Paul Auster; who writers are; their output, part two

In previous blog I quoted from Paul Auster’s novel Brooklyn Follies about who writers are and what writing is. Today I quote from same book regarding the output of writers. rather than quote from the conversation I will list writers and how much they wrote or how long it took to finish a book.

James Joyce wrote three novels

Balzac wrote ninety novels

Kafka wrote his first story in one night

Stendhal The Charterhouse of Parma in forty-nine days

Melville wrote Moby Dick in sixteen months

Flaubert spent five years on Madame Bovary

Musil worked for eighteen years on The Man Without Qualities and died before he could finish

Milton was blind

Cervantes had one arm

Marlow was stabbed to death in a bar room brawl before he was thirty


The point is it takes as long as it takes to finish your story so don’t go into a panic if you have trouble finishing because of other things going on in your life. Of course you don’t want to write for eighteen years and then die before you are finished, and nor do you want to die a bar room brawl with a knife going through your eye. But at least Marlowe finished his plays.

Do what you can when you can. Persistence can take you down the road to completion.

The best way tp predict your future is to create it-Abraham Lincoln.

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Have You Read Any of These Banned Books

As both liberal readers and conservative church folks know, there are books that should not be read, indeed, should be banned. But liberal readers will ignore banned books and read them with great delight. So will many church folks, otherwise, they say, how can I truly know how evil the book is.

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was created by the Catholic church centuries ago to protect the flock from literary wolves. The books banned were considered heretical, or lascivious, or if it is really good, both. The list is a veiled way of pronouncing that you must agree with us on all things; we will think for you.  After all, we have your best interest at heart.

The list of authors and their books make quite a literary hall of fame. And many are surprising, such as Johannes Kepler (excluded from list 1835), because of his books on astronomy. God forbid Kepler could explain much about the universe and the heavens that conflicted with the church. Actually, neither God nor Church could forbid scientific explanations. Thank God.

Jean-Paul Sartre made the list, as did Victor Hugo (excluded in 1959), Spinoza, Kant, Copernicus, Francis Bacon, John Milton, Galileo, and David Hume among many.

Who did not make the list over time is more surprising. The works of Charles Darwin did not make the list, nor did D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and John Cleland. Dante was banned, but then reinstated like Kepler and Hugo. As was Justine and the Marquis de Sade. The Church was more considered, so it has been suggested, with blasphemy and heresy; less concerned with  sexuality or hate. Mein Kampf by Hitler, outlining his plans for power and hatred of the Jews was not banned.

The Index lasted over six centuries and was discontinued in 1966. But that has snot deterred other church organizations and even school districts from creating a banned book list. Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain comes under fire every year in more than one school district. Being considered a great work of fiction, and perhaps the great American novel means nothing to the righteous. 

“Forgive my asking you to use your mind. It is a thing which no novelist should expect of his reader…”
Owen Wister, The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains   

Unfortunately none of my e-books are banned. But I remain hopeful.

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