a scientist specialising in solar power. Outside politics, he is a novelist, playwright and short story writer.

Posted in blogging, books, creative writing, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog, writing

“If I decided to send this to you, where would I send it? “

alice munro young
Alice Munro 

This is often my own question too. When I decide to write something for someone I really care and even love, I do not know where to send the words of love. I hesitate because it is painful to think of another life where we might have had together and know that it is no longer possible now. Here are some random thoughts from Alice Munro, who looks at ordinary lives and put words to them.

“If I decided to send this to you, where would I send it? When I think of writing the whole address on the envelope I am paralyzed. It’s too painful to think of you in the same place with your life going on in the same way, minus me. And to think of you not there, you somewhere else but I don’t know where that is, is worse.”
― Alice Munro, The Love of a Good Woman

“Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind… When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.”
― Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang onto it. You must not let yourself be waylaid, and have it taken from you.”
― Alice Munro, Runaway
“Love removes the world for you, and just as surely when it’s going well as when it’s going badly.”
― Alice Munro, The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose
“They were all in their early thirties. An age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.”
― Alice Munro, The Moons of Jupiter
“She sits in her usual ample armchair, with piles of books and unopened magazines around her. She sips cautiously from the mug of weak herb tea which is now her substitute for coffee. At one time she thought that she could not live without coffee, but it turned out that it is really the warm large mug she wants in her hands, that is the aid to thought or whatever it is she practices through the procession of hours, or of days.”
― Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

Alice Ann Munro, née Laidlaw, is a Canadian short-story writer who is widely considered one of the world’s premier fiction writers. Munro is a three-time winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction. Her stories focus on human relationships looked at through the lens of daily life. She has thus been referred to as “the Canadian Chekhov.”
She is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Posted in books, creative writing, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

random quotes on “stories”

CP50289_FDC_CoverV3.indd
Alice Munro -Canada Post

“A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.”
― Alice Munro, Selected Stories, 1968-1994
“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”
― Terry Pratchett
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”
― Virginia Woolf
“That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day
“…the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.
That is their mystery and their magic.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
“It’s impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
“All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel.
All of them?
Sure, he says. Think about it. There’s escaping from the wolves, fighting the wolves, capturing the wolves, taming the wolves. Being thrown to the wolves, or throwing others to the wolves so the wolves will eat them instead of you. Running with the wolf pack. Turning into a wolf. Best of all, turning into the head wolf. No other decent stories exist.”
― Margaret Atwood
“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn’t that make life a story?”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
“Stories–individual stories, family stories, national stories–are what stitch together the disparate elements of human existence into a coherent whole. We are story animals.”
― Yann Martel, Beatrice and Virgil
“Endings to be useful must be inconclusive.”
― Samuel R. Delany

David Crystal
story
People tell stories about their stories at literature festivals. It’s interesting how the meaning of this word has come full circle. Originally, in the 13th century, stories had to be true: the word was a synonym for ‘history’—indeed, it came from Latin historia. But very soon it was applied to stories alleged to be true, and then (by the 16th century) to stories that were definitely not true. Today, the original meaning seems to be reasserting itself: I’ve lost track of the number of historical television programmes called “The story of something-or-other.” Maybe it’s time to resuscitate the verb use too: in the 16th century, there was a splendid usage: to story forth, meaning ‘to proclaim the story of.’ It’s what happens in dictionaries and thesauruses, after all. Which reminds me of the story that Eric Partridge tells, in The Gentle Art of Lexicography, of the old lady who borrowed a dictionary from the town library. She returned it with the comment: “A very unusual book indeed—but the stories are extremely short, aren’t they?”

Posted in books, literary magazines and publishing, writer's blog, writing

Eloquence in her writing

cynthia ozickReading good writings by others helps us to write better. Reading is enjoyable in itself even when we cannot write. Each reader has his or her particular likes and dislikes. I personally like reading Jewish writing. I decide to post some quotes about writing from Cynthia Ozick (1928-) today as I have just read her short story titled,”Envy; or, Yiddish in America”. She is a writer of fiction and also publishes critical essays, poetry and plays. She is one of the most celebrated Jewish American writers. I marvel at the eloquence she displays in her writing. Where do all those words come from? Perhaps reading some of her quotes we may catch a glimpse of her secret. I fully agree with her: “Read, read, read.”

Her Quotes about writing and novel:
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
“No one can teach writing, but classes may stimulate the urge to write. If you are born a writer, you will inevitably and helplessly write. A born writer has self-knowledge. Read, read, read. And if you are a fiction writer, don’t confine yourself to reading fiction. Every writer is first a wide reader.

“If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.”
“A writer is dreamed and transfigured into being by spells, wishes, goldfish, silhouettes of trees, boxes of fairy tales dropped in the mud, uncles’ and cousins’ books, tablets and capsules and powders…and then one day you find yourself leaning here, writing on that round glass table salvaged from the Park View Pharmacy–writing this, an impossibility, a summary of who you came to be where you are now, and where, God knows, is that?”

“To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination”
“This is what travelers discover: that when you sever the links of normality and its claims, when you break off from the quotidian, it is the teapots that truly shock.”
“I write in terror…I have to talk myself into bravery with every sentence, sometimes every syllable.”

“What does the novel know? It has no practical or educational aim; yet it knows what ordinary knowledge cannot seize. The novel’s intricate tangle of character-and-incident alights on the senses with a hundred cobwebby knowings fanning their tiny threads, stirring up nuances and disclosures. The arcane designs and driftings of metaphor – what James called the figure in the carpet, what Keats called negative capability, what Kafka called explaining the inexplicable – are that the novel knows.”

“An author’s extraliterary utterance (blunt information), prenovel or postnovel, may infiltrate journalism; it cannot touch the novel itself. Fiction does not invent out of a vacuum, but it invents; and what it invents is, first, the fabric and cadence of language, and then a slant of idea that sails out of these as a fin lifts from the sea. The art of the novel (worn yet opulent phrase) is in the mix of idiosyncratic language – language imprinted in the writer, like the whorl of a fingertip – and an unduplicable design inscribed on the mind by character and image. Invention has little capacity for the true-to-life snapshot. It is true to its own stirrings.”

“On a gray afternoon I sit in a silent room and contemplate din. In the street a single car passes – a rapid bass vowel – and then it is quiet again. So what is this uproar, this hubbub, this heaving rumble of zigzag static I keep hearing? This echo chamber spooling out spirals of chaos? An unmistakable noise as clearly mine as fingerprint or twist of DNA: the thrum of regret, of memory, of defeat, of mutability, of bitter fear, made up of shame and ambition and anger and vanity and wishing. The soundtrack of a movie of the future, an anticipatory ribbon of scenes long dreaded, of daydreams without a prayer of materializing. Or else: the replay of unforgotten conversations, humiliating, awkward, indelible. Mainly it is the buzz of the inescapably mundane, the little daily voice that insists and insists: right now, not now, too late, too soon, why not, better not, turn it on, turn it off, notice this, notice that, be sure to take care of, remember not to. The nonstop chatter that gossips, worries, envies, invokes, yearns, condemns, self-condemns.”
― Cynthia Ozick, The Din in the Head

~~~~~~~~~~~
Definition of eloquence: fluency, articulateness, expressiveness, silver tongue, persuasiveness, forcefulness, power, potency, effectiveness; oratory, rhetoric, grandiloquence, magniloquence; informal gift of (the) gab, way with words.

Posted in books, God's blessing, literary magazines and publishing, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

all about my editor friends: two ships

2 rabbits oakland zooHow to find a good editor? I have several good ones. Why several? Each for a specific genre of writing. One for each language too. If you are writing in two languages you will need editors conversant in each specific language. In terms of genre you just cannot mix up. For example, how can an atheist understand anything about Christianity? And vice versa. The depth and breadth of the editor is important too. I first encountered two editor friends in my younger days, working for two rivaling big newspapers. Both attended the same church! Both were in charge of the literature section. Later one was promoted to the section for the Editorial/Opinion columnists/contributors on politics,business,economics and social commentary etc. I was thus given a chance to contribute a variety of articles and get published. I was not aware of their professions until we were rather close friends. They knew I could write and they volunteered to read and publish for me. They even delivered the monetary payments to me together with the acknowledgement slips I needed to sign. Thinking back, I recall more of our friendship and the quality time we had spent together as friends standing for/with each other through thick and thin times. I was not really that concerned with whether my articles were published or not.  Often they had to keep reminding me to write so they could do something for me. What did I do for them? Lots of stuff that mattered to them. We grew together in our respective professions. I was fully engaged in the corporate fast-track. One of them got married and settled down in juggling her editorial (for a national newspaper) and family career (‘raising’ a husband and one son). Another one joined a big national Christian counseling publisher. I went on to where I am today, moving from one fast-track to another and eventually settling onto this relaxed narrow lane of writing as an amateur but almost full time. Sometimes I happen to pass by their cities and manage a call in the airport. Often I don’t. We just get on with each of our lives with a memory of a good time together. The time we were. From a long term perspective, I am touched today to quote the following from a poetic metaphor by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882):

1874, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn, part 3, section 4:
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

Posted in Bible verses, books, God's blessing, literary magazines and publishing, photography, power of words, thoughts, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

a writing contest between the sexes?

a backyard viewI have my suspicion confirmed when I read this following information about who the avid readers are and how female writers fare compared to male counterparts in terms of reviews and publicity. The statistics tells a story of the tough reality some or most women, in this case, writers, face in our society. You may wish to do some research on your own over the internet. It is interesting to note that there are more women readers than men in Britain. What makes the British women read more? This is a worthy topic to research into. Do women read reviews and buy books accordingly? Or do they have their own mind and ignore the critics? Interesting. This reminds me of the famous Bible character Mary who ignored the male critics and insisted on pouring her priceless perfume over her Lord as her highest form of appreciation and honor. The rest is history.

The following are quotes/excerpts:
Quotes from: Research shows male writers still dominate books world : Statistics from US campaigners Vida confirm dramatic gender imbalance in literary critics and the authors reviewed (The Guardian, February 4, 2011)

“The gender imbalance at the heart of the British and American literary establishment has been laid bare by a new study confirming that leading literary magazines focus their review coverage on books written by men, and commission more men than women to write about them. Statistics compiled by Vida, an American organisation for women in the literary arts, found gender imbalances in every one of the publications cited, ”

Quotes from: Male writers continue to dominate literary criticism, Vida study finds (The Guardian, April 7, 2015)

“The continuing bias towards men in the British and American literary establishment has been confirmed by a study released on Tuesday. Vida, a US organisation championing women in literature, examined a wide range of publications from both sides of the Atlantic, including.., and found that in 2014 the majority still had heavily male-centred literary coverage, both in their use of reviewers and the books that were reviewed. The figures are at odds with the publishing industry in the UK, where some of the biggest-selling authors of 2014 were Hilary Mantel, Donna Tartt and Kate Mosse. Women are also responsible for buying two-thirds of the books sold in Britain and figures compiled in 2009 found almost 50% of women were avid readers, compared with 26% of men.

The figures did show a gradual but still notable shift. Of the 15 major magazines surveyed, 14 had seen an increase in content by women over the past year, and for the first time in at least five years the New York Times Book Review had more female reviewers than male ones – an increase of 41 from the year before. Similarly the New Yorker had 17 more female contributors than in 2013, continuing a five-year trend, while in Granta original submissions were split almost equally between female and male writers.”

Erin Belieu, the co-founder of Vida, said: “We want editors, readers and writers to be aware of their habits and open their mind to other voices, and we at Vida do really think that is genuinely happening. And I would say overall we have seen a lot of positive trends over the duration of the five years we’ve compiled these these figures. Absolutely there is still this gender bias inherent in literary magazines. We are talking about people who have done things a certain way for many years and literary magazines tend to be places where one vision gets put forward and even commissioning editors can get trapped in this culture. But generationally I think it is a problem that is going to be taking care of itself more and more. People under the age of 40 have been raised in an entirely different environment.” She added: “Is it true that women are raised to feel culturally very uncomfortable putting themselves forward? Maybe not as true as it used to be – but of course it still has an impact. But we see Vida as a form of erosion, making gradual but permanent change.”

The Latest: a better picture:

Female authors make inroads at major publications – survey
Bylines by women at the New York Times Book Review and the New Republic are among the ‘dramatic increases’ over the last year, according to Vida’s annual survey of the publishing gender split (The Guardian, March 31, 2016)

For the first time, this year’s Vida count also looked at female reviewers and authors’ race and ethnicity, sexual identity and ability after surveying almost 700 female writers, finding that straight, white, able-bodied women were best represented. In these respects, some female writers better represented in print, Vida said in its report, asking: “To what extent is the status quo rendered bankrupt by such glaring absences? If the literary landscape is dominated by specific groups, how can we be healthy as a society and benefit from both our differences and commonalities? Isn’t one of literature’s effects to humanise populations beyond our own?”

Posted in Bible verses, books, copywriter, literary magazines and publishing, photography, thoughts, writing

foundation laying in Spring

Spring nearA friend sent me a series of audio lessons on the ministry of words. Focused teaching on how to be a profitable and successful ghost-writer/commercial copy-writer/editor/consultant/writing for fund raising etc. I am thankful. Occasionally I get invited to write for a church or a non-profit organization the appeal letter or web pages for donations to good course. The lecturer started as a humble unknown script and ad writer and went on to join a Christian organization to be their pamphlet and online web-page writer for sometime before he was finally given an opening to ghost-write an autobiography for a world famous evangelist. he has since been commissioned to write more books under that big name. He is of course now lecturing and having his own consultancy for others in the same writing industry. Will any of the others get this kind of exposure and opportunity? I have no answer. I have forwarded an article of his to another person struggling to raise funds for the Christian charity organization he is currently attached to. Knowing and actually producing results are two different things. I know from my own experience. One trusted way of learning is hands-on practicing what we learn. I am thankful for the exposure and opportunity I have personally encountered. My advice to my readers is, “Hands on and press on.” My personal conviction: Never look down on even a small opening. I never know what the next turn will bring. I like the analogy of building a house. I start by laying a foundation. A small opening is like adding a rock to the foundation. It counts.

Zechariah 48 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
9 “The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;[a]
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

Posted in books, creative writing, literary magazines and publishing, power of words, thoughts, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog, writing

top 50 of the class: to publish or not to publish

50litmagazineI decided to post a list of the Top 50 Literary Magazine from online source. Please check them out to see if any suits your needs for publishing and exposure as a writer/potential writer/poet. I have not read all. Some of those I have read are good. Please do not be overly concerned with the ranking by the source which compiled this list. For those who are Christian writers and those who believe in prayers, pray for guidance.

(The following information and suggestion are quoted/excerpted from: http://www.everywritersresource.com/topliterarymagazines.html)

“The most important criteria we used this time was date of founding, number of national anthologies publications (and we looked at a lot of them), and the quality of work of and names of passed greats published in the magazines. The purpose of this list is to help writers find a place to publish their writing that will get them some recognition. It gives the authors more opportunity for exposure. Also these magazines tend to have a very good name in literary circles.
We have a suggestion. Go down this list and pick out a literary magazine that takes online submissions. Go to their site and submit your work. Also while you are there buy a subscription. Support those who support writers.”

Top 50 Literary Magazine

New Yorker
The best of the best. We didn’t have any commercial magazines on our last list, but it was a shame to leave this literary magazine out. It is one the oldest and the most honored magazine of all. Started in the 1920s and has a circulation of over a million readers. Online submissions
Ploughshares
Founded in 1971 Ploughshares is our best and highest ranked university non-commercial literary magazine. It is more honored by national anthologies than any other magazine except the New Yorker. Ploughshares is excellent and outstanding. Online submissions
The Atlantic
Founded in 1857 and often honored by national anthologies. This is another outstanding commercial magazine with a very large circulation of about 400,000 readers. Submissions by email.
Harper’s Magazine
Founded in 1850 and always well honored. It is an outstanding commercial literary magazine with a circulation of 220,000 readers. Submissions by email
Tin House
Started in 1998 but quickly became one of the best and best known literary magazines in the country. It has been honored by national anthologies more times than many literary magazine that have been publishing for over 100 years.
Paris Review
The Paris Review started in 1953 and is one of the best known literary magazines in the world. It is always publishing great authors and great works. No online submissions.
New England Review
Started in 1978 and is one of the best known and best loved literary magazines in the country. It is outstanding. Online submission by payment.
Georgia Review
Started in 1947 and has won many awards. It is a great literary magazine that publishes great authors and great works. No online submissions.
Kenyon Review
One of the best literary magazines in the country. You can always find great writers in its pages. Started in 1939. The magazine is one of the best out there, always. Submissions online.
Five Points
Is published by Georgia State university and is in our top 10 of these 50 for being always in national anthologies and winning awards. Founded in 1996 still less than 20 years old but a great literary magazine. Online submissions
Threepenny Review
Founded in 1980 and one of the best literary magazines out there. It’s always in national anthologies and winning awards. Online submissions
Antioch Review
Publishes great authors and great writing. It has been published by Antioch College since 1941. We love the Antioch review. They are in our database, and an outstanding literary magazine. No online submission
Callaloo
A journal publishing great authors and great works. Founded in 1976. Online submissions
Virginia Quarterly Review
One of the very best journals out there. This journal is often honored. Published by The University of Virginia since 1925. Online submissions
Southern Review
A great literary magazine. No online submissions
Conjunctions
An outstanding literary magazine. No Online submissions.
Epoch
Published by Cornell University since 1947 and always publishes great authors and great writing. No online submissions.
Granta
An outstanding literary magazine that has been publishing since 1889. They are honored with awards often. No online submissions.
Gettysburg Review
Founded in 1988 this literary magazine has been honored and talked about in national press often. Great work from great authors. No Online submissions
Cincinnati Review
Started in 2003 this literary magazine has published many outstanding authors and outstanding work. No online submissions.
Yale Review
For 100 years this literary magazine has published great works by great authors. It’s always worth a read and a submission. No online submissions.
Southwest Review
This literary magazine can trace its roots back to 1915. Published by Southern Methodist University. The magazine is always publishing great work. No online submissions.
Hudson Review
Founded in 1947 this literary magazine publishes outstanding work and authors. No online submissions.
Triquarterly
Founded in 1958 Triquarterly has always published great work. The magazine is honored often by national anthologies. Online submissions.
Crazy Horse
This literary magazine has been publishing great authors since 1960. We really enjoy Crazy Horse Magazine. This is a rare gem among many magazines of its kind. They are old school, so to speak. We recommend you buy a copy. Online submissions.
Iowa Review
Founded in 1970 this literary magazine publishing great work again and again. No online submissions.
Agni
Published by Boston University since 1972. This literary journal is always publishing great work. Online submissions.
Alaska Quarterly Review
Founded in 1980 and published at the University of Alaska of Anchorage. The magazine publishes great work. No online submissions
Mcsweeney’s
This magazine was founded in 1988 and has a large following. They also publish book. The literary magazine publishes great names in writing. Online submissions.
Shenandoah
This literary magazine began publishing in 1949 and is one of the very best. No online submissions.
Boulevard
The literary magazine has been publishing great work since 1985. It’s one of the best. Online submissions.
Harvard Review
Has been publishing outstanding work since 1986. Online submissions.
Fence
This literary magazine has been publishing great work since 1998. Online submissions.
American Scholar
An outstanding literary magazine since 1999. Online submissions
Subtropics
This literary magazine has only been publishing for 6 years, but has been honored so many times it made our list. No online submissions.
Witness
First published in 1987 the literary magazine has come on strong lately with many honors. Online submissions.
Volt
Published since 1991 this magazine is always coming up with great work. On online submissions.
Glimmer Train
Glimmer Train is only way down here at 38 because they do not publish poetry. Most of our numbers that go into this list are based on awards and anthologies, and magazines on our list take a big hit for only publishing Short stories or only poetry. It’s not a perfect method. Glimmer Train is one of the best literary magazines in the country. If they published poetry they would most-likely be in the top 10.
Prairie Schooner
This literary magazine has been publishing since 1927 and is one of the very best. Their new website is very well done, and they now take online submissions!
The Missouri Review
Since 1978 this magazine has won many honors and has published great works by great authors. The Missouri Review is one of those old . Online submissions.
Oxford Review
The journal was founded in the 1970s and is always publishing great works. No online submissions.
Bomb
The literary magazine has been publishing since 1981 and always has great authors. No online submissions.
A Public Space
Was founded in 2006 but has won many honors in the short time it has been publishing. Online submissions.
Chicago Review
Founded in 1946 this literary magazine is always publishing great works. No online submissions.
Connecticut Review
An outstanding literary magazine. No online submissions.
Black Warrior Review
This literary magazine was founded in 1947 and always publishes great works. The Black Warrior Review is always publishing outstanding works by amazing authors. We are big fans of this unique and long standing magazine. Online submissions.
American Poetry Review
This literary magazine only publishes poetry and was founded in 1976. It is one of the top 2 poetry magazines in the country. No online submissions.
Poetry
The best poetry magazine in the country. Founded in 1912 and always publishing great poets. Online submissions.
Barrow Street
The literary magazine only publishing poetry and was founded in 1998. One of the best. No online submissions.
Massachusetts Review
One of the very best. Founded in 1959 and is always publishing great work. Online submissions.

Posted in Bible verses, books, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

we don’t have to understand all

20140815 traveling perspectiveWriter of biography or even memoir has the dilemma that she or he must know all. I have made the same mistakes. One thing I now realize and accept is that I do not know all. I cannot know all. I do not need to know all. If the person who tells the story of her life has selective recalls of her past, it is her choice. If she does not know how to tell but she is willing, I can still extract the facts and reflections from her. But if she chooses to forget, discard and retain segments here and there, and the end product cannot be whole, it is still her story. As writer we may try as a good and conscientious craftsman or a portrait painter. At best we piece together the broken fragments of her life and put them together by putting in lots of filler parts to make it appear whole. What are the filler parts of a persons life? Often we run out of facts, assuming what we hear from the interviewees or read from historical records preserved by persons are accurate historical recalls, even after interviewing many of her friends, relatives and people who used to know her in her past. What do we do to fill in the blanks? A good writer is like the script writer, musician, camera man, sound effect man, director, producer all in one. She puts in other scenes. Related or unrelated. Add richness to the plot. Colors. Interests. Drama. Background music. A book of memoir is like a movie in many ways after all. Some becomes epic. Some a mere storm in a tea cup. As for me, I flow with the flow of time and space. I listen to the wind that blows at the time. I watch the passion or passionless presentation of a soul who wants to bare and recall her pain and joy. I record the heart and not the face. Does it become an epic movie? Not my concern. I merely copy (a person’s life) and write (the person’s book). In a way I am a traveler. I travel through another person’s story and perhaps leave my momentary fleeting mark. Perhaps fixing up the stage props and then I shall move on.

Isaiah 60:15 “Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations.