12 Winters Blog

Tolstoy a century later; Men of Winter to be released soon

Posted in November 2010 by Ted Morrissey on November 21, 2010

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of Tolstoy’s death, and as a matter of coincidence I’ve been reading Anna Karenina. One of my followees on Twitter posted an English-language Russian news segment reporting on the author and what an industry he’s become, especially his home, Yasnaya Polyana, as a tourist destination. The news reporter interviewed Tolstoy’s great grandson, who talked about the irony of the fact that very few of the tourists who enthusiastically flock to Tolstoy’s home have in fact read any of his work. Then he went on to discuss how it’s a shame that the vast majority of people only read classics that are required of them in high school. He made sure to take nothing away from contemporary books and authors, who should be read too, but insisted that classics, like Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or War and Peace, still have much to offer modern readers. My favorite author, William H. Gass, also laments that too few people today read classic literature, which he believes helps to develop the mind in ways that popular fiction is unable to. I’m on the other end of the spectrum in that I’m drawn to classics and don’t read new authors as much as I feel I should — but there are only so many hours in the day: with working three jobs and giving daily attention to my own writing, there’s not nearly enough time left to read as I would alike. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t take a newspaper, though the idea of sitting down with a big thick paper, like The New York Times, and a good cup of coffee is very appealing. To find that time, however, I’d have to forfeit time spent reading other things (like the three hours I spent with Tolstoy this morning) that I find nourish both my intellect and my soul.

Speaking of my writing, Men of Winter is supposed to be out this week (though I’m not holding my breath). It is fair to say that it will be out soon. Meanwhile I’ve uploaded videos of my reading chapter 1 of the novel to both Vimeo and YouTube; so far neither site has garnered very many hits, not surprisingly. Also I launched Pathfinding: a blog devoted to helping new writers find outlets for their work as my Punkin House author’s blog, though I’m not yet listed among their blogging authors (I believe PHP is redoing their webpages). On the one hand, I’m looking forward to having my novel out in the world, but on the other I feel a bit handicapped in trying to promote it as neither my three-job lifestyle nor pocketbook easily lends itself to aggressive promotion in terms of scheduling readings and attending book fairs, etc. I will do my best, however. (This past week I did receive an invitation to read the first chapter of Men of Winter at The Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 in February — now just to find some way to pay for attending the conference. . . .)

I continue work on the Authoress, soldiering my way through chapter 19. It’s slow but I like what I have, which isn’t to say it won’t need much revision. It will.

In a bit I’m headed to the local Barnes & Noble for a school library fundraiser — just what I need: a good excuse to buy books.

tedmorrissey.com

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