Friday, July 31, 2009

Time Management for Writers or: Ben Frankin vs. Goethe

In Maira Kalman's wonderful picture-blog for the New York Times she does a nice little thing on Benjamin Franklin and mentions also how Franklin scheduled his working day:

5am - 8am: Wash, get dressed, breakfast, plan the day - "address 'Powerful Goodness' and take the resolution of the day."

8am - 12am: Work

12am - 2 pm: Lunch

2pm - 6pm: Work

6pm - 10 pm: Clean up desk, dinner, diversions and "examination of the day"

10pm - 5am: Sleep.

The schedule is strikingly similar to Goethe's schedule. According to Gero von Wilpert in "Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen: Goethe", it went like this:

5/6am - 10am: "Early coffee" and work

10am - 1pm: "Second breakfast" and administration work like letters

1/2pm: Lunch and nap

After that - about 5pm: Work

Early evening to sundown: Diversions, theater, maybe work

9/10pm - 5am: Sleep.

Benjamin Franklin doesn't say anything about a nap in the afternoon, but it's known that he liked to nap and it's also known that the body has a slump around 2, so I bet he did a bit of power-napping to round off his lunch, though it's not on the schedule. Gothe did, and admitted it.

Here's Franklin's schedule:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Secrets of Jodi Picoult


Good New York Times article about bestseller Jodi Picoult, who writes gut-wrenching weepies about families and child-rearing and whose "My Sister's Keeper" has been filmed: here.

Runaway Brides on TV

My favorite country band - The Runaway Brides - featuring my beautiful niece April - just did a segment for ZDF: You can watch it here (enable pop-ups):

The report here.

The interview/song here.

MySpace with songs here.

(I love these titles - "You only like me when you're drunk"!)

Laura Bean, another band member, also has her own MySpace site with excellent country songs of her own here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Great Jack Vance


Good story about the great Jack Vance, now 92, living in San Francisco, here. I love Vance for his persistant cynicism and his sweet, mysterious language. And it's a tragedy that he is so underrated.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Secret of Success

"I write happy books about good people."

- Janet Evanovich in an interview in the New York Times.

I love that quote and I suspect it's a quote to live up to as a writer.

There was something else in her interview that intrigued me: She said her murder mysteries are about family. Her heroine, Stephanie Plum, is not a genius, but she relies on a group of friends, family and associates (and a little luck).

It is probably true of any kind of story but it is certainly true of murder mysteries that the story is really always about something else. It’s not about the murder – those are a dime a dozen – it’s about the way the character finds a way through life, or about right and wrong, or about friendship or about family. (Lonesome Dove, for example, was not about the West, it was about friendship.) These are the things that truly interest us, that we understand and want to understand. The horror of murder, the details of the crime and the puzzle that has to be solved are all trappings. They interest us too, but in the end they are arbitrary. What touches our hearts and minds is something else.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why I Love My Country #571



Photo taken in a strip mall parking lot in Salem, Oregon in July, 2009. Astrid's comment: "That's one of the great things about your country. If you give the people the right to say anything they want long enough, eventually they will say everything you need to know about them."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rediscovering Safsten Road

Safsten Road from Front:Mysterious mortar brick shack on Safsten Road, swallowed up on blackberry brambles:Safsten Road from End:

Goodbye, Dad

Kipling & Holmes