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Where not to look for meaningful material. Story rules, plot drools. The bestselling novels of so far.

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Got a case of wanderlust? These 5 new novels are here to help. Focus on your own writing career. Current Issue See Inside Subscribe. Summer Flash Contest Summer seems like the right time to write short.

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Enter now! Recommended reading for memoir writers. Ask The Writer: Ending on a cliffhanger. The loss of a parent is a common enough thing and I did what most kids do when their world feels destroyed.


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I tried to care less about what remained. This was untrue, of course. I needed it to an intolerable degree. My dramatic, Romantic metaphor was what I used to try to conceal this fact. It was an early lesson in the value of a story as a place to hide.

The Perpetual Solitude of the Writer | Literary Hub

A particular mood might bite, but writing a well wrought sentence about that same mood contained satisfaction, and a hint of control. With this small, private power came a bit of pleasure, something I had practically none of at that point in my life, other than the release of drugs. Elegy, then, was safe. To envision myself and those around me as characters whose fate was already sealed let the abstraction of sadness in, while keeping the stuff itself at bay. In college I studied English and was taught the then-standard narrative of literary historical progress.

It went something like this: for all its descriptive power and social scope, 19th-century realism partook of the bourgeois ideology of a discreet, coherent and usually marriageable self. It was this ideology, under the pressure of urban life, that 20th-century modernism bravely exploded, pressing the pathos of a divided, modern consciousness down into the syntax of the sentence. And thus we arrived at contemporary post-modernism, with its undercutting irony, tailor made to disrupt this narrative and upend its pretensions by throwing the possibility of meaning itself into endless question.

As a young person, the lesson I took from this account was that in order to count as a writer you had to be formally innovative. This was what each new generation was supposed to do: debunk the old forms and invent a new grammar befitting the age. Then something happened. I left the academy. I moved to New York and got a job. And after work I sat at the desk in my tiny bedroom and tried to write stories that would move people, that would make them feel something. It was, rather, a low-grade depression. A sense that nothing much mattered.

Whatever stance you took, it had an optional, revocable quality to it. And yet meanwhile, beneath the pose of the slacker, I was teeming with loneliness and hurt and the desire for intimacy. These were subjects that most post-modernist literature had virtually no interest in, other than as objects of parody. I believe you write the book you want to read. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!

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