Favourite Lines: ‘Heart of Man’ by Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Dear readers,

I recently finished reading Heart of Man by Jón Kalman Stefánsson, translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton, and wanted to share my three favourite lines with you.

 

“Death is neither light nor darkness; it’s just anything but life.” – page 1

“Thus it was, the mast stuck in the seabed, the sea refusing to release its prey.” – page 175

“How dangerous it is to let yourself dream of passion, of freckles and eyes, let yourself dream instead of concentrating on the struggle for life.” – page 185

 

I love reading translated fiction. There’s something about how translated sentences are constructed, how they reveal hints about a foreign culture, that gives them this inexplicable beauty. I recently realised that most of my favourite books were not originally written in English. More on this in a future post.

What are your favourite books, or lines from books? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Podcast: Literary Magazines in the Digital Age

Hi everyone,

In this mini podcast, I sit down with James Goldsworthy, co-editor of PASTEL Magazine, to talk about the process of launching a literary magazine in the digital age.

We discuss the stigma and prestige of the different forms, standing out in a saturated digital landscape, and taking advantage of digital media to reach a global audience.

James Goldsworthy is based in Queensland. He is a writer and visual artist, and the co-editor of both PASTEL and Inklings Zine.

The launch event for PASTEL is happening on the 23rd of November, at Betty’s Espresso in West End (Brisbane).

I hope you enjoy!

***

Transcript:

T: I’m here today with Mr James Goldsworthy, co-editor of PASTEL Magazine, to talk a little bit about literary magazines in the digital age.

I guess we’ll start by talking a little bit about PASTEL Magazine, and how it came about.

J: Yeah, ok. PASTEL Magazine is an all new literary journal, based across Queensland, with a mission to show-case the height of eccentric and experimental artists across print and online platforms. It’s run by myself, James Goldsworthy, and my partner in crime, Maria-Andrea Rivera. We both have a passion for the eclectic when it comes to the creative arts. It really came about after Maria and I started to spend some time around Brisbane-based creatives. What we saw was a culture of apprehension in young and emerging artists when it came to submitting work to publishing outlets.

What we discovered was that there seems to be an underlying idea that if your work doesn’t hit a kind of literary standard, then it’s of a different quality. So we wanted to start to break that down. Literary, non-literary—as far as we’re concerned, it’s all just one big melting pot.

T: PASTEL is digital at the moment, but you have plans to go into print?

J: That’s right.

T: Could you tell me a bit about the decision of starting off with digital and then moving into print? The prestige of print, if that’s something you believe in, and the stigma that comes with online journals.

J: I don’t know about a prestige or a stigma towards either, but I think there’s something to be said for any publication that’s paying homage to that traditional printing format. Perhaps it is the other way around now, in the sense that there may be a prestige on digital, and a stigma on print, purely because of the way the world’s going.

T: And if something doesn’t have a website, it’s automatically questioned.

J: Exactly, it’s cast aside, you know? I think as well, digital media complements print because, as you said, the world revolves around the internet now, and word of mouth really isn’t enough anymore to push a product. For PASTEL for example, if we hadn’t embraced digital media, we would never have made it half way across the world. We were so shocked to receive submissions from Spain and the USA, and to catch a little bit of interest. And, we’d only really been active for about two months.

T: So I guess we’ve talked a little bit about how digital media has helped emerging magazines make a name for themselves, but do you think there’s also a hindrance that comes with digital media?

J: I think the real hindrance there is when you are opened up to this landscape of other publications that are doing a similar thing than you, and it can chip away at the voice and the identity that you’re building for yourself. But I think to overcome that hindrance, you’ve just got to do what you’re doing. People are magnetised to talent; they can sniff it out. So if you’re just being yourself, and you’re pushing your own product, then through that, I think you can overcome that hindrance.

T: So best of luck with the magazine, and I’m looking forward to the debut issue.

J: Thank you. Our launch event is coming up on the 23rd of November, at Betty’s Espresso, Brisbane City, six o’clock to nine o’clock, featuring our first ever issue of PASTEL, featuring a slate of artists and poets and prose writers that have been featured on our online medias already. There are some exclusive pieces coming your way as well—we’d love to have you there.

 

Follow James and PASTEL on Twitter for regular updates, events, and submission calls.

 

[Podcast image: Coffee and magazine. Used with permission under a CC0 Creative Commons licence. Find here.]

[Intro and Outro Music: Someways by Nicolai Heidlas. Used with permission under a CC0 Creative Commons licence. Find here.]

[Sound Effect: Pages flipping. Used with permission under a CC0 Creative Commons licence. Find here.]

Someways by Nicolai Heidlas Music @nicolai-heidlas
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
creativecommons.org/licenses/
Music promoted by Audio Library youtu.be/gYKg7KhuRZI

 

4 Things You Will Learn From Writing Your First Novel

Hello everyone,

I am back from my hiatus and ready to share regular posts on this blog again. Thank you for sticking around–I hope you enjoy this post, and the many posts to come!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I recently finished writing my first novel. Today I’m sharing some of the things I learned along the way.

1 – Writing the first draft of a novel doesn’t actually take that long

There were times when I thought I would never finish writing my first novel. I thought the task was too big, the word count out of reach. That was until I got to my residency, and wrote the second half of the book in two weeks.

The actual writing isn’t what takes years, it’s the life that you have to live in between. Once you realise this, the task of writing a novel seems far less intimidating.

2 – Self-doubt is a killer (but it doesn’t have to win)

You probably already know about this thing called self-doubt. Most people do. But the self-doubt that a writer meets while writing their first novel deserves a warning label of its own. People rarely write and finish books unless writing means everything to them, which means that the stakes are high.

While writing my first novel, I often felt like I just wasn’t good enough, and that there was no point in trying to finish it because everything I’d written was terrible.

But you can’t edit a blank page. That’s one of my favourite sayings, and one that I repeated to myself until I stopped using my self-doubt as an excuse to stop writing.

3 – It won’t be as good as it is in your head

Nothing you write will ever be as good as the version in your head. Your first novel will drill this into your head, mercilessly. The only way to move forward is to let go of the need for perfection, and accept imperfection.

Thoughts and words are two different forms. Try not to compare them.

4 – It won’t be the best thing you’ll ever write, and that’s a good thing

I know it can feel like this book is everything. It can feel like these characters are the only characters you’ll ever be able to write, and any others won’t feel as real. But the more you write, the more you will learn about writing.

Although your first novel may not be up to standard, it was not a waste of time. Take everything you’ve learned, and then start another.

 

All the best,

Tamara Drazic