alanajoli: (fan - greece and turkey trip)
Taking Control of Your Life
Self-discipline:
Once vous can outsource this,
everything else is easy.

-Miss Piggy
alanajoli: (Default)
One of our regular library patrons always has interesting myth tidbits for me, since he knows I'm a myth geek. Today, he and I got talking about philosophy, and I started trying to track back a quote he was pretty sure belonged to Demosthenes. The gist was this: Man created the gods and myth to explain the world. So I had to do some looking, because I thought that was actually pretty early for a thought that more often gets attributed to Marx ("Man creates God, then gets on his knees and worships his invention.") or Rousseau ("God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor."*). Though Demosthenes was a contemporary of Aristotle, and was therefore post Socrates, I had assumed that the rationalist thought of that era tended to leave the gods where they were and get on with logical thought, rather than bothering about their existence.

The best quote I can find from Demosthenes online that goes along with the general idea is this: "Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true." (This rather seems the principle around which quite a lot of urban fantasy novels, alongside the works of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, are based, as it allows the supernatural to exist alongside the mundane without the mundane world giving much notice.)

So I'm putting the call out to all of the intelligent and wonderful (and possibly better read in ancient philosophy than me) people who read this blog: is there a Demosthenes quote like the one my acquaintance recalled? Is the concept of inventing mythology as explanations as old as the Greek rationalists, or is it more of a modernist notion?

--

*I had actually always attributed this quote to Mark Twain, though substituting "gentleman" for "likable sort." I've always liked it, because I felt it commented more on human consciousness than higher powers of any sort, but that could just be my reading of it, out of context.
alanajoli: (Default)
"I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars."
Fred Allen, US radio comedian (1894 - 1956)
alanajoli: (Default)
We've been having an excellent time here in the Mile High City thus far--we visited the zoo, walked around 16th St. Mall, and spent a lot of time with family. I'm keeping busy between events doing the work that I managed to bring along--as I told a friend recently, as a freelance writer, your boss just never gives you a day off...

One of the projects I'm working on had a bunch of great information about the medieval Muslim world, and contained some great quotes from early scholars. So, in lieu of a long entry, here's a quote of the day. Hope you're all having a wonderful end of 2008!

"Prevention of the child from playing games and constant insistence on learning deadens his heart, blunts his sharpness of wit, and burdens his life."
- Al-Ghazali, 11th century Persian scholar and mystic
alanajoli: (Default)
I don't have anything profound to say, so I figured I'd just offer some of my recent favorite quotes.

"I'm kind of jealous of the life I'm supposedly leading." --Zach Braff (actor, from Scrubs and Garden State)

"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full." -- Henry A. Kissinger

"Walking through the YA section of the bookstore last night I realized there are clearly only two ways to survive high school: you can plot and scheme and gossip behind your friends' backs; or you can follow the fairies (werewolves, vampires, your choice) away into another world." -- Janni Lee Simner (on her blog 4/10/08)

"When it comes to adventure writing, I'm only a prima donna because I'm always right." -- Joe Selby (on his blog 4/30/08)

"Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing." -- Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive Comic, 07-03-05
alanajoli: (Default)
L: Oooh! Debauchery!
T: Liz, do you drink?
L: No.
T: Do you do drugs?
L: No.
T: Do you have sex?
L: No.
T: Then what do you know about debauchery?
L: (proudly) I play D&D!
alanajoli: (Taru)
"I was writing She-Ra spin-offs before Fan-Fic was even cool."

Richelle Mead, author of (most recently) Vampire Academy

This is particularly amusing to me, because I was writing spin-offs for DuckTales and Star Wars long before the word Fan-Fic even existed. Hurrah for kindred spirits!

Just... Wow

Nov. 9th, 2007 12:26 pm
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
George Lucas, explained why the Writer's Strike doesn't affect him. Apparently, he hasn't written for years. He showed the interviewer a nifty gadget they used to build action scenes for the prequels.

"Of course, the technology then wasn't quite what it is today. For many of the characters, we still had to use actors, and since the actors needed something to say while they were on the screen, I had to do a little writing here and there. Still," he says, "it was way better than working on the original trilogy. Back then, I had to use a typewriter, or later a word processor, to write a full 120, 130-page script! I hated it so much that after the first one I just hired other people to do it for me. I didn't even read 'em most of the time."

*cries*

The full article is here.
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
I was out of town and then down with the flu, so I've been away from the computer. (Most of the time I've been in bed, asleep, so I've been missing a lot of what's going on lately.)

One thing that I haven't missed is the WGA screen-writer's strike, and how brave all the folks are who are out there doing that. If you read just the New York Times, (a paper I normally love, by the way), you might get the idea that writers aren't, in fact, workers. That writing isn't work. Well, the writers among us know that this is bunk, and when the screen-writers are asking for something like nine cents per DVD sale and a minimal percentage of online sales regarding the work they've done--it's not like they're asking for a lot. So if you're in LA of NYC and believe that storytelling is important--and that writing is work!--show your writer friends some support for what they're doing. I hear that they appreciate pizza delivered to their strike locations.

So, the quote of the day comes from one of the strikers, Joss Whedon, in his blog entry on Whedonesque:

"We’re talking about story-telling, the most basic human need. Food? That’s an animal need. Shelter? That’s a luxury item that leads to social grouping, which leads directly to fancy scarves. But human awareness is all about story-telling. The selective narrative of your memory. The story of why the Sky Bully throws lightning at you. From the first, stories, even unspoken, separated us from the other, cooler beasts. And now we’re talking about the stories that define our nation’s popular culture – a huge part of its identity. These are the people that think those up. Working writers."
alanajoli: (lady scribbler)
"Realizing that authorial intention plays no part in an interpretation -- god, that's so freeing!"
Lara M. Zeises in an interview with Done Home Books
alanajoli: (Default)
"Not that we were above a cheap laugh. But it was always an in-character cheap laugh."

-Joss Whedon, on Angel
alanajoli: (Default)
"You remember the fairy stories you were told when you were very small--'once upon a time . . .' Why do you think they always began like that?"
"Because they weren't true," Simon said promptly.
Jane said, caught up in the unreality of the high remote place, "Because perhaps they were true once, but nobody could remember when."
Great-Uncle Merry turned his head and smiled at her. "That's right. Once upon a time . . . a long time ago . . . things that happened once, perhaps, but have been talked about for so long that nobody really knows. And underneath all the bits that people have added, the magic swords and lamps, they're all about one thing--the good hero fighting the giant, or the witch, or the wicked uncle. Good against bad. Good against evil."

From Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper
alanajoli: (Default)
"Digital readers are not a replacement for a print book; they are a replacement for a stack of print books." --Ron Hawkins, vice president for portable reader systems at Sony

The full article is here in today's New York Times. It's funny that after talking about paper books for the last couple of days that this showed up in my inbox this morning.

My inbox? Yep. If there's one type of reading I hate to do in print, it's newspapers. They're bulky, difficult to manage (perhaps because I have short arms), and get black ink on my fingers. Ever have that frustration folding maps? That applies to newspapers for me as well. So I read all my news online.

As for the new e-book reader amazon's unveiling for the holidays... I keep hoping that one will come out that changes the market. The Sony reader may already be that machine (although the wireless connection to amazon the new one is offering is pretty darn clever). The comics industry has been abuzz (not loudly, but a bit) about the iPhone catching Americans up to our Japanese counterparts in being able to read our comics via cell phone.

But here's my guess: e-book readers of any stripe won't make it in the market until they're considered affordable by people who buy books. If I have to pay more for an e-book reader (Sony's was priced at $300, according to the article) than I have to pay for a video game console (the Wii started out at a lower price point, and a refurbished X-box 360 is between $150 and $200 these days), I'm going to keep buying paperbacks.

Now, if I were still a college student and my textbooks were being made available via e-book? That would be tempting. Particularly if the e-book reader could highlight, mark pages, search, etc. (which I believe the old Rocket Book could do, so I can't imagine the new ones are too far behind). If the choice was between paying $200 per course book or $300 for a reader (which would work for all four years) even $50 per book, I'd seriously, seriously consider it. That's the market where I think the e-book has the best chance to succeed (carrying a paperback-sized machine around to afternoon classes instead of two large textbooks), and I haven't seen any of the companies putting out readers really pursue that.

Anyway, interesting article. I wouldn't mind having all of wikipedia on a portable e-book reader (as I heard from [livejournal.com profile] jeff_duntemann's blog not too long ago that they do have a download function). But for now I've got my laptop. And it has solitaire.
alanajoli: (Default)
"I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries."

-Stephen King
alanajoli: (Default)
"If it doesn't work out, I've still got the ice cream van."

-Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, on his desire to continue acting after the series is completed
alanajoli: (Default)
"I don't need your honesty, that's for my friends. With strangers, I'm more looking for class and manners."

-Nathan Fillion, in a recent blog entry.
alanajoli: (Default)
"George Raft, an old movie star, thought if he played in a movie where his character died, he wouldn’t get paid in the end. Me? I’m pretty sure if I TELL what I’m working on, I won’t get paid at the end!"

-Kit Reed (on her refusal to ever talk about her next project, SFF World, May 24, 2006)
alanajoli: (Default)
My family pleaded with me to forget literature and do something sensible, such as find some sort of useful work.
-Lloyd Alexander, 1924-2007

The most I can say to honor Mr. Alexander is that I'm so very glad he didn't listen to his family!

Others have had more to say, and I link to them here:
waywardbound
blackholly
sartorias

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Alana Joli Abbott

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