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August 25, 2008


The Art of the Novel--Milan Kundera

Aspects of the Novel--E.M. Forster

George Orwell has another essay called Why I Write that's collected with Politics of the English Language in that little Penguin 'Great Book' edition.

Annie Dillard has a beautiful short book titled "The Writing Life" that is illuminating of both her experience as a writer and her views on writing in general. Some excerpts:

"There is neither a proportional relationship, nor an inverse one, between a writer's estimation of a work in progress and its actual quality. The feeling that the work is magnificent, and the feeling that it is abominable, are both mosquitoes to be repelled, ignored, or killed, but not indulged."


"Several delusions weaken the writer's resolve to throw away work. If he has read his pages too often, those pages will have a necessary quality, the ring of the inevitable, like poetry known by heart; they will perfectly answer their own familiar rhythms."

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  • Isak is a space to celebrate tales and truth in the curious, joyful way embodied by the writer for which it is named. The name "Isak," after all, means "laughter," as she was fond of pointing out.

    By tales, I mean fiction (especially short fiction), as well as other literary and artistic narratives. By truth, I mean the world in which we live. I especially have my eye on creative social justice.

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