Almost every short story writer dreams that her work will pique the interest of those in Hollywood and be made into a film, but the audience for a film may be a different type of person than a reader of short stories.
According to an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Annie Proulx shares with us the effect of the success “Brokeback Mountain” has had on her career:
“Brokeback Mountain” has had little effect on my writing life, but is the source of constant irritation in my private life. There are countless people out there who think the story is open range to explore their fantasies and to correct what they see as an unbearably disappointing story. They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for “fixing” the story. They certainly don’t get the message that if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it. Most of these “fix-it” tales have the character Ennis finding a husky boyfriend and living happily ever after, or discovering the character Jack is not really dead after all, or having the two men’s children meet and marry, etc., etc. Nearly all of these remedial writers are men, and most of them begin, “I’m not gay but….” They do not understand the original story, they know nothing of copyright infringement—i.e., that the characters Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar are my intellectual property—and, beneath every mangled rewrite is the unspoken assumption that because they are men they can write this story better than a woman can. They have not a clue that the original “Brokeback Mountain” was part of a collection of stories about Wyoming exploring mores and myths. The general impression I get is that they are bouncing off the film, not the story. There’s more, but that is enough, ok?
Proulx shares where she gets ideas for her stories, how she comes up with names for her characters, and why she thinks the short story is the superior literary form.
The interview can be found here.
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kottke.org has compiled a list of links about David Foster Wallace, including interviews and personal remembrances from his ex-students. Harper’s magazine has put up everything Wallace had published in their magazine on their website, including a few short stories. Here are the rest of the links.
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David Foster Wallace, the brilliant writer who gave us “Girl With Curious Hair,” died yesterday. He was 46.
A little over ten years ago I lived with a roommate, a person with such a superiority complex that she made fun of every musician I liked and every book I owned. I returned home one day to find her sprawled out on our ugly green sofa with my copy of Girl With Curious Hair. She looked up at me with her eyes sort of glossed over and said, “This is the first time I’ve ever read anything that describes life EXACTLY.”
There aren’t too many writers I admire more than David Foster Wallace. This evening, as I turned on my computer and I spotted his name on the news tab on Yahoo’s homepage, I couldn’t believe what I had read.
Depression is such a misunderstood disease. I’ve always felt that it should be treated like any other illness. My husband’s coworker has just been diagnosed with lymphoma and she has the complete support of her friends and family. Her bosses have moved her into a cleaner office so that her immune system isn’t compromised. Her coworkers have taken on a lot of her work load so that she has more energy to recover. People should take a depression diagnosis just as seriously.
If you are depressed, please get help. If you know someone who is depressed, please know that they need help, because they do, even if they turn you away. Please don’t turn your back on them. Tell them they are not alone. More importantly, tell them you love them. Take them to a movie. And if they don’t want to get out of bed to go to a movie, bring a television set and VCR to their college dorm room and sit with them through a really stupid science fiction movie. That’s what someone did for me and it has made all the difference.
Now go hug someone and take a walk in the rain just because you can. Life is good.
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One Story will have a table at the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday, so if you’re in town, come by and say hello. There are also tons of readings, check out the schedule here.
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The New York Observer published an article recently that suggests that it may make more sense to publish essays and short stories piece-by-piece instead of compiled together in an anthology. If the reader is only interested in a few of the pieces, why pay $30 for the whole book?
The article went on to explain that there are many people who aren’t as interested in reading a large book, but may be interested in reading something shorter that’s written by the same author. Since we’ve all become a nation used to blogs and text messaging, shouldn’t short stories be more popular than ever?
Perhaps the publishing industry should take a different approach with short stories.
You can read the rest of the article here.
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