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Friday, February 15, 2013

What's Neat on the Net IV

This week, what's neat on the net:

1) You can hear a recording of Walt Whitman reading the first four lines of his celebrated poem "America." Or maybe you can't. For a brief overview of the controversy on the authenticity of this recording, as well as to hear, the recording yourself, click this link to a posting on the Open Culture blog.

2) At Bookriot, Amanda Nelson imagines the base and top notes of perfumes inspired by dead writers such as Fitzgerald, Sexton, Tolstoy, and Plath. For example, Flannery O’Connor's perfume is described as being a blend of church incense, soap, vanilla, ginger. So far these scents exist only in Nelson's imagination, but who knows what the future brings.

3) DOG EAR, out of London, is both a magazine and a bookmark. Submit prose or drawings, and once 40 pieces have been collected, the top 10 will be made into a bookmark and distributed about the London area. That sounds like fun, doesn't it?

4) From Flavorwire, hotels and hotel rooms inspired by literature, including the Jules-Verne-inspired "Journey to the Center of the Earth" ice room at the Hotel de Glace in Canada; Alain de Botton's London hotel, The Roi de Belges, with a room designed to replicate Joseph Conrad's steamer used in the Congo trip that inspired Heart of Darkness; and the Hobbit Hotel in New Zealand. I especially like Le Pavillion de Lettres in Paris, with each of its 26 rooms devoted to a different writer, one room each for each letter of the alphabet matched to the first letter of  the last name of that writer. Check out the photos here.

5) Writer's Relief posts arts and crafts you can make out of your rejection letters. From papier mache to origami and rolled paper crafts, this site has plenty of ideas for what to do with those soul-stultifying pieces of paper.

I'll be saving mine however. Recently I've had a stream of rejections, in start contrast to 2 years ago when everything I sent out was accepted and I was being solicited for work that I didn't have because everything was being accepted. Now I can't seem to place a single poem.

It's good for me to remember that it's cyclical. Sure, instead of a gentle sine wave cycle, this is me slamming between polar opposites, but it's still important to remember the cycle of good things and bad things that happen. It's human nature when bad things happen to think that the streak of bad luck will end, but when good things are happening, it's important to also remember that such a state of grace is temporary. My kids hate it when I tell them this during the good times; they just want to enjoy the fun and not have it dampened by the reminder. But the downside will be less down it if doesn't also blindside you.

So now I need to think about my rejections. I think the quality of my work is about the same as ever, but the sensibility has shifted. Maybe I need to try different markets than the ones I generally look to. Maybe I'm wrong about the quality (in the absence of readers to help me along here in Japan) or maybe the competition is just getting more vast or more talented, and I need some kind of breakthrough in order to reach a new level. Maybe I just need to write and not worry about publishing.

And it's a wrap.

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