Marginalia: George Eliot

November 22 was George Eliot’s birthdate. She has been one of my early favorites and, maybe, only second to Virginia Woolf among my literary icons. What got me hooked from the start was how she packed so much into a single page about human nature and character that rereading certain bits still leaves me breathless. I completely agree with Byatt that: “One of the reasons I loved her work when I met it was that she both showed people thinking intensely — as well as feeling — and knew and understood herself what they were thinking about. . . When I was younger it was fashionable to criticise Eliot for writing from a god’s eye view, as though she were omniscient. Her authorial commenting voice appeared old-fashioned. It was felt she should have chosen a limited viewpoint, or written from inside her characters only. I came to see that this is nonsense. If a novelist tells you something she knows or thinks, and you believe her, that is not because either of you think she is God, but because she is doing her work – as a novelist. We were taught to laugh at collections of “the wit and wisdom of Eliot”. But the truth is that she is wise – not only intelligent, but wise. Her voice deepens our response to her world.” Continue reading Marginalia: George Eliot


Marginalia: The Decay of Lying — An Observation (essay)

This essay is from a collection titled ‘Intentions’. It is a Socratic dialogue between two (fictional) characters, Vivian and Cyril. Of course, it is written in Wilde’s trademark satiric style. As Wikipedia sums up rather nicely, it lays out four doctrines about art for art’s sake and aesthetics as below. It is important to keep in mind that Wilde was also defending the romanticism movement in art rather than the realist or post-modern movements that were going on also at the time. Though I am more a realist myself, I think there is plenty of room, even today, for understanding some of these tenets — particularly about how life imitates art more than art imitates life. Continue reading Marginalia: The Decay of Lying — An Observation (essay)


My Ten Rules for Writing

I believe in rules. I believe in having them, knowing them, and then breaking them in conscious, considered ways when needed. But you can’t break a rule that doesn’t exist. For me, these writing rules are heuristics. They are tools that can aid learning, exploration, discovery, process management, and problem-solving. I fully expect that they will evolve as I evolve as a writer. [Remember, though, … Continue reading My Ten Rules for Writing


2015: A Year of Reading and Writing (Part 3)

Part 1 covered my favorite 2015 online reads on various themes; Part 2 focused on just those that were related to literature. Part 3 will now address favorite book reads of 2015. If you’ve been following this irregular little blog along, you’ll recall that my 2015 focus was on short stories. And, mostly, I’ve stuck to them. Overall, I read 29 books in 2015. This … Continue reading 2015: A Year of Reading and Writing (Part 3)


2015: A Year of Reading and Writing (Part 2)

In Part 1, I covered some of the 2015 online reads on different themes/topics that have stuck with me. Now, in Part 2, I’m focusing on 2015 online reads related to the reading and writing of literature. As I collected all the links to add here, three themes emerged: essays/articles/interviews that inspired me to read or write better; diversity issues in publishing; sexism issues in … Continue reading 2015: A Year of Reading and Writing (Part 2)