Travellers In Europa: 05-Cecilia In Konopiste
Travellers In Europa: 06-Susie In Ljubljana
Travellers In Europa: 07-Marcel In Nice
Travellers In Europa: 08-Ingrid In Opatija
Travellers In Europa: 09-Charles In Oxford
Travellers In Europa: 10-Sylvie In Piran
Your Man Friday’s Ideas: Into The Abyss
The abyss may be dark and seemingly hostile, but it is full of incredible wonders. And as Robert Ballard points out in his TED talk, we haven’t even begun to explore 2/3rds of our planet just miles away from us.
Man Friday links here: http://kenstange.com/yourmanfriday/?p=1593
Travellers In Europa: 11-Herodotus In Riga
Travellers In Europa: 12-Ivan In Saint Petersburg
Travellers In Europa: 13-Henri In Telc
Travellers In Europa: 14-Rosaline In Venice
Travellers in Europa: Book
For anyone interested in a fine art book of the Travellers In Europa series, ordering information can be found here:
Avoid Travel Guides
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” ― Laozi
Writers and artists are always looking for new material, and travel is certainly one of the easiest ways to find it. Perhaps that is why so many of them live such peripatetic lives.
However, you won’t find much that is new at traditional tourist sites. Signing up for an organized tour only really gives you the opportunity to see already familiar places in 3-D—and then only briefly. The interesting places are off the beaten path.
And travelling with enough money to stay at familiar and comfortable hotels works against new experiences. The great experiences are to be had at cheap pensiones and rooms rented in private residences.
Food and drink are important parts of everyday life everywhere. These days it is easy to find familiar (and boring) food venues just about anywhere. (MacDonald’s, for example, has invaded the most distant places.) But the most novel and exciting food is street food or what is served at local inexpensive restaurants.
Your Man Friday’s Ideas: Unfrequented Tourist Destinations
There is something paradoxical about travel. Tourists travel to visit places very different from those at home, but those places are the destination of most tourists. But tourists don’t like to go to places that are full of tourists! Here are few solutions to that problem.
Man Friday links here: http://kenstange.com/yourmanfriday/?p=1603
Writers’ Support Groups
There are support groups for people suffering from all manner of physical and emotional problems, addiction being among them. So where the hell is the support group for those with writing addiction?
Just kidding, of course, but it is true that most writers need, or at least could use, a little emotional support. They probably get it to some extent from other writers they happen to know, but given the general indifference to literary endeavour, it is nice if they have some support from others not ‘suffering’ from the same addiction.
But writing is such a solitary profession, where can they find it?
Family Life, Family Strife
Imagine marrying someone who not only doesn’t bring home the bacon, but not even enough cash to pay for one egg a week, and yet still spends his (or her) time alone doing something that most people think of as a ‘hobby’. (Imagine your spouse hiding in a room for most of the day building model airplanes or poring over a stamp collection.) The writer’s spouse has to really believe in the importance of the writing. And even those who do must surely find their patience tested when time with them or family seems to be treated as of secondary importance.
Sadly, poetry is probably the least valued literary endeavour for most people, and it certainly is the least likely to ever provide a living wage. I personally know, or at least know about, a lot of poets. Those that are not divorced are as rare as poets who make a living just writing poetry.
Poet Married To Poet
Writers’ biographies actually sell—if they have turbulent lives. And, of course, lives ending in suicide are especially intriguing. A poet whose life many people know about is Sylvia Path. She was married to Ted Hughes, another poet, who is often blamed for her death. (Both are fine poets, but probably more people have read about their relationship than have read their poems.)
One might naively assume that because both so valued poetry, their relationship would be good. But it should be remembered that given the lack of general support for a life of writing poetry, the poet has to have an overblown ego to survive. It is hard to imagine two such egos living together in harmony.
Here is an insightful review of a book about their relationship that points our how they did indeed contribute to each other’s poetic development, despite their troubled relationship.
And here is a review of a biography of Assia Wevil, Ted Hughes’ lover (also a poet) while married to Sylvia Plath and his mistress after his wife’s death. Assia Wevil also committed suicide!
Moral of the story: Don’t marry a poet, especially if you’re a poet too!
I am fortunate. My wife is tolerant, supportive, and a damn good editor of my work. The last mentioned requires a lot of the first mentioned. I can’t believe any writer likes criticism, even if they very much appreciate it. I know I can get quite prickly about her comments and suggestions.
lot of wives of male writers are really collaborators who don’t get as much
credit as they should, even for their own independent accomplishments.
is some light-hearted, but good, advice to those who foolishly marry a writer.
a more serious note, Tolstoy’s wife put up with a lot more than any spouse
should ever have to. Tolstoy was a brilliant writer, of course, but like a lot
of creative people he was a screwed-up jerk in many ways.
Where Writers Get No Support
Where do writers get no, or very little, support? Virtually everywhere! However, a few places are surprising: publishers and academia.
One would think that publishers would consistently support writers, because writers are their raison d’etre. But that is only too often not true. For those publishers whose primary concern is making money, they are typically as supportive of their writers as the owners of a big company are of their employees. If one’s employee makes a lot of money for the folks in charge, he or she is amply (often too amply) rewarded. If not—well, we all know about minimum wages. Writers are well advised to read carefully any contracts with a major, commercial publisher.
The obvious exceptions are the small, literary press publishers. They know they’re not going to get any real financial return for their efforts. They do what they do out of love for literature. They are a noble lot and too often maligned by frustrated writers who fail to be chosen by them for publication.
And academics?! You’d certainly expect English profs to care about literature, but too often all they care about is their careers. Next time you’re at a poetry reading or book launch, look around and see how many profs are present. Writers sometimes get lucky and land a temporary gig at a university or college—where they are paid less than a prof on the lowest rung of the professorial pay scale. Anyone hoping to make money from literature should know a graduate degree is worth more than a hundred literary publications—and a lot easier to obtain.
Again, there are exceptions. But you won’t find many significant writers who earned their daily bread as English Lit profs. Hell, more made a living as short-order cooks!
Like most writers I’m not a joiner, but I have made exceptions. As with human rights organizations, I think some writers’ organizations are worthwhile. These are the ones I’ve found that offer support and comradeship—and useful information. (I believe there are equivalent organizations in The States.)
The Writers’ Union Of Canada: http://www.writersunion.ca
The League Of Canadian Poets: http://poets.ca
Canadian Authors Association: http://canadianauthors.org/national/
PEN Canada: http://pencanada.ca
Your Man Friday’s Ideas: What If
One characteristic common to both art and science is the question “What if?” In science it tends to be “What if I do this?” In the arts it is “What if this were…?” Scientists answer the question by doing and observing. Artists answer by imagining and inventing. But we all sometimes wonder what if we had made a different decision about something that did or did not turn out well.
Man Friday links here: http://kenstange.com/yourmanfriday/?p=1623
Time Out But I Shall Return
Again I’m giving up the indulgence of this blog to focus on my current WIP. But as General MacArthur said when he was ordered to retreat from his battle with the Japanese in WWII, “I shall return.”
Your Man Friday’s Ideas: Emotion Detection
We often misinterpret what other people are feeling. Sometimes it is because we are projecting our own feelings onto them, as when you assume someone is as eager to have sex as you are. Sometimes it is because some physical gesture means something very different to you than it does to the person making it. An example is trying to thumb a ride in the Middle East or many places in Africa or South America, where sticking out your thumb is interpreted as meaning “up your ass!” It would be nice if we could always accurately read other people’s emotions. Or would it?
Man Friday links here: http://kenstange.com/yourmanfriday/?p=1618