He was a blind poet whose stories of heroes and gods helped launch an incredible era of literary and cultural flourishing. History of Literature host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the influence that Homer had on the minds of Ancient Greece – and the resonance that the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey still have for us today.
Hello, friends! Just a quick note to let you know that The History of Literature podcast takes its regularly scheduled departure this week… and it’s such a departure, we’re calling it by a whole new name! (It’s a branding thing.) In any event, it goes by the name of The Restless Mind Show and it will be available on Monday.
On Tuesday I launched into yet another high-flying ode to creative freedom and the indie spirit. I railed against the curtailing powers-that-be, those nattering nabobs of negativism, wherever they may reside. I talked about my own experiences with indie publishing, and I cited the example of Martin Short and Harry Shearer, who found the freedom to create the all-time classic Men’s Synchronized Swimming sketch (“I’m not that strong a swimmer” and “I know you, I know you”) when SNL just let them go shoot the damn thing (which Harry contrasted with the rounds of meetings that had marked his experience in L.A.).
And then…a surprise! The comedy god and national treasure Harry Shearer stopped by! And he tweeted this helpful reminder: Continue reading →
Okay, before we begin, please watch this video. It’s by far the best use of 24 seconds you’ll spend today:
What does this have to do with self-publishing? Well, I could point to the dignity of the little robot with his little tennis racket arm, and the moving way he pulls himself down the road even as his stern father refuses to let him in. No, I don’t view the self-publisher as the robot, with the gatekeepers as Homer. And I don’t see the robot as the book in the drawer, never to see the light of day. Those are the obvious metaphors.
But here’s the one that’s most difficult: what if you’re Homer! What if you put all this time following your dream, pursuing your passion… and the thing turns out to be terrible! Except you don’t know it! How embarrassing! How horrible! Maybe the Gatekeepers were right after all! They were… gulp… saving us from ourselves.
But watch this one. Trust me, it’s worth the five-second investment:
Yes, Homer’s a fool. We all are, at one time or another. So the question is, do you want to fail like the mean Homer, kicking your creation to the curb? Or do you want to be the Woo-Hoo Homer, turning every lemon into lemonade and every termination into a four-day weekend? Sure, he’s not reality-based. So what? Aren’t you a fiction writer for a reason?
And aren’t you tired of the stern shake of the head, keeping you down?
Isn’t it time to pump your fist in the air and take a Homerlike leap?
Some interesting speculation that digital publishing, with its lower overhead costs, will lead to the rise of the novella. And why not? Readers like reading them, authors like writing them, but most importantly: sometimes that’s how long a story should be. It’s the difference between Monty Python ending a scene abruptly vs. SNL stretching one out to fill up 90 minutes of airtime on a thin week. How many times have authors, plugging away to get to some arbitrary minimum that their traditional publisher demands, felt like Krusty in the Big Ear Family? And how often does that translate directly into boredom for the reader?