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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXXVII

DeepGenre hosts an interesting discussion about what works on an author’s website:

I think… skip the bio if your life is entirely boring and devoid of events, but add it otherwise. And preferably add it with more details than the “John doe is a farmer from wherever who lives with her husband and five cats in a two-story house, and likes to write fiction in her spare time.” which is usually added on the last page of some books.


Q: How much time, if any, do you spend on the web? Is it a distraction or a blessing?

Jenny Diski: Acres of time, wasted, wasted. I play poker (and lose), I play ludo and mah jong. I check out MetaFilter. I buy frocks. Anything. It’s a kind of hell. I sometimes think I might go back to typewriting. But you can’t get the ribbons.


I don’t get language. I know a lot of words though I’m always a little wary of dropping most of the big ones into conversation not out of any lack of confidence but because they don’t belong in conversational English. Take a word like borborygmia for example (the sound of wind moving through your digestive tract), it’s a lovely word but what’s the point in using it if you have to explain it?

from Jim Murdoch‘s archive

One Response to “Presque vu XXXVII”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    On author’s bios, although I can understand to a degree the public’s fascination with the face behind the words, I’m always wary about find out too much about the lives of writers; they usually let me down. I’ve pretty much stopped looking. That said, I enjoy reading interviews with writers and there’s usually a bit on how they were dragged up but I can always skip that bit.

    Actually I gave one of my characters wind so I could use the line: “Jim’s stomach gurgled borborygmically, something that sounded not unlike, ‘Uh, oh.'” It has nothing to do with the plot but the word was just too damn good not to use and I doubt I could work it into a poem.

    jb says: Hi Jim. I agree on authors’ bios. It’s all part of this business of celebrity. But as you indicate, most people who write, and somehow, especially those who write fiction, don’t necessarily have the charisma, muscles, sexual attributes, or just plain social nous to be able to carry it off. I’d rather read the books than hear the guy read it aloud. And I can’t remember who said that writers should be read and not seen, but I have much sympathy with that view. Of course, with poetry it’s different again.
    I can also sympathise with your need to use borborygmically. And, of course, you can be forgiven for actually doing it. But not by me. 🙂