February 28, 2013

How Many Noes Does It Take To Make An Author?

To those of you who have had their work (or proposals) rejected, here's a short list of some famous authors who got their work denied:
  • James Baldwin (1924-87) -- Giovanni's Room was called hopelessly bad.
  • Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) -- Submissions said to be "utterly untranslatable."
  • Pearl Buck (1892-1973) -- Pulitzer Price-winning The Good Earth was rejected because Americans are "not interested in anything on China."
  • William Faulkner (1897-1962) -- Of Sanctuary, which Faulkner claimed to have "deliberately conceived to make money," his editor said, "Good God, I can't publish this.  We'd both be in jail."
  • Anne Frank (1929-45) -- The reader found Frank's diary to be "a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances, and adolescent emotions," commenting that it wouldn't sell due to a lack of familiar or appealing characters.  "Even if the work had come to light five years ago, when the subject was timely," the reader wrote, "I don't see that there would have been a chance for it."
  • Tony Hillerman (1925-2008) -- Hillerman was told by an agent to "get rid of all that Indian stuff."
  • Jack Kerouac (1922-69) -- "His frenetic and scrambling prose perfectly express the feverish travels of the Beat Generation.  But is that enough?  I don't think so."
  • John le Carré (1931-) -- A publisher sent his submission to a colleague with a note:  "You're welcome to le Carré--he hasn't got any future."
  • Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-) -- The Left Hand of Darkness was "endlessly complicated by details of reference and information, the interim legends become so much of a nuisance despite their relevance, that the very action of the story seems to be to become hopelessly bogged down and the book, eventually, unreadable."
  • Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) -- Lolita was considered "...overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian... the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy.  It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream... I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years."
  • George Orwell (1903-50) -- Animal Farm was declined because it is "impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A."
  • Sylvia Plath (1932-63) -- 'There certainly isn't enough genuine talent for us to take notice."
  • Marcel Proust (1871-1922) -- One editor said in response to the tome In Search of Lost Time (aka Remembrance of Things Past), "My dear fellow, I may be dead from the neck up, but rack my brains as I may I can't see why a chap should need 30 pages to describe how he turns over in bed before going to sleep." 
  • Dr. Seuss (1904-91) -- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street... was rejected by publishers 27 times before Vanguard Press agreed to publish it.  His subsequent success as a children's author didn't make him immune to rejection, though.  Random House rejected Seuss's proposal for a book on how to write for children in 1949, saying, "Some of them would feel an author-artist of picture books could hardly qualify as an expert in the field of juvenile writing."
 So what does this tell you?   That rejection isn't personal for the author, but rather for the reader.  And though one may say no, with over 7 billion people in the world, there's really no need to be discouraged :)

Taken From:  I Used to Know That: Literature

February 25, 2013

Macabre Poe Fact

Though it was first thought that Poe had died from alcohol poisoning (or something rather similar), Dr. R. Michael Benitez concluded, after going over his case, that he'd actually died of rabies, and that he may have gotten it from one of his pets!

No, it wasn't a crow. 

February 23, 2013

Amazing Time Piece

Found out about this treasure (literally and figuratively) the other day--and I want one!  Not only have I always told myself that I wanted to gift myself with a pocket watch when my first book got published (which I'm making happen in April), but on top of that my first story uses Arthurian legend elements!

Two minor details are off though...

The first is that it's not a pocket watch.  The second is that it costs about $200,000!

I present... Excalibur!  :)

Source: Perpétuelle

February 13, 2013

Music the Key to the Universe?

Recent studies at MIT attempted to use the proteins of manmade silk fibers as notes and came away with the conclusion that:  “silk with good physical properties produced pleasing music.”

The MIT team realized that, by using good-sounding music as directions (instead of by trial-and-error), they were able to create a synthetic silk with “exceptional properties.”  Those silk strands that the team produced that were failures turned out to “produce” music that sounds discordant to the human ear.

This would explain why music has such a result on water molecules, as discussed in a previous post, or why cows who listen to Mozart produce better milk.

Another scientist, Joel Sternheimer, found that the music produced by converting the amino acids of a plant into musical notes actually produced a pleasing song and, more surprisingly, when that song was played back to the plant, it helped it grow even faster!

Not only that, but the whole universe is may follow patterns described by the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,…) which “converts directly to [a] common musical scale found around the world throughout the ages.”   It therefore does not surprise me that music has been found to help humans too, such as those suffering from autism. 

Maybe, in some esoteric way, what we need to get better and stay healthy, is to make sure we do not get out of tune. 


February 8, 2013

Natural Steps for Myelin Sheath Preservation

In the previous article, we discussed how important it is to build the myelin sheath in your brain to help you learn and become a better performer.  So today, I want to discuss ways in which one can help prevent and repair myelin damage, in a natural way.

Myelin is essentially 75% fats and cholesterol, and 25% protein.

1.       Folic acid and vitamin B12.
2.       Reduce inflammation in the body that could damage the myelin:  essential fatty acids (omega-6, omega-3), vitamin C, vitamin D, green tea, devil’s claw, white willow, and boswellia.
3.       Other nutrients that support the immune system:  zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B.

Of course, the quantities needed of each varies with each individual, but it’s important to make sure one has a balanced (and as natural as possible) diet.  The more detoxified your body is, the better.

Some foods that can help include:
1.       Olive oil.
2.       Fish (though be careful of mercury).
3.       Nuts.
4.       Cocoa.
5.       Avocados.
6.       Whole grains.
7.       Legumes (ex: beans, lentils).
8.       Spinach.
9.       Yogurt (plain organic is better; if you want it to taste sweet, you can add a little bit of raw honey).
10.   Semisweet chocolate.
11.   Oregano and thyme.
Things to avoid include chemicals and heavy metals (ex:  mercury), exposure to x-rays, insecticides, organic solvents.


February 5, 2013

Talent—Innate or Developed?

Author and journalist Daniel Coyle did a study on three places around the world that develop top of the class performers to find their secret sauce.  This is what he came back with:

1.       Deep practice—slow down your “play” (be it music, sports, or something else) or decrease your playing field so your errors become blatant.  Reason?  This practice increases the production of myelin in your brain, which helps to “exponentially increase the rate at which we learn.”
2.       A model of one who’s already broken the mold, that inspires others—“If they can do it, so can you.”
3.       Master coaches—ones who, like Yoda, know how to properly assess their protégés, communicate with them and keep them motivated.

I feel this can also be applied to writing (or any other practice, really):  you need to slow down from time to time in your endeavor to make sure your story’s tenable, then break down your story in parts to make sure each one’s well-written and strikes the right chords; inspiration is what’s helped me stay motivated (in my case, I’m motivated by anyone who’s succeeded via hard work and dedication, despite the odds stacked against him/her—like Jo Rowling); and someone who can open your eyes to your writing and tell it how it is (advance readers—is there such a thing?—and editors).

But really, this is to say to everyone out there with a big dream they’re afraid they can’t accomplish:  don’t give up.  It may take you a long time to get there (aka: Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours), but if you keep at it, work hard on honing your skills, you will break through!

PS:  I don’t believe in “overnight wonders.”  Maybe they seem like it to us, the public, but in reality, it took a lot of hard work and dedication for those people to get recognized.

Source and full interview:  SuperConsciousness Magazine