New York State Writers Institute – The Summer Workshops

I’m baaack. It was fabulous. I was in Rick Moody’s masters section — life changing. I’ll write more as I process it all.

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TaskPaper, Scrivener, and Note Taking on the iPad

We’ve been having a great conversation over on the Literature & Latte forums about TaskPaper, Scrivener, and note taking on the iPad. I’ve clipped my posts on the topic below.

June 5

On the iPad I’m using the TaskPaper “show project” function to work with longer texts, like story drafts, kind of the way I’ve used Scrivener on my iMac or MPB. I know that TaskPaper is marketed as being for ‘simple task lists’ but being able to move paragraphs around, hoist sections, tag others, and it’s not that far of a conceptual leap to think of it as a powerful drafting tool. Simply managing revisions as sequential “Projects” lets me flip back and forth and see what the heck I was doing four revisions ago. I’m sure you can take the example and extend it to your writing situation. Of course I’ve had to learn how to get rid of all the indents and such in the core plain text files before printing, but that’s what WordServices is for, right?

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The Center Cannot Hold – Flarf in the WSJ

Sharon Mesmer, Flarf, The Wall Street Journal, Page One.

There really isn’t any more that I can say….Poetry makes the big time.

Click through for the evidence.

Poetry’s Latest Battleground: Flarf –

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St. Lawrence University Commencement Address: Gomes trumps Sotomayor

Peter J. Gomesat SLU 2010At this year’s St. Lawrence University commencement, Reverend Peter Gomes of Harvard University delivered what could be described as the Gettysburg Address of commencement speeches. Almost a prayer for success, his short poetic comments encapsulate the totality of the modern university adventure.

Oh, a Supreme Court Justice spoke as well, but she didn’t have much to say, again.

This link takes you to the SLU web site where an MP3 of the speech is available. The good stuff starts at 1:58.

audio by peter j gomes – Campus Podcasts – St. Lawrence University

But of course the major highlight of the afternoon was the graduation of Brandon C. Barone, class of 2010. It must be nice to have the Rev. Dr. Gomes as a classmate, Brandon.

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The Madness of Art

Even if I didn’t know Jim Kempner, and Dru Arstark, and the rest to the crowd at Jim Kempner’s Fine Art, the opening scene in this mini-comedy of Jim crossing 10th Avenue against an onrush of cabs would still be hilarious. Then comes the reveal, because in the best parts of this show you start seeing situation in the art world that you’ve experienced before, or overheard, or wish you hadn’t overheard. Watch the whole thing, then for god’s sakes go over to Jim’s and buy a piece a art, will ya…

There are two full length episodes finished and it looks like at least four more in post-production. You can find them here as they roll out weekly.

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The Influential Books Game

Everyone’s making a list of ten books. Tyler Cowen started it. I caught up via Ross Douthat’s article in the New York Times.

The drill is: stream of consciousness, from the gut, no great research, off the top of your head, what ten books most influence your world view.

Like almost everyone I cheated by adding more than ten, but I was legit by just dashing off the list from near term accessible memory. It’s the only way to do it, if you sit and think for long the list can run on for a hundred pages.

Most Influential Books

  1. “The Western Heritage of Faith and Reason” – Bewkes and Keens – It was once, long before I got there, a required text at St. Lawrence University, and a bedrock of philosophical deconstructionism. Reading Bewkes was the first time I learned the historical underpinnings of things presented to me as religious faith. I’ve been looking under the covers of superstitions ever since.

  2. “The Fountainhead” – Ayn Rand – Read just after I found Buckley’s “Up from Liberalism,” Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” and Friedman’s “Free to Choose.” After Rand I realized why I was always queazy with the collectivism of our time.

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