…history suggests that the human spirit wanders farthest in the silent hours between midnight and dawn. Those dark fruitful hours, seldom recorded, whose secret flowerings breed peace and war, loves and hates, the crowning or uncrowning of heads.

Joan Lindsay
Picnic at Hanging Rock

didn’t like lamps

October 20, 2018

Dostoyevsky read by the light of two candles. He didn’t like lamps. He smoked a lot while he worked and occasionally drank strong tea. He led a monotonous life, starting off in Staraya Russya (the prototype of the town where Karamazov lived). His favourite colour — the waves of the sea. He often dresses his heroines in that colour.

Andrei Tarkovsky
Diaries translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair

walking in the stream

But why do so many of us, as female artists, have to go to war to tell our stories when we have so much to offer? Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity? I think it is because we, as women, have been devalued artistically to an indecent state, to the point where the film industry stopped making an effort to find out what female audiences wanted to see and what stories we wanted to tell.

According to a recent study, between 2007 and 2016, only 4 percent of directors were female and 80 percent of those got the chance to make only one film. In 2016, another study found, only 27 percent of words spoken in the biggest movies were spoken by women. And people wonder why you didn’t hear our voices sooner. I think the statistics are self-explanatory — our voices are not welcome.

Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators.

Salma Hayek
Harvey Weinstein is my monster too

real or not real

June 12, 2018

I have a problem when people say something’s real or not real, or normal or abnormal. The meaning of those words for me is very personal and subjective. I’ve always been confused and never had a clearcut understanding of the meaning of those kinds of words.

Timothy Walter (Tim) Burton
Burton on Burton

remember pain

April 7, 2018

But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.

Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale

How do you like your eggs in the morning?
I like mine with a kiss
Boiled or fried?
I’m satisfied as long as I get my kiss –

HOW D’YA LIKE YOUR EGGS IN THE MORNING ?
From the film “Rich, Young And Pretty” (1951)
(Nicholas Brodszky / Sammy Cahn)

piss on the corpse

March 17, 2018

To paraphrase Truman Capote, finishing a novel is like taking a child out behind the house and shooting it. To which I would hasten to add, that makes critics a bit like a stranger who come along later to piss on the corpse.

Caitlín R. Kiernan
Trilobite: the writing of Threshold

The 20th-century novel

March 6, 2018

a lens in your eye

As more than one critic has noted, today’s novelists tend not to write exposition as fully as novelists of the 19th century. Where the first chapter of Stendahl’s “Red and the Black” (1830) is given over to the leisurely description of a provincial French town, its topographic features, the basis of its economy, the person of its mayor, the mayor’s mansion, the mansion’s terraced gardens and so on, Faulkner’s “Sanctuary” (1931) begins this way: “From beyond the screen of bushes which surrounded the spring, Popeye watched the man drinking.”

The 20th-century novel minimizes discourse that dwells on settings, characters’ CVs and the like. The writer finds it preferable to incorporate all necessary information in the action, to carry it along in the current of the narrative, as is done in movies.

Of course there are 19th-century works, Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer,” for example (” ‘Tom?’ No answer.”), that jump right into things, and perhaps American writers always have been disposed to move along at a snappier pace than their European counterparts. But the minimal use of exposition does suppose a kind of filmic compact between writer and reader, that everything will become clear eventually.

Beyond that, the rise of film art is coincident with the tendency of novelists to conceive of compositions less symphonic and more solo voiced, intimate personalist work expressive of the operating consciousness. A case could be made that the novel’s steady retreat from realism is as much a result of film’s expansive record of the way the world looks as it is of the increasing sophistications of literature itself.

E L Doctorow
Quick cuts: the novel follows film into a world of fewer words

escapist…?

February 20, 2018

Folk legend, fairytale, myth are thought of as escapist, but in reality they’re not – they’re distilled metaphor and truth.

Alan Garner
Interview in BBC TV programme “Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers

try my hand at a novel

January 30, 2018

EMILIA DZIUBAK

I was always into horror when I was a kid – the old American International pictures, the big-bug movies, then the Hammer stuff. And of course the books, Dracula and Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, Shirley Jackson’s novels, and the great pulp writers like Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, and Richard Matheson. I even briefly liked Lovecraft, though I find him utterly unreadable now. When I decided that I wanted to get out of writing for magazines try my hand at a novel, King and Straub and a number of other really fine writers were already well into their stride and I was reading them a lot, and the movies had become a lot edgier and in-your-face, with stuff like The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the like, and I thought it was a very exciting period to be writing horror. So it was natural that I gravitate there with my first one, Off Season.

Jack Ketchum
Interview with Rob Hart for Litreactor, 27th April 2012