V6 (June)

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Occasional links & observations from
Steve Bogart

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photo by FiancéWoman


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20 June 2001

Neil Gaiman on the process of writing American Gods with some musings on his earlier works:

  • Books have sexes; or to be more precise, books have genders [Powells]
    I kept naming my protagonist: There's a magic to names, after all. I knew his name was descriptive. I tried calling him Lazy, but he didn't seem to like that, and I called him Jack and he didn't like that any better. I took to trying every name I ran into on him for size, and he looked back at me from somewhere in my head unimpressed every time. It was like trying to name Rumpelstiltskin.

    He finally got his name from an Elvis Costello song (it's on Bespoke Songs, Lost Dogs, Detours and Rendezvous [a very very good album - seb]). It's performed by Was (Not Was) and is the story of two men named Shadow and Jimmy.

    And one day I looked up, and it was January 2001, and I was sitting in an ancient and empty house in Ireland with a peat fire making no impression at all on the stark cold of the room. I saved the document on the computer, and I realised I'd finished writing a book.

    I wondered what I'd learned, and found myself remembering something Gene Wolfe had told me, six months earlier. "You never learn how to write a novel," he said. "You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing."


  • McCain Pushes Clinton Program [Roll Call]
    McCain ... has grown tired of the talk that he is a disloyal Republican. "I balance that with [the fact] that I'm the most-requested guy to campaign for them"
  • The GOP Jokers by E.J. Dionne [Washington Post]
    The double standard is clear. Anything allegedly bad that happened under Clinton was worth investigating over and over and over.

    But anything allegedly bad that happens under Bush should certainly not be investigated. Investigating the Clinton administration was an obligation to justice. Not investigating the Bush administration is an obligation to civility.

    And so a party that still lives by investigations and allegations proudly declares that the era of investigations and allegations is over. Producer: Could you run that laugh track again?
  • Talk-to-Yourself Radio: With Phil Hendrie Nothing is as it Seems [NY Times, long]
    Hendrie trusts his gut that he'll never really run out of callers. It's America, after all. He doesn't mind that this article is being written, for example. He maintains a deep faith in the witlessness of AM talk radio's hard-core listeners and their profound capacity for unrelieved humorlessness and unreflective anger. In fact, from time to time on the program itself, he explains exactly what he's doing. One night when I was listening, Hendrie suddenly said: "You know what I hate? I hate when people call up and tell me that the Puerto Rican lady I had on last week sounded a lot like the activist I had on yesterday. Oh, really? Of course they do! Because I make all this up."

More regular updates should resume this weekend.

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