Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I picked this issue of McSweeney's on sale at Skylight books the other day. It's from 2012.  I'm not a huge reader of literary journals.  This caught my eye, though, as it's twelve stories in six different translations. The stories are translated from the original language to English, then to another language, then to another, etc.  There are three English versions of most of them, and other versions in Arabic, Urdu, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, German, Hebrew, etc., from writers from Etgar Karet, Jonathan Lethem, Nathan Englander, Gary Shteyngart, A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee; it's quite a collection. It's also interesting to have writers who you've read in English translate another author from their native language.
The wonderful Kafka "The Creature in our Synagogue" was the story that caught my eye and made me pick it up. It's an odd, disquieting story. It makes me want to read more Kafka. There is also a beautiful fable called "The Fox and Earth God" by Kenji Miyazawa, a delicate, heart-rending tale of jealousy.  It's a nifty collection.  Pick it up. I think Skylight has a few more, or you can buy it online.

Lists, part...

I'm making a lot of lists.

I've been writing, and not writing.  The screenplay I mentioned in my last post (in January? Has it been that long?) was a quarter finalist for a competition. It needs work. So does the pilot I wrote. And that other screenplay I'm working on for a friend. And that short I had an idea for. And that other story.

So, I'm making lists. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. I make them and do not cross things off.  Is making a better list another thing I need to put on my list?  It does feel nice to cross things off when I eventually do, but I forget to revisit the list. I've thought about writing more mundane things like grocery and dry cleaning into them, to feel like I've accomplished something. Impossible lists are probably not helping much.

I've several books that are pressuring me to read them, too, as well as a whole lot of television shows. Is it just really too much? How much until you feel full? I've thought about list of those to keep track of what I'm missing - Breaking Bad, Mad Men - maybe I should only watch shows with alliterative titles.

I read that Sherman Alexie doesn't blog because he says it's a waste of time you should be spending writing, instead of writing something about writing, or writing about yourself. I'll put that on my lists of things I'm doing incorrectly.

In the meantime, fingers are moving. I did notice, the other day, when I went to a notebook to write with a pen, which I prefer, I found I was impatient because typing is faster. I have read, though, that it doesn't get as deeply connected to the brain as handwriting.  I'll add that to the the list.