Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to Waste Time Online When You're Tired of Facebook

Poet Philip Belcher has been a fount of wonderful information lately, alerting me to two new places where writers can waste, er, spend time usefully online:

1. The Lannan Foundation offers an audio archives that includes “audio files from the popular Readings & Conversations series, other public Lannan events from the past 16 years, as well as selections from the award-winning literary radio program “Bookworm” with Michael Silverblatt.”

2. The Daily Routines blog isn’t being updated—putting together a book, it sounds like—but the archives are fascinating, since the focus of the blog is “how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days.”

Flaubert’s routine sounds attractive (except for the part with the pipe):

“Days were as unvaried as the notes of the cuckoo. Flaubert, a man of nocturnal habits, usually awoke at 10 a.m. and announced the event with his bell cord. Only then did people dare speak above a whisper. His valet, Narcisse, straightaway brought him water, filled his pipe, drew the curtains, and delivered the morning mail. Conversation with Mother, which took place in clouds of tobacco smoke particularly noxious to the migraine sufferer, preceded a very hot bath and a long, careful toilette involving the regular application of a tonic reputed to arrest hair loss. At 11 a.m. he entered the dining room, where Mme Flaubert; Liline; her English governess, Isabel Hutton; and very often Uncle Parain would have gathered. Unable to work well on a full stomach, he ate lightly, or what passed for such in the Flaubert household, meaning that his first meal consisted of eggs, vegetables, cheese or fruit, and a cup of cold chocolate. The family then lounged on the terrace, unless foul weather kept them indoors, or climbed a steep path through woods behind their espaliered kitchen garden to a glade dubbed La Mercure after the statue of Mercury that once stood there. Shaded by chestnut trees, near their hillside orchard, they would argue, joke, gossip, and watch vessels sail up and down the river. Another site of open-air refreshment was the eighteenth-century pavilion. After dinner, which generally lasted from seven to nine, dusk often found them there, looking out at moonlight flecking the water and fisherman casting their hoop nets for eel.

“In June 1852, Flaubert told Louise Colet that he worked from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.. A year later, when he assumed partial responsibility for Liline's education and gave her an hour or more of his time each day, he may not have put pen to paper at his large round writing table until two o'clock or later.”

Source: Frederick Brown, Flaubert: A Biography

Thank you, Philip!


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.