Tag Archives: non fiction literature

In Memoriam – Tom Wolfe: 1931 – 2018

“Love is the ultimate expression of the will to live.”

“The surest cure for vanity is loneliness.”

“I do novels a bit backward. I look for a situation, a milieu first, and then I wait to see who walks into it.”

“To me, the great joy of writing is discovering.  Most writers are told to write about what they know, but I still love the adventure of going out and reporting on things I don’t know about.”

“This is the artist, then, life’s hungry man, the glutton of eternity, beauty’s miser, glory’s slave.”

“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.”

“It’s fortunate that I am a writer, because that has helped me understand the properties of words.  They are what have made life complex.  In the battle for status in the animal kingdom, power and aggressiveness have been all-important.  But among humans, once they acquired speech, all that changed.”

“There are some people who have the quality of richness and joy in them and they communicate it to everything they touch.  It is first of all a physical quality; then it is a quality of the spirit.”

“I never forget.  I never forgive.  I can wait.  I find it very easy to harbor a grudge.  I have scores to settle.”

“People complain about my exclamation points, but I honestly think that’s the way people think.  I don’t think people think in essays; it’s one exclamation point to another.”

“I have never knowingly, I swear to God, written satire.  The word connotes exaggeration of the foibles of mankind.  To me, mankind just has foibles.  You don’t have to push it!”

“There was a time in the 1930s when magazine writers could actually make a good living.  ‘The Saturday Evening Post’ and ‘Collier’s’ both had three stories in each issue.  These were usually entertaining, and people really went for them.  But then television came along, and now of course, information technology… the new way of killing time.”

“My idol is Emile Zola.  He was a man of the left, so people expected of him a kind of ‘Les Miserables,’ in which the underdogs are always noble people.  But he went out, and found a lot of ambitious, drunk, slothful and mean people out there.  Zola simply could not – and was not interested in – telling a lie.”

“The modern notion of art is an essentially religious or magical one in which the artist is viewed as a holy beast who in some way, big or small, receives flashes from the godhead, which is known as creativity.”

“Nonfiction is never going to die.”

Tom Wolfe


Tom Wolfe Bibliography

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Inspiration for the Aspiring Nonfiction Author

David Krell

First-time author David Krell offers advice for any aspiring scribe by using an old sports saying: if you avoid risk, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  We all know that life is filled with risks.  Some can pay off big, either financially or emotionally; others can turn disastrous.  But, you never know if you don’t try.  Krell is taking plenty of chances with his first book, Blue Magic: The Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field, and the Battle for Baseball’s Soul.  It will be a historical narrative enhanced by interviews with fans, historians, journalists and the children of the Brooklyn Dodgers from the team’s 1950’s glory years.  Outside of being a fan, Krell is not part of the baseball industry; he doesn’t even have any business contacts in professional baseball.  To make things more interesting, he has no blog or web site.  But, he did manage to land an agent; a thoroughly bold undertaking for a new author.  Most first-time authors are lucky to get their manuscript beyond the slush pile.  Using his experiences thus far, Krell presents these 5 points of guidance:

1: Never Assume That Someone Will Say No

“I have reached out to people with the simple explanation that I’m writing a book about the Brooklyn Dodgers and requesting an interview.  The subject line of the email reads “Media Interview Request – Brooklyn Dodgers,” so they know immediately why I’m writing.

The result has been extraordinary.  Interviews are granted with pleasure to participate.  The ‘Forewords’ to Blue Magic will be written by two exceptional people dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Brooklyn Dodgers: 1) Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Jackie Robinson, and 2) Branch Rickey III, the grandson of Branch Rickey, the Dodgers executive that signed Robinson to break the color barrier in baseball.

Even if you’ve never written a book before, send a request to people whom you want to interview.”

2: Don’t Wait For the Perfect Shot

“You cannot wait until you complete your research, sign with an agent, and get a publishing deal.  That could be months away.  Maybe years.  Start compiling your target interview list now.  And remember that each interview might yield an expansion of your network.  Several times, interviewees offered to put me in touch with friends and colleagues.  The stronger your network, the stronger your research.”

3: Speak Loud and Proud

“There are conferences, associations, and other opportunities related to your topic.  A few Google searches yielded me a wealth of baseball conferences with speaking opportunities.  So far, I have been accepted to: The New York Mets 50th Anniversary Conference, Society for American Baseball Research’s Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Baseball Conference, National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and the American Culture, and the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention.

Your book’s topic is like a wheel – a hub with many spokes.  Consequently, tailor your topic to the conference audience with the appropriate spoke.  For the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, I pitched the nostalgia angle of the Brooklyn Dodgers immediately in the title: The Brooklyn Dodgers – Nostalgia’s Team.”

4: Expand Your Horizon

“At the Writer’s Digest Conference in January, a friend suggested that I apply to speak at the Urban History Association’s conferences.  When I asked why, she responded with the beauty of simplicity, “Didn’t you just tell me that the Dodgers were synonymous with Brooklyn back in the day?  And didn’t you also say that the team got a sweetheart deal for the Dodger Stadium site in Los Angeles?  That’s urban history, my friend!”

So, I applied to be a speaker at the UHA annual conference in the Fall.  According to the UHA’s web site, I should get an acceptance or rejection by April 15th.  I’m hoping for the former, of course.  But, if my proposal is rejected, I will take the motto of the Brooklyn Dodgers fans to heart: Wait Till Next Year!

5: A Whiteboard Is An Author’s Best Friend

“Taking a page from Dr. Gregory House, I bought a white board and easel from Staples.  Any brainstorm goes immediately on the white board.  It’s all there.  Target interviews.  Deadlines.  Writers conferences.

No Excel spreadsheet with thousands of rectangles mocking me with their blankness.  No legal pads with scribbles created frantically out of enthusiasm that appear disorganized, unreadable, and useless to the sober eye a week later.  No relegating to my memory bank with the faulty belief that I can retrieve any idea at a moment’s notice.”

Read the complete article here.



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