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Writers of All Sorts

February 01, 2016 12:00 PM | Anonymous

An article datelined “Bucharest” in the October 24, 2015 issue of The Economistmagazine reports that, by Romanian law, convicts can reduce their sentences by 30 days for every book they write while in prison. “This has led Romanian tycoons and politicians imprisoned on corruption charges to indulge in a frenzy of scribbling.” No computers are allowed the inmates; the work must be handwritten. Wealthy prisoners often hire ghost writers to do the writing of them. Plagiarism is not unheard of. Most of the results are — as you can imagine — dreck. “Romanians are delighted that the rich and powerful are being sent to jail..but they are resigned to the fact many will wriggle their way out early.”

In his book, Pep Talks, Warnings and Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers, George Singleton derides writers who pursue their muse in coffee shops. “When did novelists, essayists, and poets — especially poets — come to the belief that everyone would be mesmerized, enchanted, and enthralled with having to look at their tortured selves staring blankly at the ceiling tiles before typing out something like, ‘Her collection of Mardi Gras beads/like stringed coffee beans/remind me of the last time I saw her when she slapped me in the face and said, “get lost, loser?”‘” This book is not in the Longmont Library collection, but you can obtain it, and Singleton’s entertaining short story collections, free via Prospector Interlibrary Loan.

Amazon recently began blocking reviews of books written by friends and family. How does Amazon know who the author’s friends and family are? By checking social media activity — Facebook, Twitter and such. The policy may have changed by the time you read this, as authors and readers have vigorously protested it; authors promote themselves by networking, and Amazon’s criteria defines virtually all of an author’s fans on social media as friends of the author.

“The closest we will ever come to an orderly universe is a good library.” Ashleigh Brilliant

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