So you can read my books

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


"The only story that seems worth writing is a cry, a shot, a scream. A story should break the reader’s heart

The story must strike a nerve — in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk."
- Susan Sontag.(6/27/73)

It was through her essays that Sontag gained early fame and notoriety.

Sontag wrote frequently about the intersection of high and low art and expanded the dichotomy concept of form and art in every media.

She elevated Camp to the status of recognition with her widely-read 1964 essay Notes on 'Camp', thus expanding Art to include common, absurd, and burlesque themes.

It expounded the "so bad it's good" concept of popular culture for the first time.

Here are a few of her thoughts on writing:

"In ‘life,’ I don’t want to be reduced to my work. In ‘work,’ I don’t want to be reduced to my life.
My work is too austere
My life is a brutal anecdote."

"The solution to a problem — a story that you are unable to finish — is the problem.

It isn’t as if the problem is one thing and the solution something else.

The problem, properly understood = the solution. Instead of trying to hide or efface what limits the story, capitalize on that very limitation. State it, rail against it."

"There is a great deal that either has to be given up or be taken away from you if you are going to succeed in writing a body of work."

Making lists of words, to thicken my active vocabulary. To have puny, not just little, hoax, not just trick, mortifying, not just embarrassing, bogus, not just fake.
I could make a story out of puny, hoax, mortifying, bogus. They are a story."
Elliot Grace:

wrote of finding the perfect tune for his current novel.

As it turned out, the tune also gave me the title to a chapter in THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT but worked its way into the prose, too.  Thank you, Elliot.

(See if you can spot Johnny Depp in this video)


  1. Depp's at 2:18, near the end playing in that box, nice closeup. Lookes good with a guitar, too.

    Liked that trailer, so many faces to recognize, and Cash in the background suited the theme.

    I'm not that familiar with Sontag. For some reason, she never piqued my interest. But I'm always interested in reading your cameos of different authors.

  2. I admired her for her activism and support of Salman Rushdie. Your opening quotes are wonderful, they bear writing on the wall. And funny how one does need the perfect tune to fit the current WIP. Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

  3. D.G.:
    Your autographs went off in the mails today!

    Yes, Johnny Depp has his own band last I heard.

    I think it would make a good contest to see how many faces you could recognize in that video.

    Sontag was an interesting woman. I liked some of her essays as I liked some of Gore Vidal's.

    I thought some of her feelings on writing might prove useful to my friends.

    I thought Susan's thoughts might spark something useful in the muse of my friends like you.

    I use different kinds of music for different moments in my novels. I'm glad Elliot and I are not the only ones to do so!

    If you got something useful out of this post, Yvonne, that makes my evening! :-)

  4. Thanks, Roland, I'll be watching for mail.

    You know, I wonder how many I could identify. I'm good at faces.
    Now you have me wondering. . .

  5. D.G.:
    It was fun for me to see if I could spot famous faces. Some I remembered from movie roles but not their actual names! Good luck in the hunt.

    And remember somehow mail from way down here takes a long time to get to where you live for some reason. I think DayStar might have a hand in it. I'll have Sam McCord look into it, though right now he has his gloved hands full! :-)

  6. ...thanks for the mention, Roland ;)

    Indeed a video to remember.


  7. Elliot:
    No, thank you, for the great post and introducing me to the video. I wanted to share your post with all my friends. Have a healing Sunday, Roland