Monthly Archives: August 2012

Going On The Account: RED JENNY Seventy Seven

Part Seventy Seven of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO in now up, and may be read here.

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Going On The Account: Sunset To The East

According to a piece in today’s NY TIMES, the number of pirate attacks reported off the Horn of Africa are down over 80% comparing this year so far versus all of 2011.


So far, Combined Task Force 151 is not claiming victory, which is never a good idea in any event, but they are citing improved security measures as the reason for the drop off.  The article above does discuss how the Navy is citing better enforcement as the the reason for the greater security for shipping.


No mention in the article is made about Somalia’s improving domestic stability, although passing mention is made about renewed political turmoil possibly spiking the figures should it occur.


Yeah, even the bad jokes sometimes try to write themselves…

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Going On The Account: Ship to Shore

I know I said that I was going to be offline for the week, but I had to come closer in to thank Susan Rocan at Mywithershins for posting an interview she conducted with me.  I have to say, I thought she asked some very tough questions; part of me kept hoping that she graded on a curve…


As noted earlier, I’m going to be out of touch for most of the week otherwise, and back ashore by this time next week.  In the meantime, to reiterate the point, I leave you with this…


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Going On The Account: Spotting False Flags

The whole debate about whether writers just “make stuff up” or draw from their life experience, and if so how much of each, took an interesting turn when Jay Caspian Kang broke down a passage from his novel The Dead Do Not Improve over at Gawker.  It’s an interesting read, watching him take apart his passage and declaring which bits he made up and which he lived.


Frankly, I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do that.  A certain amount of what I share online is obviously fictitious, such as, say, firing four pounders at square rigs off the coast of Florida, so I’m not ashamed to highlight where the heavy schloffing took place.  Frankly, I’m rather proud of my schloffing, truth be told, or not…


As for pointing out where the drawing in the IRL materials occurred, I don’t know if that’s my place to do that.  I have fond memories of pursuing an English degree, watching professors proudly share their research where they tore apart text to show where a writer got his or her inspiration; who am I to deny scholars a chance at building tenure from reading my work by spoiling it for them…?


I personally blame James Frey for this. Hell, I’d blame Dick Cheney on James Frey if I thought I could get away with it, but this charge is more likely to stick, but anyway…  After Frey’s A Million Little Pieces came out, he tried to pass that off as a memoir, an account which could not be verified by The Smoking Gun when they failed to find his arrest record, leading the whole thing to shatter into a mill-

OK, yeah, that was going to be glib; gotta watch that…


But then, after all of that, he’s still writing, going on to use his name to become a hack mill, getting someone else to do the heavy lifting because he could offer someone access.  And I thought that when you did write-for-hire like that, you were supposed to be working under a better quality name that that, which means either H. L. Mencken was right (again) or there are way to many desperate MFA holders out there…


The point is, does this really matter this much?  Do all writers of fiction have to have some sort of authenticity to make their work credible?  Do we ignore the people who write if they admit that they dreamed up too much of their work?


If we did go that route, that would mean I’d have to give up on one of my inspirations, Stephen Vincent Benet.  Here was a writer who could move quite comfortably between historical, fantasy, SF, Westerns, and go further afield into poetry.  Would a man of pure letters still find an audience among readers demanding “authenticity”?  Would someone with talent who didn’t conveniently stick to just one genre still be taken on by an agent or a publisher, if they thought he couldn’t be properly branded?

That’s an authentic concern, right there…


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Going On The Account: RED JENNY Seventy Six (Gimme A Break)

Part Seventy Six of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO in now up, and may be read here.


As I warned you, I’m going to need at least a week off this summer, and next week’s the one I planned for.  I’ll be a bit out of touch for the next few days, possibly signaling to shore as the chance presents, but don’t expect a lot out of me for a while.  Not that I encourage a lot of expectations, mind you…

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Going On The Account: Not Quite Hoisting the Jolly Roger, And Yet…

You know, with the long tradition pirates and privateers have had for on occasion being courtly as they seized prizes, you would think people would be less surprised when Somali pirate Jamal Faahiye Culusow started handing out courteous memos to ship owners whose vessels were now his prizes.


Then again, we see so many pieces about rude drivers, kids not sending thank you notes, poor sportsmanship by fans, and what have you, that maybe for most of us this is a novelty…

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Going On The Account: Don’t Cry For Me…

So apparently another good reason to be a writer in Argentina is, you can qualify for a pension.

I knew I should have taken Spanish in high school…

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