Author Interview, Daniel Clausen

Standard

Interview #65, with the author of “The Ghosts of Nagasaki”: Daniel Clausen!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Hopelessly romantic coffee drinker.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Inoue

This is the first paragraph from my upcoming novel, The Ghosts of Nagasaki:

The long backward perspective one gets from the angle of a word
processor some years later is a tricky one. As a connoisseur of
biography and autobiography I know that there is nothing less reliable than someone writing about his or her own past from his or her own perspective. And for the general welfare of those who look for the bare facts of the matter, I am obliged to stamp on the very first page, in the very first paragraph, in bold italics: All fact-seekers beware.

* You can join the emailing list for this book at: ghostsofnagasaki.com

* If you would like a free paperback or PDF version of the excerpt
“Silence” from this book, you can email Daniel at: lexicalfunk@gmail.com

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Not my favorite book, but one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami.

I actually don’t have any copies of my favorite books, as strange as that sounds. Here is something from Kafka by the Shore.

The massive bank of thunderclouds crossed the city at a lethargic
pace, letting loose a flurry of lightning bolts as if probing every
nook and cranny for a long-lost morality, finally dwindling to a
faint, angry echo from the eastern sky.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

That’s tough. A great deal of books on book marketing will tell you to begin your writing process with a target audience in mind.
This is counter-intuitive for most writers since most writing comes
from a desire to communicate something deeply personal. In other words, most authors start their books thinking about themselves, not their audience.

Even if you do decide to write something deeply personal, make sure
you get a good editor. Make sure you have an advertising
strategy that is practical and coherent. Make sure your book is the
best physical product you can have. And hopefully, the germ of your
inspiration to write will survive this process…there are no
guarantees.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I’m not sure what good writing is, but good fiction should aspire to
be more truthful than real life. Good fiction can reach for honesties
not captured by the world most people know.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

There’s no pot of gold, just the joy of doing good work. Doing good
work is difficult, so when you do it, it’s very rewarding.

Ah, diligence :) Your websites/blogs/etc:

ghostsofnagasaki.com

I just started the website, so please join the emailing list. If
you’re not sure how, just email me at: lexicalfunk@gmail.com

* * * * *

Much thanks to Daniel for stopping by — do visit his website for more info about his project!

Erotic Books: Poetry

Standard

=====

* This post is part of a short series:

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

=====

erotic_books

Jess’s erotic stash / “sex education”

[PART 3: Erotic Books / Poetry]

I’ve loved poetry since a really long time ago (of all subject matter and styles). It combines succinctness with wisdom/clarity, beauty with spirituality, so on and so forth. What’s there not to like?

AND when the topic is about sex or erotic love…

* * *

erotic_love_poems

11. Erotic Love Poems of Greece and Rome | Amazon.com

Blurb:

A taste of amour in the ancient world-newly translated. From the famous erotic poetry of Sappho to love scenes from Homer’s The Iliad, as well as works from such eminent Roman poets as Virgil and Catullus, this enthralling collection taps into a range of passionate, timeless emotions.

Excerpt:

Seeing someone incredibly beautiful can leave the timid observer speechless. So it was twenty-six centuries ago. In this poem, Sappho describes what she experienced when, from a distance, she saw a young man sitting close to the young woman she loved.

(Tongue-Tied, Page 27)

The beauty of ancient Greek/Roman culture and mythology are things I’ll never get tired of. A very concise + tasteful book.

Link: Amazon.com

* * *

love_poems_japanese

12. Love Poems from the Japanese (Shambhala Library) | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Drawn from classical, medieval, and modern sources — including the imperial collections of the Manyoshu and Kokinshu — the poems in this collection are some of the greatest love poems from the Japanese tradition. The poems range in tone from the spiritual longing of an isolated monk to the erotic ecstasy of a court princess — but share the extraordinary simplicity and luminosity of language that marks Kenneth Rexroth’s (the translator’s) verse style.

Excerpt:

Since “the pillow knows all”
we slept without a pillow.
Still my reputation
reaches to the skies
like a dust storm.

(Lady Ise / Page 43)

This is the most expensive of all the poetry books here (bought from Singapore at Kinokuniya a long time ago — I won some book vouchers). Money well spent. It’s a perfect book — nothing superfluous.

Link: Amazon.com

* * *

emily_dickinson

13. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Though generally overlooked during her lifetime, Emily Dickinson’s poetry has achieved acclaim due to her experiments in prosody, her tragic vision and the range of her emotional and intellectual explorations.

Excerpt:

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, —
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

(XXV, Emily Dickinson)

Wow, Emily Dickinson. A poet before her time, I think (with regards to style / mode of expression). But with reading her poetry, what I remembered the most was how she captured the sentiments/moments of our existence. I got this at the same time as the Japanese poetry book above, by the way.

Link: Amazon.com

* * *

baudelaire

14. Baudelaire | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Modern poetry begins with Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), who employed his unequalled technical mastery to create the shadowy, desperately dramatic urban landscape — populated by the addicted and the damned — which so compellingly mirrors our modern condition. Deeply though darkly spiritual, titanic in the changes he wrought, Baudelaire looms over all the work, great and small, created in his wake.

Excerpt:

Eyes glowing like an angel’s
I’ll come back to your bed
and reach for you from the shadows:
you won’t hear a thing.

(“Incubus” / Page 102)

Baudelaire was a French poet, essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe (!).

Links: Amazon.com | Wikipedia

* * *

erotic_poems

15. Erotic Poems | Amazon.com

Blurb:

These poems, selected from most of the cultures and histories of world literature, provide magnificent witness to the fact that love is as much an act of the imagination as it is of the body. From fourth-century Li Ch’ung’s “Parody of a Lover” to John Betmeman’s “Late-Flowering Lust,” they re-create, through the revelations of language, that experience of the erotic. Other poets include Theodore Roethke, Robert Graves, Octavio Paz, Joseph Brodsky, Sylvia Plath, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many others.

Excerpt:

…but I won’t call
Her ‘beautiful’. She has one fatal fault —
No sex-appeal: there’s not a grain of salt
In that big dish to stir the appetite.

(“Many Think Quintia’s Beautiful,” by Gaius Valerius Catullus)

Never know what I might find in this eclectic collection ;)

Link: Amazon.com

=====

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

=====

Drawing Confidence

Standard

japanese rock hairstyleJapanese Rock Hairstyle, 2
–> Ballpoint pen — was flipping through a Japanese hairstyle magazine for guys (sooo much better than the one for girls!) | first pic using the ‘cutout’ filter, second pic maybe using ‘dark strokes’ filter on PS

I’ve been a private tutor in the past (very fun) — there were a couple of kiddies I used to teach (who are now 11 years old, if I’m not wrong — WOW, that was fast). I think they were one of the few people I knew who truly enjoyed drawing/illustrating/doodling, in a pure kind of way. They didn’t have a whole guilt and/or negative complex that many adults seem to have when it comes to creating artwork (myself included, for a time).

I remember the first “proper” sketch I attempted, back in 2003 when I was 16+:

elf sketch, legolas
–> Legolas from LOtR | referred to an Orlando Bloom pic.

I drew a lot more when I was 17-18. I remember being quite diligent about it, because:

1) Those years of my life were very dismal and miserable — drawing calmed my nerves down, A LOT.
2) I used to compare drawing to my attempts/experience with writing. I wrote poems + stories throughout my childhood and teenage years — not so with drawing. I always wanted to draw though, I don’t know why.

So I kept drawing, despite people (teachers/lecturers) telling me not to (if they weren’t so boring as facilitators, maybe I wouldn’t have been doodling?)…despite feeling overwhelmed at times by all the crazy artistic talents out there…despite many trial-and-error type drawings that couldn’t be salvaged…

It’s quite strange to look back on, coz through it all, I think the whole process helped me gain confidence in not just drawing, but writing, and myself, and living life itself…it’s quite strange all this could come from “dirtying the paper delicately” (John Ruskin’s fine definition of “drawing”).

Side Note: If you want to buy just one drawing book, make sure it’s John Ruskin’s The Elements of Drawing.

john_ruskin

I think confidence is very important if one wants to do something/anything…confidence to try in the first place, confidence to keep going when it gets tough/sh*tty, confidence to say ‘yes’ even when the whole world is telling you ‘no’ (or the other way around, whichever)…

It’s what allows me to press forward with my next book (and I’d like to do some drawing, if I can slip that in somewhere. I can do those things now because I managed to clear out all the files from my thumbdrives and external hard drive, blahx3, email inboxes too. So everything is really nice and decluttered — just like an uncluttered blog, lol. Just a little bit more packing/cleaning to do with my room — THAT, completed, would be a bonus).

I could write/journal everyday — I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to do one drawing per day (no matter how small / seemingly insignificant). Long ago, I used to think it’d be an impossibility, but right now, it’s a matter of discipline and keeping to a schedule (unless one feels really burned out, in which case some rest would probably be most beneficial).

End Note: There is, however, a difference between confidence and foolishness/arrogance. One is progressive (and not necessarily loud/highly visible/detectable), whereas the other, well, essentially lacks substance. I hope I’ll always know/be aware of the difference.