I can’t wait to see Cloud Atlas. Loved the book by David Mitchell.
As this article from The New Yorker states, “If your first instinct is to note how that smooth vessel echoes the creaking, masted ship of the earliest tale, then ‘Cloud Atlas’ could be the film that you desire.”
As I’m sure you know, today J.K. Rowling released The Casual Vacancy, her first book for adults, and the Amazon comments on her book are already a hot mess. There is a battle raging between people who gave the book 1-star reviews and people who gave the book 5-star reviews. I can’t call them readers, because clearly none of them have read the book yet.
The 1-star people are furious that the books costs so much, about $20 for the hardcover version, $18 for the ebook. The 5-star people are irate that the 1-star people are polluting the comment section with complaints about price because that platform is—in theory—reserved for praise and criticisms regarding the books quality as a work of literature. Nevertheless, publishing in a business and the laws of capitalism pervade every aspect of the business, including price points and consumer sentiment.
This fiasco, however, is symbolic of the publishing industry on so many levels because it is being conducted digitally, that very space of cyber ether that brought the publishing industry to its knees. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. But if you’re reading this website you’re probably a writer, and as a professional writer myself, we all know how J.K. should handle this: start writing something else. Anything.
J.K. has done her job as a writer, and regardless of how her book is priced or regarded as an unproven commodity in the serious fiction category, she’s one of us, and we all know how to handle criticism and praise no matter where it comes from: ignore it, and continue being a writer. The book is out there. It, and everything around it, is beyond J.K.’s control.
I was taught, like most people, that stealing is bad. I learned this from my parents. Now that I’m an adult, I just can’t understand how a writer could steal from other writers. After all, this is a difficult profession fraught with obstacles and challenges that no other job entails.
If we don’t have each other, who else is going to encourage us, support us and show us empathy? Even if honor isn’t enough to prevent a writer from stealing words, ideas and the muse from others, how stupid can you be to think you won’t get caught. I’m sorry, Jonah Lehrer, but you should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t try to rationalize this as caving into pressure.
We all—every writer out there—feels that pressure and most of us decide to handle it by buckling down and focusing on our craft and the assignment at hand. Whether it is a novel, news article or poem, every writer out there knows that the key to being a professional is knowing how to handle stress and soul-crushing disappointment. You suck it up and move on. You don’t take from others and claim it as your own.
“His insights were naked and powerful, his life heartfelt and poignant. Boldly insecure and damned funny, Rakoff connected with people because he was honest about being sad. For Rakoff, being unhappy was OK, even normal. For many of us, this unwelcome truth was beaten out of us as children and replaced with Santa Claus.”
Have a favorite Nora Ehpron quote? Leave it in the comment section. : (
“The desire to get married, which – I regret to say, I believe is basic and primal in women – is followed almost immediately by an equally basic and primal urge – which is to be single again.” – Nora Ephron
“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.” – Nora Ephron
“I don’t care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you’re also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.” – Nore Ephron
“I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.” – Nora Ephron
Goodbye Carlos Fuentes and thank you. It’s always sad to see talent pass. It’s even sadder to see talent never recognized. Hopefully real writers all end up in an afterlife where hacks and celebrities aren’t celebrated over discipline, talent, and a love a language.
“What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others.” – Carlos Fuentes