Archive for the 'writing' Category

Jun 30 2007

Puck is back

Published by Brian under art, mp3, poetry, publishing, music, writing, reviews

I’m reviving Puck, which I published as an ink-on-paper magazine back in the 1990s when there were still trees. I’m looking for a few good contributors. Interested?

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Feb 07 2007

Freedom of Expression

review by Brian Charles Clark

Freedom of Expression
by Kembrew McLeod
Publisher: Doubleday, 2005

Freedom of ExpressionNovelist Michael Chabon, in a recent review of a new edition of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, concluded by stating “Every novel is a sequel. Influence is bliss.” Those lines could have been an epigraph for Kembrew McLeod’s Freedom of Expression. McLeod is a sociology professor and an expert in the study of popular culture—just the sort of academic over which right-wingers love to excoriate “liberal” universities. But Freedom of Expression justifies society’s investment in scholars like McLeod: his book is learned, ranges widely over key areas of the copyright and intellectual property wars, and (here’s something you don’t hear everyday in regard to a scholarly work) is damn funny. Continue Reading »

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Oct 31 2006

Creative Commons 3.0

A draft of the new Creative Commons license has just been published. According to bOING bOING, in its first 3.5 years, 160,000,000 works were released under the license.

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Sep 29 2006

Unbounded Freedom: A guide to Creative Commons thinking for cultural organisations

Unbounded Freedom by Rosemary Bechler is a new publication from Counterpoint to be launched in partnership with the London Book Fair on 29 September 2006.” The report is free, of course, because it’s under a Creative Commons license. Cool. Meanwhile, the British Library has published a Manifesto calling for the simplification of copyright and IP law in the digital age, as well as for reasonable and restrained statutory limitations.

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Sep 19 2006

Bob’s Island

Published by Brian under art, writing

Bob’s island was being carried around on the back of a turtle. The turtle didn’t seem to mind, and moved real slow. The island sometimes experienced earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters, but Bob didn’t think these were the turtle’s fault. Certainly not the tidal waves. The island was, after all, very big. It was bound to make waves, even slow as the turtle moved.

The above microstory can be translated, via Gizoogle, into Snoop speak: Sizzept. 19, 2006. Bob’s Island. Bob’s island was being carried around on tha back of a turtle. Drop it like its hot. The turtle didn’t seem ta mind, n moved real slow cuz its a pimp thang. The island sometizzles experienced earthquakes, volcanoes n nigga natural disasta, but Bob didn’t think these were tha turtle’s fault. Certainly not tha tidal waves fo’ real. The island was, pusha all, very big like this and like that and like this and uh. It was bound ta makes waves, even sliznow as tha turtle moved.

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Sep 13 2006

Wordcraft of Oregon

Published by Brian under publishing, writing

Noted small-press publisher David Memmott has resurrected his much-loved press, Wordcraft of Oregon, and has a gorgeous new web site.

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Aug 31 2006

Puck and Permeable Press for Wikipedians

Published by Brian under art, publishing, writing, reviews

I just created articles in Wikipedia for Permeable Press and Puck magazine. I encourage all contributors to either of those enterprises to edit those articles, and to create biographical articles on themselves and then update the Permeable and/or Puck articles with the links. Likewise, you can contact me with your info, corrections or additions to the articles, and I’ll be happy to create and/or update the article(s) for you.

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Oct 06 2005

Borges: A Life

Published by Brian under biography, writing, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

Borges: A Life
by Edwin Williamson
Publisher: Penguin, 2005

Borges, a lifeJorge Luis Borges, the great Argentinean writer, led a fascinatingly diverse life almost entirely within the city limits of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires was, in the early twentieth century, one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, and so it is fair to say that Borges experienced numerous worlds without needing to leave home. Born in 1899, he was bilingual from the first, as his grandmother was British. His parents were in conflict over Argentinean politics, which perhaps influenced Borges’ seeming non-partisanship in his writing.

Indeed, if there is a problem with Williamson’s Life, it is the reduction of Borges’ life, character and work to this conflict between his parents. Williamson frequently tries to psychoanalyze the life and work in terms of this conflict and, as far as it goes, this provides insight. But did his parents really shape Borges’ entire life? The evidence provided by Williamson himself indicates otherwise. Continue Reading »

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Aug 15 2005

The Truth about Stories

review by Brian Charles Clark

The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative
by Thomas King
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2005

The Truth about StoriesIn The Truth about Stories, Thomas King, a Native novelist and professor of English at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, explores creation stories, Native history, racism, and the image of the “Indian.” King is upfront with his opinion about narrative: “The truth about stories,” he claims, “is that that’s all we are” (2 and passim). We tell stories, he says, to inform ourselves about where we’re from, where we’re going, and who we are along the way. In this series of essays, originally delivered as the Massey Lectures at the University of Toronto, King is funny, eclectic, smart, searching, straightforward and, I’m convinced, right: we are our stories.

However, readers looking for evidence in support of King’s claim that we narrate our lives will have to look elsewhere. The Truth about Stories is highly subjective and anecdotal, and full of bold claims like this one: “‘You can’t understand the world without telling a story,’ the Anishinabe writer Gerald Vizenor tells us. ‘There isn’t any center to the world but a story’” (32). But one only has to look just outside of literary studies (where narrative theory is weak, bound, as it is, to an antiquated misconception of identity between “plot,” “story,” and “narrative”) to find powerful support for King’s claim. Narrative, Ochs and Capps write in an interdisciplinary review of the literature on the centrality and importance of story, “is born out of experience and gives shape to experience. In this sense, narrative and self are inseparable. Self is here broadly understood to be an unfolding reflective awareness of being-in-the-world, including a sense of one’s past and future…. We come to know ourselves as we use narrative to apprehend experiences and navigate relationships with others” (Annual Review of Anthropology 1996:20-21). Continue Reading »

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Aug 02 2005

The Shadow of the Wind

Published by Brian under fiction, writing, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Penguin, 2005

The Shadow of the Wind is a dream date for those who love books. It starts, in 1945, with the introduction of the young narrator, Daniel, to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Daniel’s father, a dealer of used and rare books in Barcelona, tells the young boy, “When a library disappears, or a bookshop closes down, when a book is consigned to oblivion, those of us who know this place, its guardians, make sure that it gets here.” In the Cemetery, “books that are lost in time, live forever…. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.” Mourning the loss of his mother, Daniel befriends a book he finds there, The Shadow of the Wind, written by a certain Julián Carax.

Entranced by the novel, young Daniel sets out to discover who this Carax was, and what else he wrote. Daniel’s father, the book dealer, has never heard of Carax. Together they consult other dealers. One offers Daniel a considerable sum of money for his copy of The Shadow of the Wind—but won’t say why he prizes it so highly. Daniel, though, refuses to sell the book. Continue Reading »

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