Partying with Evil Monkey: New Year’s Resolutions and Predictions

Jeff:
Uhh! Stop doing that, Evil!

Evil Monkey:
Just checking to see if you’re dead yet.

Jeff:
Well, I’m not. So stop poking me with that stick.

Evil Monkey:
Take the long view. Soon enough, I’ll be poking you with that stick for a very good reason.

Jeff:
That’s somewhat macabre.

Evil Monkey:
Thought for sure this 60 in 60 thing would kill you. Thought it would happen long before the New Year. Cigar?

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A Few Writing- Related Thoughts to End the Year

Offered for serious or not-so-serious debate:

(1) Nothing on the internet is as important as anything in the physical world.

(2) Every book has two lives: that heat-signature descent from thought to publication and reaction, like a meteor encountering atmosphere, and a second life after the dust has settled from the impact. A wise writer will remember this, take the long view, and not sink into despair if at first their book plinks to the ground with all the raging force of a penny dropped from a torn pocket.

(3) No book written on a computer is old enough to be judged a classic. (Corollary: No writer who claims s/he cannot write without a computer is to be trusted…)

(4) A short attention span is the reader’s disability, not the writer’s.

(5) Books are one potent antidote to modern fragmentation–if you have lost the ability to concentrate on a book, you have lost something more general.

(6) Every book writer, no matter what they’ve written, has probably given up something in their lives to write that book–thus, show respect for that commitment even if you must disparage the book.

(7) Fiction writers who review books are like sex columnists who have had all kinds of inventive and unusual sex–they are both corrupted and made innocent by the experience. (Publication not required for orgasm.)

(8) A habit is not a process. Just because you have always sacrificed a goat and three hamsters and thereafter completed a novel does not mean there is no better way.

(9) Writers are egoists, and this cannot be avoided because otherwise the wounds you pick up in this profession never heal, but divest yourself of all pretension regarding the work itself, including special pens, special times, special paper, and even special hats (unless this is all you are wearing, in which case put the hat to a more practical purpose when company barges in unexpectedly).

(10) Remember how to write books in longhand for the days when we no longer have electricity, or publishers.

60 in 60: #17 – Nietzsche’s Why I Am So Wise (Penguin’s Great Ideas)

This blog post is part of my ongoing “60 Books in 60 Days” encounter with the Penguin Great Ideas series. From mid-December to mid-February, I will read one book in the series each night and post a blog entry about it the next morning. For more on this beautifully designed series, visit Penguin’s page about the books.

Why I Am So Wise
by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Memorable Line
“Seeing that I must shortly approach mankind with the heaviest demand that has ever been made upon it, it seems indispensable to me to say who I am.”

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60 in 60: #16 – Darwin’s On Natural Selection (Penguin’s Great Ideas)

This blog post is part of my ongoing “60 Books in 60 Days” encounter with the Penguin Great Ideas series. From mid-December to mid-February, I will read one book in the series each night and post a blog entry about it the next morning. For more on this beautifully designed series, visit Penguin’s page about the books.

On Natural Selection
by Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Memorable Line
“The illustration of the swimbladder in fishes is a good one, because it shows us clearly the highly important fact that an organ originally constructed for one purpose, namely flotation, may be converted into one for a wholly different purpose, namely respiration.”

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Ecstatic Days Vanderblog: 2008 Highlights


(Relic of a failed campaign: nothing I could have injected into the 2008 political season via Evil Monkey could have topped the drama of actual events; therefore, Evil’s campaign ended before it had even begun, despite this post.)

I’ve already posted links to the highlights of the year’s guest blogging. Now it’s time for the top 10 posts of the year (in no particular order) and top 10 images, which I have arrived at scientifically by consulting both Evil Monkey and our cats (Jango, Jackson, and Shosh).

Drum roll, please…

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City of Saints, Leviathan 3, and More: Art in the House

It seemed an appropriate time to talk about art in a more personal way, so here’s some of ours, along with a couple of “related” pieces. We have a lot more, but no place to put it, really…

Here’s Scott Eagle’s original cover art for City of Saints. An amazing piece of work that will change in color gradually as it ages…

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60 in 60: #15 – Ruskin’s On Art and Life (Penguin’s Great Ideas)

This blog post is part of my ongoing “60 Books in 60 Days” encounter with the Penguin Great Ideas series. From mid-December to mid-February, I will read one book in the series each night and post a blog entry about it the next morning. For more on this beautifully designed series, visit Penguin’s page about the books.

On Art and Life
by John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Memorable Line
“…while in all things that we see or do, we are to desire perfection, and strive for it, we are nevertheless not to set the meaner thing, in its narrow accomplishment, above the nobler thing, in its mighty progress; not to esteem smooth minuteness above shattered majesty; not to prefer mean victory to honourable defeat; not to lower the level of our aim, that we may the more surely enjoy the complacency of success.”

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