Ursula K. Le Guin, interviewed by Choire Sicha , You want strong opinions? Anybody can write. You know, one of my daughters teaches writing at a community college. She teaches kids how to put sentences together, and then make the sentences hang together so that they can express themselves in writing as well as they do in speaking. Anybody with a normal IQ can manage that. But saying anybody can be a writer is kind of like saying anybody can compose a sonata. Oh, forget it!
In any art, there is an initial gift that had to be there. Chris Kraus, interviewed by Leslie Jamison , It tells the truth about something. But to tell the truth about something, you have to come up with the facts. Like a deposition.
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I love reading legal writing. I started writing so late and put it off for so many years. When I finally started, I felt like I had nothing to lose and might just as well tell the truth. The material stays in your body a long time before you start working. The novels I wrote took a long time, not because I was rewriting things, line by line, but because I had to find the right place to write from. George Saunders, interviewed by Zadie Smith , GS: From the beginning, I actually had it in mind not to write a novel.
I have to really squeeze it to make it into something. It blew my mind, reading Swing Time , that I could take any sentence in the book, and it was one of the most beautiful sentences written in English, and you grafted all those sentences into this incredible, multi-continent, epic.
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Such a vast and expansive book. It made me a feel a little bit like when I used to read David [Foster] Wallace. Zadie Smith, interviewed by Christopher Bollen , For a lot of people this would be their first novel.
It happens that I wrote three books as a very young person. But they were much more sure of themselves as young writers than I was.
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Your mid-thirties is a good time because you know a fair amount, you have some self-control. I knew my own mind a bit more. And I stopped trying to please people. I got a little tired of this idea of an authorial voice of complete knowledge or perfect wisdom.
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And so I got very tired of that voice, because it really is just a voice. You know it yourself. The shock of your life, for instance, is to be shown a letter you wrote from five years ago. I wanted to express that feeling of self-alienation or the sense of not really having a self at all. It indicates the ability to send an email. Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting.
LinkedIn icon The word "in".
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Fliboard icon A stylized letter F. It sounds like a good one for Blue Ivy's reading list. Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. It's like falling in love: no one does it for a rational reason, but by an irrational stroke of lightning. When we are no longer teenagers but adults, the stories are once again important.
They remind us that our life is not over. That the beauty is not behind us. They help us not to fall into intellectual laziness to seek easy shortcuts. I talk of stories and not of books because I think the really important thing is to exercise our curiosity. The problem is that people with little curiosity for the world, like a domino effect easily become passive voters, passive consumers, passive parents, passive citizens. They can be easily prey of propaganda, not because they are worse than others, but only because they will have fewer tools to do it, to go beyond the surface of things.
As I said before, we can fight this with complexity's gymnastic. And stories are a good way to stay fit. Please tell us more about your saga. M: It is , West Berlin since three years is a ghost town, abandoned to its fate.
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No running water, no electricity, no basic services, no contact with the world outside. It all began between and when a mysterious virus killed all adults. Since that time only a few groups of boys and girls survived and now every day they struggle to not give up against nature, rival groups and the virus, that hit also teens between 16 and 18 years old. In a castle hidden in the forest there are the girls of Havel. Like the guys of Gropius, living in popular tower blocks, they try to help each other. In the former Parliament building lives a gang to whom all it matters is the law of the strongest.
In the abandoned airport of Tegel, there are guys angry with the world and with no more faith in anything. No one knows what happened on the other side of the Wall and in the rest of the world, but what is certain is that no one ever came to save them, and that who went out to look for help never came back.
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The first book begins with the kidnapping of Theo, a two year old living in Havel, by a handful from Tegel. Christa, one of Havel girls, will be called to save the child, with the help of Jakob of Gropius group. Together with some companions, they will start a journey through a ghostly, deserted city full of dangers and pitfalls. The last will be the hardest: a Death Feast, a macabre celebration that make the boys of Tegel crazy.
In the next books - six in total four of which have already been published - our protagonists will face different challenges. New enemies, internal and external, will change the composition of the various groups. Someone will die trying to know what happened on the other side of the wall, in Brandenburg and in Europe. Someone will get the answers he is looking for from the beginning: if there is a cure for the virus; if somewhere there is someone else still alive.
What is the role of the internet in relation to your books? The web looked like an extraordinary opportunity to engage readers because of its inclusive and participatory dimension that can create communities of interests that share a common passion and interact.
People want tales to immerse in, jumping from one world to another, where finding always a favorite character, or a familiar plot. It happens especially in tales set on worlds with their own imaginary and own geography, which are in turn characters. A bit like in Berlin of our saga that is an alternative version of the real Berlin of mid-seventies, where a virus killed all adults.
Readers respond with great enthusiasm, writing on the official website, identifying themselves and even creating their own fan pages on social networks dedicated to Berlin for sharing pictures and playlists that can create the right atmosphere for reading the books. Web, when it is used correctly and aware, is able to do this: to transform tales in community.
What is the feedback from the readers? M: We have good feedback from young readers, but also from teachers thanks to a workshop of identification that we propose to the schools. In the workshop it is expected that students imagine how they would act in a similar situation to the saga.