Entries from September 2012

Alison Krauss: Baby, Now That I’ve Found You

Categories: Music    Tags: ·

Coney Island, 1952

Bourke-White - Beach Accident

Margaret Bourke-White
“Beach Accident”
Coney Island 1952

Categories: Photography    Tags:

Défendre Jacob, the book trailer

Book trailer for the upcoming release of Defending Jacob in France (Défendre Jacob, available October 11 from Éditions Michel Lafon ).

Categories: My Books    Tags: ·

Route 66, 1969

Haas - Route 66

Ernst Haas
Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1969)

Categories: Photography    Tags:

Emerson: Finish each day and be done with it

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it serenely with too high a spirit to be encumbered by your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Categories: Odds & Ends    Tags: ·

Homer votes

Categories: Odds & Ends    Tags: · · · ·

Demolition of Boston’s West End

West End

Chambers and Barton Streets, July 19, 1959 (via).

Categories: Boston    Tags: · · ·

Zadie Smith’s Ten Rules for Writers

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your “vocation.” You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle.” All that matters is what you leave on the page.
  4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
  5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
  6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
  7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
  8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
  10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.

Zadie Smith (via)

Categories: Writing    Tags: · ·

Antietam, 1862


“A lone grave on the Antietam battlefield” (1862)
Alexander Gardner (via Slate)

Categories: Photography    Tags: · · ·

Tchaikovsky: Work without inspiration

Do not believe those who try to persuade you that composition is only a cold exercise of the intellect. The only music capable of moving and touching us is that which flows from the depths of a composer’s soul when he is stirred by inspiration. There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.

A few days ago I told you I was working every day without any real inspiration. Had I given way to my disinclination, undoubtedly I should have drifted into a long period of idleness. But my patience and faith did not fail me, and today I felt that inexplicable glow of inspiration of which I told you; thanks to which I know beforehand that whatever I write today will have the power to make an impression and to touch the hearts of those who hear it. I hope you will not think I am indulging in self-laudation if I tell you that I very seldom suffer from this disinclination to work. I believe the reason for this is that I am naturally patient. I have learnt to master myself, and I am glad I have not followed in the steps of some of my Russian colleagues, who have no self-confidence and are so impatient that at the least difficulty they are ready to throw up the sponge. This is why, in spite of great gifts, they accomplish so little, and that in an amateur way.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky, letter to a benefactor, 1878 (via Brain Pickings)

Categories: Creativity    Tags: ·

Happy 49th


One nice thing about doing an appearance on your birthday: the crowd just may sing “Happy Birthday” to you. This is me conducting the singers at the Duxbury, MA, Public Library last July. It was my 49th birthday. The event was sponsored by the Westwinds Bookshop in Duxbury. (Photo by Julius Prince.)

Categories: My Books    Tags: ·

Jeffrey Eugenides: Not the audience, the reader

I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not “audience.” Not “readership.” Just the reader. That one person, alone in a room, whose time I’m asking for. I want my books to be worth the reader’s time, and that’s why I don’t publish the books I’ve written that don’t meet this criterion, and why I don’t publish the books I do until they’re ready. The novels I love are novels I live for. They make me feel smarter, more alive, more tender toward the world. I hope, with my own books, to transmit that same experience, to pass it on as best I can.

Jeffrey Eugenides, Paris Review

Categories: Writing    Tags: ·

Picturing Jacob

I have a bit of a strange request: My publisher is looking for photos of Defending Jacob on display in bookstores. I don’t have any, but I said I’d call out the troops.

So if any of you happen to be in a bookstore in the next few days and you happen to have a smart phone on you, I’d be very grateful if you would snap a picture of the book and send it along. The photos will be used for an in-house presentation at Random House; the idea is to show how prominently bookstores are displaying the book.

To sweeten the pot, the best photo will win a signed first edition of any of my three books — your choice.

Either post your photo here on Tumblr or email it to me direct at bill@williamlanday.com. Be sure to let me know what bookstore your photo shows.

Feel free to share this message, forward it, tape it to your forehead, etc. The more submissions, the better.

Thank you!

Categories: My Books    Tags:

Goodbye, summer

Weegee - Coney island Beach

“Coney Island Beach” (1940)
(view in hi-res here; via Aphelis)

Labor Day weekend. Always a melancholy time. Goodbye, summer.

Categories: Photography    Tags: ·