THE PAVILION ANNEX

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:38 am

Lori Koonce wrote:Rick

Actually Frank got this fact 110% correct.


Friends I think this is such a rare and astounding occurence that we should pause before we begin the tasks of this day and contemplate the sheer uniqueness and specialness of this moment, probably never to be repeated in our lifetimes!














heh heh heh...
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

RW Keeney
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby RW Keeney » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:50 am

110% is a lot, and then some

but pausing gives me gas

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:06 pm

I will take 99.9 percent of the time. Accuracy is my kitten.

Kisses Lori on the head.

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Rick Keeney
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Rick Keeney » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:03 am

Barber,

Your efforts seem to have worked.

Thx,
R

Kafkahead
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Kafkahead » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:42 am

Harlan's answer was a bit harsher than what I was expecting. He nailed it, alright, but I flinched a bit at his words. Did I bug him or upset him immensely?

K.

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Steve Evil
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Steve Evil » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:57 am

I doubt it. We knwo what Unca Harlan is like when he is truly upset or bugged.
I've heard similiar sentiments from other writers. I suspect they get it as well, but whereas you or I might worry about it, go back to our dayjobs, or do something else instead, they sit at the desk until it's overcome. And they meet their deadlines. We don't have deadlines, so we don't do that.

Think of it as a challenge I suppose. . .

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FinderDoug
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FinderDoug » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:52 am

Kafka - I would temper the harshness you perceive in the response with the understanding that Harlan has probably been asked this question on average at least once a month for the last fifty years, and I'm probably lowballing that. He had shtick in his lectures for some time where he compared the expectation people had of him to being Ben Loman in Death of a Salesman, coming back from Africa and telling his brother Willy that the secret to success was "DIAMONDS, Willy! DIAMONDS!" - people expected Harlan to have a similar, simple, pat answer for the secret to putting pen to paper. (I believe the phrase "the fucking Delphic oracle" has also come up.)

So take it with the "it's nothing personal" grain of salt.

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:18 pm

Kafka -

I had a couple of those from Harlan in the past. Part of his philosophy in life - which I believe he's applied to himself rigorously since his youth - is "Quit whining, and be a fighter! Rather than wasting time wallowing in your tears, get OUT there and just fuckin' DO it!"

When he lands that on an individual, I think it's his way of acknowledging your inherent abilities. Instead of advising you to "keep your day job", he is saying "you have ability but you need to work your ass off to find its potential".

He applies to us what he feels he applies to himself.

I myself am honing my story-narrative skills, and it ain't easy when you NEVER feel satisfied (worse, in my case, I get really complex ideas requiring writing skills that exceed my experience at this stage; the dilemma, however, is forcing me to try different approaches). The frustration can create barriers, distracting you with self-conscious feelings while you're TRYING to write. The only way to fight it, apart from picking the brains from those with the experience, is returning to your mental drafting table and outlining new approaches that might work for you. Experience is simply the word we apply to our mistakes. You figure out what HASN'T been working and adjust the approach.

I also have a very disjointed attention span, spill-over from a difficult childhood. This heavily affects the writing flow. I therefore have to assemble narrative in "pieces", walk away, and pick it up from where I left off. That's the way I'll have to it, at least until more disciplines develop.

It's made me appreciate how Harlan could sit anywhere in public - even a store window - and WRITE! I can't do ANYTHING with people looking at me like that!

Harlan has always been tough on himself, so when he spots talent he wants YOU, likewise, to be tough on YOURSELF! This brings the Sargent York out of him! The world out there is mighty mean and demanding. The ONLY way to succeed is by pushing yourself. Harlan's rule-of-thumb.

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:48 pm

I meant SERGEANT York, of course!

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:52 pm

Would you say that is Harlan's more conservative side? Obviously the left feels that there are forces that stop progress, even though I get Harlan's meaning.

Kafka, you are young, you have a whole life ahead, just do whatever you can, as hard as you can. With austerity coming to Portugal, you frankly have zero choice.

Maybe you were not meant to be a writer. God gives us all our talents. Do what the wind whispers.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:33 pm

Maybe you were not meant to be a writer. God gives us all our talents. Do what the wind whispers.

It was this kind of bullshit advice that fucked me up for years. There is no "meant". Talent is distributed statistically fairly evenly throughout the population with room for the occasional genius or complete moron, both of whom are rather rare. What is not so common is focus and discipline. Most folks want a full, well-rounded life. Except for that occasional genius I just referred to, most great art is produced by obsessives and fanatics.

K don't wait for some sign from on high. (I wasted many years doing just that.) Figure out what is you want most and do that. But here's some honest truth. The universe is under no obligation to pay any attention to you whatsoever.

You're on your own.

But I'm not a writer so you can safely ignore anything I say. But HE is telling you true, man. He uses that tone of voice to get through to you. But HE tells you the truth unlike a lot of well-meaning folks who will tell you lies just cause they think it will make you feel better.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:51 pm

Ezra scared the Godless-fearing shit oughtta me with that opening line!

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markabaddon
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby markabaddon » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:17 am

Wait, is that the wind whispering in my ear or the voices in my head? So damn hard to tell the difference sometimes, but I do wonder what the wind would need with a vat of crisco oil, 3 midgets, a goat, and a crossbow (although Lori might have some ideas on that) :twisted:
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

RocRizzo
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby RocRizzo » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:31 am

A long time ago, I stopped listening to god, and listened to my dog instead. I haven't regretted that day.

I do believe that people need a firm push sometimes to check out what they want to do, then either succeed or fail. HE gives this push to people when he tells them to stop wasting their time, and just do something. When we fail at something, we should learn from these failures, and strive to look for solutions.

For example, many years ago, I wanted to write fiction, but could not come up with a good story line to save my life. After many years, and seeing that computer manuals were so damn poorly written, I decided to, as part of my job here, to write simple manuals for the users that I am responsible for here. The result has been fewer calls for service, more satisfied usership, and a freedom at work that I have never seen. If some programmer here wants documentation for some program that they have written, I just go through the processes with them, take notes, and write it up, in plain english, without techno-jargon, so that the rest of the world can understand.

Sometimes the boss asks me to come up with something that the usership can use for the monthly employee rag. This past month, I came up with some tips for online shopping.

FYI-- When I am having a bad day writing this documentation, I use my alter ego, Euripides Upmann.
"Understanding is a three-edged sword."

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:34 am

"Wait, is that the wind whispering in my ear or the voices in my head?"

The wind talks to ME all the time - ALL the time!


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