The Writing Life: reflections by a working writer. The Writing Life

Reflections of a working writer, a university screenwriting professor, and the editor of Oregon Literary Review.

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A guide to publishers and publishing services for serious writers, including info on scam agents.

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Charles Deemer

Oregon Literary Review

MFA, Playwriting, University of Oregon

Writing faculty, Portland State University (part-time)

Retired playwright and screenwriter.
Active novelist, librettist and teacher.

Email: cdeemer(at)yahoo(dot)com

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Finalist, Oregon Book Award

Practical Screenwriting

Love At Ground Zero


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Blogs by (mostly) creative writers:

"Can We Talk About Me For A Change?"
Playwright Debra Neff Nathans

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a weblog for writers (resources)

Silliman's Blog
Ron Silliman, contemporary poetry and poetics

Maud Newton
literary links, amusements, politics, rants

Darren Barefoot
Technical and creative writing, theatre, Dublin

Rob's Writing Pains
Journey of a struggling writer.

Mad, Mad World
Cara Swann, fiction writer, journalist, "reflections on humanity, random news & my life."

Random musings on a writer's life and times.

Barbara Flaska's compilation of the best online articles about music and culture.

Write Of Way
Samantha Blackmon's written musings on writing (composition and rhetoric).

Alexander b. Craghead: blog
Writing, photography, and watercolors.

Rodney's Painted Pen
Rodney Bohen's daily commentary "on the wondrous two legged beast we fondly refer to as mankind." His pen runneth over.

Frustrated Writer
This one named Nicole.

scribble, scribble, scribble
Journalist Dale Keiger teaches nonfiction scribbling to undergraduate and graduate students at Johns Hopkins University.

The Unofficial Dave Barry Blog
The very one.

The Hive
The official blog of science fiction / horror author Terence West.

William Gibson Blog
Famed author of Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic: The Screenplay.

The Word Foundry
Joe Clifford Faust's "blog of a working writer: tracking writing projects, musings on the creative process, occasional side trips into music, media, politics, religion, etc."

A Writer's Diary
By Cynthia Harrison, who has the good sense to quote Virginia Woolf: "The truth is that writing is the profound pleasure and being read the superficial."

Bow. James Bow.
The journal of James Bow and his writing.

Michael Montoure's weblog about writing, primarily horror and speculative fiction.

By David Henry, "a poet's weblog from Aberdeen, Scotland."

Modem Noise
By Adrian Bedford, a "fledgling Pro SF Writer, living in Perth, Australia."

"A wry writerly blog named in honour of a minor character in a minor Shirley Temple film."

Real Writers Bounce
Holly Lisle's blog, "a novelist's roadmap through the art and ordeal of finding the damned words."

2020 Hindsight
By Susan.

downWrite creative
Phil Houtz's notes on the writing life.

Vivid: pieces from a writer's notebook
Blog of Canadian poet Erin Noteboom.

The Literary Saloon
The literary weblog at the complete review.

Rabbit Blog
The rabbit writes on popular culture.

This Girl's Calendar
Momoka writes short stories.

Twists & Turns
Musings by writer Michael Gates.

Plays and Musicals -- A Writer's Introspective
A blog by John D. Nugent - Composer, Playwright, and Artistic Director of the Johnson City Independent Theatre Company

The American Sentimentalist
"Never has any people endured its own tragedy with so little sense of the tragic." Essays by Mark W. Anderson.

Screenwriting By Blog
David C. Daniel writes a screenplay online. "I've decided to publish the process as a way to push myself through it. From concept to completion, it'll be here."
Official site of occult fiction author Sean-Alonzo, exploring symbolism, alternative history, philosophy, secret societies and other areas of the esoteric tradition.

Crafty Screenwriting
Maunderings of Alex Epstein, tv scribe, about life, politics, and the tv show I'm co-creating.

Letters From The Home Front
The life of a writer, 21, home schooled, rural living.

Venal Scene
The blog of bite-sized plays inspired by the news (by Dan Trujillo).

'Plaint of the Playwright
Rob Matsushita, a playwright from Wisconsin, "whines a lot."

I Pity Da Fool!
Glenn's adventures in screenwriting.

Time In Tel-Aviv
Hebrew modern literature at its best, by Corinna Hasofferett.

Big Window
Robin Reagler's poetry blog.

John Baker's Blog
Author of the Sam Turner and Stone Lewis novels.

The Writing Life With Dorothy Thompson
What goes on during a writer's busy day?

The Rebel Housewife
Not just a housewife!

Barry's Personal Blog
A running commentary on writing and the writing life.

Bonnie Blog
Maintained by Bonnie Burton of

Writer's Blog.
By easywriter. "From the walls of caves to cyberspace."

Flogging the Quill
Pursuing the art and craft of compelling storytelling, by an editor, Ray Rhamey.

Man Bytes Hollywood
Sharing tools, strategies and resources for the screenwriter's journey.

Mad for the smell of paper
A writing journal.

The Writing Life
A blog by Katey Schultz.

It Beats Working 9-5
A screenwriting blog by a young Canadian screenwriter.

Stealing Heaven From The Lips Of God
Writer & Artist, Dee Rimbaud reflects upon politics, religion, art, poetry, the meaning of life, the nature of God and why toast always lands butter side down on carpets.

Robert Peake
Heart and Mind, Fully Engage ... a poet's website.

Sidestepping Real
By Ren Powell, poet, children’s writer, essayist and editor.

Suggest a writer's blog

plagiarism blog

The Writing Life...
"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."
J.D. Salinger

"All my best friends are writers and are dead."
A friend over beer, Berkeley, winter, 1959

"And it came to pass that all the stars in the firmament had ceased to shine. But how was anyone to know?"
The Half-Life Conspiracy

After October 31, 2006,
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The Writing Life II

(Posts archived here are from 01/10/03 - 10/31/06)

Thursday, May 26, 2005  
This first novel by Josephine Hart, published in 1991, is a gem: dramatic, thought-provoking, disturbing, compelling. I couldn't put it down last night and finished in a few hours. It well deserves its press clippings: "a passionate, elegant, ruthless story" (Iris Murdoch), "I have read something rare." (Erica Jong).

This is the story of a man who has an obsessive, mutual affair with his son's girlfriend and finance. Here he is in bed with his wife.

And so we lay in bed. A man whose eyes could deceive a wife of nearly thirty years, and a wife who after nearly thirty years could be so deceived. Our practised movements were as pleasant as an old remembered song of long ago. But even as I surrendered to those final shudders that are all and nothing, it was, I knew, a final defeat for Ingrid in a battle she did not know she waged. And it was a triumph for Anna, who had not even fought. 'I cannot and will not do this again.' That was my last thought as Ingrid drifted dreamily to sleep in my arms.

His lover reminds him of something:

"Possibly. I warned you at the beginning. I told you to take care."

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."

"Yes. You remember. You can have what you want of me forever. I want what you want. We can continue for all our lives, together. Lives can be arranged like that. If I married Martyn, think how easy it would be. We could see each other all the time. I could entwine myself around you like ivy round a tree. I recognised my ruler. The moment I saw you, I surrendered."

The lover talks of her traumatic relationship with her brother, who later commits suicide:

But young boys in their early teens cannot lie chaste for long, beside a female body. Suddenly he was erect. Such a little movement, such a fleeting caress and his semen was on my stomach. He wept. His tears ran down my breasts. I felt as though I had received some strange benediction. Semen and tears. They would always be symbols of the night for me.

The man in his bedroom at home:

We were in the bedroom. I never really thought of it as ours. Certainly I never thought of it as mine. It was the bedroom where Ingrid and I spent that time of our marriage, the room which tells the real story of a man and woman in that strange arrangement. But the story has no observers other than the participants. They must in most cases lie to themselves, and to each other. The secrets of the bedroom lie buried under layers of time and custom, children, work, dinner parties, illnesses, and the myriad other rituals and events with which we dull the pain.

His son discovers the affair and accidentally falls to his death. The man to his wife:

"Can I see Sally sometimes?"

"Of course. But ask her not to tell me."

"I will."

"I do not ask your plans. Keep them secret from me."

"I will."

"You never loved me, you know."


"Deep down I knew that. But it seemed to suit both of us at the time."

"Yes. Oh yes, it did . . . so well."

"Is this love's revenge, do you think? Its lesson? It will not be cheated."


"I'd like to find that certain kind of love too."

The man visits an old male friend of the lover, looking for her:

"My wife wished I'd died. Not lived to do this."

"But then you'd never have lived at all. Would you?"


He smiled, as he led me to the door.

"Few regret the experience."

“Do you?"

"I never had that kind of experience with Anna. Neither did Martyn. In that one way you were truly made for each other. Men and women find all sorts of ways to be together, all sorts of ways. Yours was high and dangerous. Most of us stay on the lower paths."

I cannot recommend this extraordinary novel highly enough. Compelling, dramatic, about what might be called the dark side of biology (what Norman Mailer was getting at in The Prisoner of Sex).

5/26/2005 06:19:00 AM | 0 comments

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