Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: The Curator

People With Reading-Apathy and Reading-Prejudice

Some folks have read way more books than they can remember.

Others have read just as much and can recall every scene and even quote from the books.

Seems, though, that our culture is experiencing a trough in its graph of reading.

“What about all those e-books people are buying?”, you might ask.

It appears our digital culture has not only twitterized us but also teaches us to consume but not chew our books.

An article in The CuratorReading and Resistance, has this to say:

“Experts estimate that as many as 100,000 words now pass by our eyes and ears each day (for comparison, the complete text of Paradise Lost is only 80,000 words)….yet meanwhile we continue to hear reports that nearly a third of Americans did not read as much as one book in the past year….when it comes to anything longer than a few hundred words, the text seems to thicken and we have to push back against a surprising amount of resistance.”

I suspect many countries other than America have this Reading-Apathy

They also quote Stephen Colbert talking about the resistance to clicking the Read More link:

“Clicking on a story is huge commitment. First you have to aim the cursor, then it takes about two seconds to load, then I have to scan the thing to find out how long it is. And if I want to back out I have to reload the page where I came from. Now as many as eight seconds have passed and I’m that much closer to the cold embrace of death.”

Naturally, there are also people who have Reader-Prejudice; and, remember, prejudice doesn’t mean a person can’t choose to not read certain kinds of books, it means, “An adverse judgement or opinion formed beforehand without good justification”.

Let’s look at FlavorWire‘s, Literary Snobs: A Ranked Taxonomy [ do, please following that link and read the whole article :-) ] :

10. People who only read books written by people they can tweet at

9. People who don’t read anything written after the 1800s

8. Ulysses snobs

7. The “I’m not really interested in commercial fiction” type

6. David Foster Wallace diehards

5. Zadie Smith haters

4. The “adults shouldn’t read YA novels” types

3. Translation snobs

2. New Yorkers

1. Male writers who don’t get that there is a difference between postmodern/transgressive and creepy/misogynistic/dumb (and the people who defend them)

Then, there’s an article that takes into account Reading-Apathy and reasons that it can be caused by Reading-Prejudice.

Matt Haig has the article, 30 things to tell a book snob, in BookTrust, where he says:

“…people should read books. Books are good.

“But many are intimidated. One of the reasons people are put off reading is snobbery. You know, the snobbery that says opera and lacrosse and Pinot Noir and jazz fusion and quails’ eggs and literary fiction are for certain types of people and them alone?”

I encourage you to go read Matt’s rejoinders for book snobs :-)
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

Spaces, In Your Head, Heart, and Life, Can Be Your Saving Grace . . .

I can’t imagine being the kind of writer who feels they must have X-number of words written before they can attend to other things.

Although, it may function as a “fix” for certain people who are prone to avoiding engagement with the writing process.

Yet, I can only assume some writers are so fixated on word-count because they’re swept up by the lure of recognition—accolades from adoring fans and the multi-mega-million deal from the Big (“God”-like) Publishers

Some writers may even hold in scorn the person who feels day-to-day relationships must be honored and writing must be balanced with other creative activities—or, no “activity” at all

I’ve been receiving The Curator in my email for a few weeks now and find most of the articles extremely refreshing.

In their own words, they seek “…to encourage, promote, and uncover those artifacts of culture—those things which humans create—that inspire and embody truth, goodness, and beauty. We do this through considering and grappling with the zeitgeist.”

They often write about writing but I equally enjoy the other grapples with the zeitgeist—they give me a chance to come up for air periodically, in my quest to dive deeply enough into my mind to write the second book in my series

A few weeks ago, there was an article called Unstatement by George Anderson.

The only bio I could find for the man says, “George Anderson is a normal guy who writes things. He started with a novella about a talking can at some forgotten age and just wouldn’t quit.”

I can remember my attempts at being normal

Always would fail, utterly :-)

I have a feeling George isn’t really all that normal, either.

Consider these words of his from the article:

“I realized that I had become a jack of all trades (and the rest of the cliché)—a fool who enjoys sensual and creative stimulation but can’t bring himself to commit to any one discipline. But now, after recovering from that intense addiction to creative practice, I’ve begun to understand a larger definition of space—one that functions not only in art per se but in the creative process and in real life.”

I can relate

I recently pulled back from a complex project of readying myself to write the next book. Did it by allowing myself the space to re-read a certain Diary that immersed me in an interior State that lent me Release from a temporary Illusion—Not Being Ready.

I’ve even installed a groovy Solitaire program on my computer so I can relax away from any attempts to re-enter the Illusion

A few more words from George:

“I grew a lot as a writer, but then I started thinking about raising a family and being a breadwinner. My creative potential was still high, but my income potential looked like silence; so I scrambled to fill that silence. I started another degree, this one in graphic design. Rather than leaving the white space in my life alone, I tried to slather it with The Good Stuff. One and three-quarters semesters later, I dropped out, overworked and plagued with anxiety attacks. I had not yet learned the function of silence, of uncertainty.”

The Function of Uncertainty

The Embrace of Mystery

The Trust in the Muse

Sure, most writers need some sort of “scaffolding” to begin the act of creativity—some “direction”, some “form”, some “focal point”.

But, to echo a popular meme:

It doesn’t get good till you’re bleeding on the page.

How much should you bleed in each predetermined session of writing?

Sorry, just had to write an outrageous sentence—had to strike a contrast between Flow and Slavery

Just a bit more from George:

“…I realized that the creative process itself is an artwork, sheltering what we call art, nested within the larger artwork of life. This three-tiered fractal structure of art within art within art, of wheels within wheels, was collapsing around me. I was not balancing the outermost medium of creativity—my life itself, my mental and emotional health—with crucial white space. My head was crammed with obsession over what I wanted to accomplish and the corollary fear of failure.”

And, at the risk of keeping you from taking the link and reading George’s full article, I give you his stunning conclusion:

“Exhausted, suffering this for many nights in a row, I asked God with sincere and childish tears where He was. I heard only silence, and I cried some more.

“But a thought kept nagging: maybe this God is balancing his artwork with white space.”
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Should Writers Even Consider They Can Help Cure Social Problems?

Many can be found who would scoff at a writer considering their fiction could be of aid in any attempt to address social issues, let alone curing any ills of our culture.

In the previous post, Do Creative Writers Have Social “Responsibilities”?, I asked these questions:

“What are the ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ opportunities in a creative work?”

“What is the creative person’s ‘responsibility’ to society?”

In the post, Fiction and Social Justice ~ Can They Coexist?, I asked:

“Should writers of fiction consider devoting their talents to portraying moral actions in the face of social injustice?”

“Does fiction have sufficient influence in readers’ lives to serve as inspiration for taking steps toward social justice?”

And, in Writing Fiction To Make A Difference In The World I asked:

“Can action done in our world to improve it have the power to inspire creative writers to produce socially-responsive fiction?”

I have a number of methods to help me find things worthy of inclusion in this blog.

A Google Alert sent me to investigate a publication called The Curator.

Of course, “Curator” usually means something like, “a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection”.

Though, the word comes from a Latin root meaning “Cure”.

And, since I’ve raised the whole issue of creativity and social responsibility, let me quote a bit from The Curator‘s About Page:

The Curator…announces the signs of a ‘world that ought to be’ as we find it in our midst, and seeks to inspire people to engage deeply with culture that enriches life and broadens experience.

“In keeping with [the] belief that artistic excellence, as a model of ‘what ought to be’, paves the way for lasting, enduring humanity, The Curator seeks to encourage, promote, and uncover those artifacts of culture—those things which humans create—that inspire and embody truth, goodness, and beauty. We do this through considering and grappling with the zeitgeist.”

And, these words from the founder of The Curator, Alissa Wilkinson:

“Why another culture magazine?….

“We aren’t here to write simple reviews. After all, if you want to find out which movies are bad, which artists are lazy, or which movements are socially irresponsible, you can read the review section of any good newspaper or magazine. Instead, we seek to uncover only the creative, the good, and the honest, provide context for its existence, and explain its cultural significance in order to inspire you to engage your culture and start creating.”

Does The Curator sound like a publication you’d like to peruse?
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

%d bloggers like this: