Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Passing It On: Blogs I Read

Attention: I did a cut-and-paste which introduced some crazy old HTML into this page; I am too inept to erase it without screwing things up. Size and greenness and so on carry no meaning other than, "Gee, he's not very good with computers, is he?"

So Amy Sundberg over at The Practical Free Spirit was given a validation ticket by Parking Lot Confidential. In turn, she mentioned a number of writing-related blogs she read, and this was among them.

I left a comment on her site recommending some blogs; may as well post it here. Among them I mentioned Miranda Suri's Comedy or Tragedy? It was pointed out that I mention that one a lot.


Let's start out with Candy and Cigarettes by Joe Clifford. Yep, he's the guy who runs Lip Service West, where I've read twice and have another piece in the hopper. Nepotism rocks. His blog covers his experiences as a new father, his memories of the good/bad old days, and most importantly, his efforts to push forward as a writer.

Honestly, the man has a direct, workmanlike approach to the situation that's provided me with a lot of good ideas already. He decided to target specific markets and write to them directly. This is the kind of thing that raises my artistic hackles, but you know what?

His work improved dramatically, he placed all his stories...

So I'm working on doing the same thing with the high-end lit mags, The Atlantic and so on. Yes, I am stealing his idea. And "put the love story up front" is actually damned good advice.

The Erin O'Brien Owner's Manual for Human Beings is just delightful. She doesn't write about writing, she's a fucking writer. Everything from phone-cam roundups with appropriate commentary to links to her professional work, with a strong local flavor. Since Harvey Pekar died, this is where I get my Cleveland fix. It's the New Journalism grown up with a kid, sitting with a can of beer at the kitchen table, and one of the counters to nihilism upon which I rely.

And, finally, I'm breaking with writers (although he writes). Glendon Mellow, the Steel Tzar of Toronto, has recently begun the Symbiartic blog at Scientific American in partnership with scientific illustrator Kalliopi Monoyios. (I covet her skill, so her work makes me a little unhappy when I see it.)

Glendon is an artist who incorporates
imagery of meaning to scientists into symbolist- and surrealist-influenced compositions with a strong narrative component, typically executed in oil, frequently featuring novel materials such as stone. (He also does pictures of Man-Thing.)

Symbiartic covers areas where scientific and artistic interest overlap. Everything from the flexure of tetrapod necks to the optical qualities of oil paint gets covered. For me, this is heaven. If you're a fiction writer who deals in ideas as well as character, this is a goldmine.

And when you're done with those, take a look to the right. If a blog's there, I think it's worth reading.

And tomorrow? Gonna discuss my position in the hierarchy.