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Posts Tagged ‘Raymond Carver’

Granta’s Artistic Director on Sex-Themed Videos and Book Trailer Tips

sexissuecover.jpgAs homemade book trailers, promotional materials, and even book covers become more commonplace, many writers could use a course in design work.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Michael Salu, the artistic director at Granta–talking about the videos and cover design he worked on for the literary journal’s upcoming sex-themed issue (pictured). Before joining Granta, Salu served as senior designer at CCVP, Random House UK. He has designed book jackets for titles by Italo Calvino, Raymond Carver, and Bruce Chatwin.

Press play below to listen; Salu joined the conversation around the four-minute mark.

Here’s his advice on book trailers: “For me it’s actually trying to develop a new visual grammar. It’s a difficult thing to avoid in that kind of standard book trailer–using the grammar of television. We’re talking about literature, which is a richer source of inspiration. It’s interesting to see it from that context–using the medium of film to create emotion and atmosphere, rather than having it be too stylized or too careful.”

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David Lynch Foundation Helps Filmmaker Adapt a New Yorker Short Story

PathLightsHome.jpgA young filmmaker has adapted Tom Drury‘s New Yorker short story, “Path Lights“–an excellent combination of Raymond Carver prose, hardboiled private detectives, and metafictional tricks.

The film will first screen through the David Lynch Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Twin Peaks and Eraserhead director to support arts and meditation. The film will debut on the foundation’s website on Dec. 2. The short film was directed by Zachary Sluser, and the cast includes John Hawkes and Xander Berkeley.

Here’s an excerpt from the original story: “One day, a bottle almost hits us. It’s a brown quart bottle that falls out of the sky. We are in the arroyo, the dogs and me, walking … I think of the pilot tossing a Coke bottle from a plane in the movie ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy.’ But, as a detective once told me, ‘Most of the time, we find that the thing that probably happened? Is the thing that did happen.’” UPDATE: This post was corrected to fix an erroneous statement about the film’s financing.

Everybody Loves Raymond Carver

raymondcarver23.pngRaymond Carver‘s famous short story collection title has become one of the blogosphere’s most popular headline jokes.

As writers churn out more and more content for the Internet age, one Gawker writer discovered that the “‘What We Talk About When We Talk About [X]‘ (WWTAWWTAX) construction” has become one of the most popular quick and dirty headlines. The title is taken from Carver’s classic collection (and short story of the same name), “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”

Here’s more from the post: “it’s showing off. It’s pandering–signaling to a certain preferred reader : ‘This one’s for you, you brilliant appreciator of contemporary short fiction!’ and to another reader: ‘Stay away, cretin!’ The majority of these publications’ readers probably do occupy that demographic and temporal hot spot for which Carver is sort of an unofficial poet laureate. Most of the people reading this do. I definitely do. (In fact the first time I spotted a WWTAWWTAX headline I was so amused/pleased with myself for getting the reference, that I tweeted about it.)”

Can Sobriety Change a Writing Career?

cheeverbio23.jpg
When poet John Berryman, short story master Raymond Carver, and novelist John Cheever (pictured, via his recent biography) quit drinking, the effects of sobriety were profound.

Author and Daily Beast contributor Tom Shone published an Intelligent Life essay about what happened to the work of alcoholic writers when they stopped drinking. For too many writers, drinking and writing are intertwined–his essay takes a look at this fundamental myth.

Here’s an excerpt from the article: “[S]obering up is one of the more devastating acts of literary criticism an author can face. John Cheever‘s alcohol counsellors noted: ‘He dislikes seeing self negatively and seems to have internalised many rather imperious upper-class Boston attitudes which he ridicules and embraces at the same time’–which must rank among the sternest reviews he ever got.” (Via The Daily Beast)

Apocalypse Literary

The LA Times’ Scott Timberg fashions a trend piece out of three recent novels dealing with life after apocalypse: Cormac McCarthy‘s THE ROAD, Chris Adrian‘s THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL and most recently, Matthew Sharpe‘s JAMESTOWN. Add in other related fare by Carolyn See, Daniel Alarcon and David Mitchell and Timberg is right to wonder what’s in the water to produce all this end-of-the-world type of fiction.

The simple answer, Timberg says, is that the attacks of 9/11 and the Iraq war have brought a sense of unease and vulnerability to both artists and audiences. Growing worries about global warming and the greater visibility of the Christian right — Protestant fundamentalists, for whom the apocalypse is not metaphor, are thought to have swung the last two presidential elections — have brought the end of the world in from the shadows. But Steve Erickson offers a more literary viewpoint, saying this new emphasis also has to do with a blurring of lines between literary and genre fiction. “Twenty years ago, there was still an insularity to a lot of fiction, especially work put out by the New York publishing houses. It was still doing Raymond Carver and that neorealist minimalist thing. It regarded the futurism that’s kind of implicit in apocalyptic writing as kind of lowbrow.” Now, Erickson said, “there’s a new generation of writers who are more involved with other things happening in the culture.”