Flames in the Night

We still have snow plus pretty heavy frost (-7 degrees), by our standards at least. However, the snow and the frost and the frozen trees were hidden by some very thick fog, so we didn’t get to enjoy much of it.

Oh yes, and someone should tell the automatic light sensor in my car that dense fog with 50 meters visibility is definitely sufficient cause to switch on the headlights. I mean, what use is an automatic light sensor, if you can’t trust it? I already reported the problem with the light sensor to the garage a while back and they told me they changed the settings. Doesn’t seem to have helped much, though.

What is more, I’m wondering whether the flickering orange light in my neighbours’ garden is just a particularly long lasting votive candle or storm lantern or whatever the thing next to their front door that they insist on lighting every evening is or whether the candle accidentally tipped over and is in the process of burning the house down. Because in that case, I will have to call the fire brigade and wake the neighbours. Whose phone number I don’t even have, because they only moved here a few months ago. Okay, so burning a live candle unattended in your garden is a stupid idea, even if it’s in some kind of holder or storm lantern. But I still can’t let the neighbour house burn down, especially since it would endanger two or three other houses. At least, the flame doesn’t seem to have grown any bigger in the past half hour (and I checked every ten minute or so), so it’s probably really just the storm lantern or whatever. Still very annoying.

And now for some linkage:

Slate has an article on the first “How to write fiction” book, published in 1895. Found via Will Shetterly.

Meanwhile, here is another Slate article discussing whether the rise of creative writing programs at US university has led to two literary cultures existing in parallel.

What is striking about this article is that even though the author bemoans the increasing commercial pressures on what he calls “New York publishing”, he focuses only on so-called literary fiction and doesn’t take genre fiction into account at all. The New York publishers he’s referring to are the likes of Vintage and Knopf, not Tor, Ace, Berkley or Avon. And apparently, he harbours under the misapprehension that all writers live in New York, specifically in Brooklyn, unless they teach at an MFA program somewhere. Which is of course total crap, because the majority of American writers do not live in New York (Why would they? It’s way too expensive) and get published anyway. Nor does every writer, not even every short story writer, make his or her living by teaching at an MFA program.

So in short, interesting article, but only relevant to a tiny sliver of writers.

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