Housekeeping

07Apr10

First up, you’ll notice I finally added my fellow TNC commenters’ blogs under “Ta-Nehisians.” They blog on quite a variety of topics; here I was all thinking everyone just has esoteric blogs on political communication and whatever the fuck else they feel like. But anyway, please check out their stuff. I’ll be reading them near daily. As proof, I give you Kylopod’s latest post on the linguistic similarities between Rush Limbaugh and Stormfront (and if you don’t know what Stormfront  is, you’re better off for it).

Second, a long-delayed internet big-ups to Kris Downer, a fantastic sports blogger from across the pond. Kris is (I hope this doesn’t compromise his integrity) a die-hard Chelsea supporter like me. He also was stupid…er… kind enough to let me write a match report for what is now Echelseafc.com. Check him out there, and at Soccerlens.com.

Third, this place is finally starting to feel like home again. I’ve written close to 5,000 words in the last week–some of it unpublished, but actually, it’s over 5,000 if you include my comments at TNC’s place. I have at least two 1,000+ word ideas in the pipeline, and one I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months, which I can’t decide if I want to publish. It’s a story that would probably garner the blog a lot of attention, but I’m not sure I’m willing to go there for a variety of reasons [ed’s note: if I were you, dear reader, I’d think I was lying…errr…marketing the blog here, as an incentive to keep you hooked. Frankly I think I’ve already made up my mind not to publish it, but things could change. We’ll see.]

Finally, I should mention that I’ve been writing in the shadow of Zadie Smith‘s collection of essays, Changing My Mind. Simply put, Zadie Smith makes things beautifully complicated for me as an aspiring writer [ed’s note: Really, Dan? Well, it’s the last thing I knew I wanted to be for certain, and anyway, so here we are.] I know I’ll never be as good as Smith. I guess this sounds like a silly thing to state. It should be obvious, but writers are competitive, just like anyone else. I’d posit that Smith is a Michael Jordan, while I hope to be a Reggie Miller; I can get by with tons of hard work on my quirky fundamentals, but I’ll never win a championship, let alone six. That Jordan-type of natural talent is ridiculously rare.

But aside from Smith’s intellectual capabilities, what I really admire is her humility. Changing My Mind, at least thus far, is mostly about the impressions that art and experiences make on Smith. I suspect that this book serves as a memoir that may never be fully told; White Teeth flirts with the autobiographical, and in Changing My Mind, Smith states that she’s literally never read her first novel through (it might be the one thing Smith has never read). Smith does, however, provide a map of her life. One can attain vague impressions of when she read certain books, when she traveled and where she lectured, watched certain movies, etc. And so I give you Smith on Keats. Call me presumptuous, but I’m nearly sure this is how every aspiring writer should operate.

The term role model is so odious, but the truth is it’s a very strong writer indeed who gets by without a model kept somewhere in mind. I think of Keats. Keats slogging away, devouring books, plagiarizing, impersonating, adapting, struggling, growing, writing many poems that made him blush and then a few that made him proud, learning everything he could from whomever he could find, dead or alive, who might have something useful to teach him. (104)

Buy the book here, please. As alluded to earlier, Bloc Party will close us out tonight.

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