Carousel #9

  1. One of my old creative writing professors was named a Guggenheim fellow. Pretty fantastic. A friend of mine called my attention to it and we reminisced about our days in fiction workshop at the Biscayne Bay campus and our quick dinners at Taco Bell.
  2. Huh. Here’s something new I learned today: apparently, Emily Dickinson used to love to bake a lot. Here’s the original recipe for her coconut cake.
  3. About a month or so ago, I read Edith Wharton’s book called The Writing of Fiction, which gives her opinions on writers and advice on the writing process (from novels to short stories to genre fiction, like horror). Here’s her story, “Copy: A Dialogue,” which was published in Scribner’s Magazine in 1900.
  4. I recently watched Martin’s Scorsese’s documentary, Public Speaking, on the writer and social commentator Fran Lebowitz. Here’s a video clip of Lebowitz discussing the posterity of Jane Austen. I love the idea of how readers should view books as doors rather than mirrors.
  5. I don’t know about the readers of this blog, but I’m a largely introverted person. In fact, I’m probably the most introverted person I know. Ever since I was little, this has been treated as a huge issue in pretty much every facet of my life. Then along comes Susan Cain and her TED talk. She is the author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which I plan on reading sometime hopefully this year (my to-read list is getting ridiculous again, of course). If you’re an introvert, you may find it reassuring to be reminded every once in a while that you shouldn’t feel ashamed of who you are.


  1. I am definitely going to have to read the book about introverts – I always feel guilty for being such an introvert. I think I am okay / semi functioning socially, but I do need my 'alone' time or I can go a bit mad. I think it stems partly from being an only child. However, it looks really interesting, so hopefully I can get around to reading it this summer.
    Also, I am pretty sure me and Dickinson could have been best friends. She loved dogs, as well!
    Anyway, hope you're well, Joseph. And glad to see you back from your internet break. This is dramatic, but I am sure a part of me would die if you deserted me.
    PS: Your sister added me on flickr and it made my day. She's so great!

    1. I think it's really great that a book like this exists. I'm kind of reclusive, so it's nice to hear I'm not entirely crazy. I like spending time with friends every once in a while, but I need a lot of alone time to recharge my batteries. I'm going to try to read it soon.

      I'm glad you're back too! Yeah, my sister had her art show at school and I told her about your paintings and photography. She was under a lot of pressure recently, trying to finalize everything for her portfolio.

      1. Awh, your poor sister! I don't think I could ever study art, I am sure it would completely drain me and leave me uninspired.

        I have so many books I want to read this summer! I just bought a whole bunch, too! I'm nearly done with Middlemarch, which I have been working through since about January. I don't think it has ever taken me five months to complete a book! But I have been preoccupied and reading other books, as well, so I think I should be forgiven.

        I still check your goodreads often and love to see what you're up to over there. You should write more reviews, though! I mean they don't have to be five paragraphs, but I'd just like to hear your perspective.


        1. She takes advanced placement art, so yes, it's been very draining for her. Inspiration kind of becomes irrelevant when you're expected to churn things out on a regular basis.

          I've been reading through The Hunger Games series recently because of my sister. She begged me to, and she never begs me to read anything. We've been reading them together, and I've been enjoying them more than I expected to (I had no interest at first). I also read Edith Wharton's book on fiction, which I can recommend, and I think Italo Calvino is next on my list.

  2. I'm an introvert too. Thanks for linking to that talk! I remember a really good, old article on that subject – have you seen it? It was in the Atlantic Monthly.

    1. The parts about small talk are especially true to me. If I don't have an interesting topic to discuss with people, I usually end up having nothing to say at all. Haha, I love the last line too. Perfect.

  3. Interested in reading Wharton's book… I've not read any of her NF. Glad you wrote of Public Speaking, I purchased it for our library, but it was snagged before I could check out. Introvert…used to be, then went to hell a few times and aged quite a bit…a loner, but not nearly as shy. nice blog, cheers ~

    1. I'd recommend her book on writing! Although parts of it may seem a bit dated, her advice is quite timeless. Public Speaking is great too, and I could listen to Fran Lebowitz talk forever. She is such an interesting person.

      It seems like most introverts are forced to accommodate or sacrifice some part of their personality, since we live in a society that so obviously favors extroverts and extroverted characteristics. And, as a result, it seems like a lot of people misunderstand us too.

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