Thursday, 22 June 2017

WRITERS ON WRITING #95: Barbara Kingsolver

I struggle with confidence, every time.  I’m never completely sure I can write another book.  Maybe my scope is too grand, my questions too hard, surely readers won’t want to follow me here.  A novel is like a cathedral, it knocks you down to size when you enter into it.  I falter and fidget and worry it won’t be good enough, and then the day comes when I give myself permission:  just write, I tell myself.  No one has to see it, you can throw everything away if it’s terrible, we’ll keep it a secret unless or until it becomes wonderful.  And then I get to work.

About Writing [from 'Frequently Asked Questions' section of BK website]


Click HERE to visit the website of US historical novelist and founder of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction BARBARA KINGSOLVER.

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WRITERS ON WRITING #52: Sarah Waters 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

POET OF THE MONTH #40: Helene Mullins

Twayne Publishers USA, 1970


Before she left, my mother,
trying to make it easier for us,
by slow degrees erased her identity.
Shedding the meretricious ornamentations,
the perpetual hopes, the outworn new beginnings,
she covered with the tenuity of old age
her beauty, grace, the poor remains of a gaiety
hoarded against a need that might arise.
So intent was she
on divesting herself of all familiar lineaments,
she did not heed a word of what we were saying:
that we were glad she soon would be released
from the tremors of our menaced civilization,
the fears and horrors seeping through our walls.
Barely recognizable at the end,
except to us who knew her as she was,
she slipped away
with a reassuring flutter of her hands.
We watched her go toward her unknown destination,
then turned to face our own.

The Mirrored Walls and Other Poems (1970)

The Poet:  The following biographical statement appears on the Yale University Library website.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the poem re-posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Helene Mullins (née Gallagher), American poet and novelist, was born in New York City in 1899, and was active from the 1920s (by which time she had already married Ivan Mullins) through the 1960s. She and her sister Marie McCall collaborated on their first novel, Paulus Fy (New York: Robert M. McBride & Company) in 1924. Mullins's breakthrough as an author came when a novel, Convent Girl, and a volume of poetry, Earthbound & Other Poems, were published by Harper and Brothers in 1929.  In 1935 she was involved in a near-fatal car accident, and soon thereafter she and McCall moved to Hollywood, California, for a lengthy convalescence. Except for this period, and time spent in Washington DC during the Second World War, Mullins lived her entire life in New York City. She continued to publish poems (under the name Mullins, though she later married Linné Johnson) in journals and collected volumes until 1970.  Helene Mullins died in Manhattan in 1991.

Unfortunately, Mullins remains so obscure that it was impossible to find a single photograph of her to add to this post.  The only image I could find for The Mirrored Walls and Other Poems, her final volume of poetry published twenty-one years before her death, is the one posted above. 

Click HERE to read a fascinating post about poet HELENE MULLINS on the fascinating and always informative Neglected Books website.

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POET OF THE MONTH #37: Bernice Kenyon
POET OF THE MONTH #35: Edna St Vincent Millay
POET OF THE MONTH #2: Marianne Moore

Thursday, 8 June 2017

THINK ABOUT IT #26: Gordon Livingston

We live in a society that has elevated complaint to a primary form of public discourse.  The airwaves and courts are full of victims of this and that: childhood abuse, mistakes of others, random misfortune.  Voluntary behaviors have been reclassified as illness so that sufferers can be pitied and, where possible, compensated.  Not surprisingly, many of these people appear in psychiatrists' offices expecting a sympathetic ear and medication that will relieve their feelings of distress.  Often they want testimony to support lawsuits or letters to excuse them from work.  They are not there to engage in the difficult process of examining their lives, taking responsibility for their feelings, deciding what they need to do to be happy –– and doing it.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need To Know Right Now (2004)

Click HERE to read the obituary of US psychiatrist, author and anti-war protester DR GORDON STUART LIVINGSTON (1939-2016) from US newspaper The Baltimore Sun.  Many of his books –– including Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart (2004) –– remain in print and can be obtained via your local library, bookstore or preferred online retailer.

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THINK ABOUT IT #24: Otto Rank
THINK ABOUT IT #21: Rollo May
THINK ABOUT IT #9: Liz Jensen

Friday, 2 June 2017


The storm is brewing...

Human Services Minister ALAN TUDGE just launched another attack on people struggling to make ends meet.

Can you sign the petition calling on Parliament to reject cuts to the clean energy supplement, which would snatch precious support away from those who can least afford it?

Yesterday's move is the latest in a long line of concerted attacks on people on income support – from robo-debt threats to humiliating drug tests. Today's cut will exclusively target those on the lowest incomes, pushing hundreds of thousands of Australians even further below the poverty line.

This from a government that's bending over backwards to give the likes of Goldman Sachs and Chevron a $65 billion tax handout.

That's why we're sending a people-powered thunder clap through Parliament House. A massive petition, backed in by thousands of constituent emails, will send a deafening roar through the halls of Parliament right as the bills are introduced today. Add your name now.

What is the clean energy supplement?

The clean energy supplement was Australia's first real increase in unemployment benefits in 23 years.

Axing the clean energy supplement will see 2.2 million Australians lose up to $7 each week. For many Australians struggling to make ends meet, that means putting on a brave face as you tell your 11 year old you can't afford to send him to school camp.

When the Turnbull Government tried to axe the Clean Energy Supplement last year, the Labor Party, Greens and Nick Xenophon Team shot the bill down before it even made it to the Senate. But Mr Tudge seems to think he's in with a shot at forcing the cuts through this time around.

That's why we need to act fast and show our politicians the public won't stand for attacks on those who can least afford it. And the best way to make that happen is by sending a deafening roar through the halls of Parliament right as the bills are introduced today.

All material above © 2017 GetUp! Australia

Don't put if off…
Sign the GetUp! Petition NOW!

Click HERE to visit the website of civil rights action group GetUp Australia where you can learn more about their many successful campaigns designed to make our politicians accountable for their actions and the consequences of their unfair, destructive and greed-driven policies.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

WRITERS ON WRITING #94: Harry Hansen

There is only one definition for a novel –– it is the way the man who writes it looks at the world.  And there are as many ways of writing a novel as there are ways of looking at the world.

Source unspecified

HARRY HANSEN was a US journalist, editor, historian and literary critic.  Click HERE to read his Wikipedia entry.

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WRITERS ON WRITING #4: Kurt Vonnegut
WRITERS ON WRITING #14: David Ireland 
WRITERS ON WRITING #64: Joy Williams