Tag: Tracy Ryan

Worldplay and the Writer

Tracy Ryan What are you able to build with your blocks? Castles and palaces, temples and docks. Rain may keep raining, and others go roam, But I can be happy and building at home. (Robert Louis Stevenson, “Block City”) The imaginative nature of the writer’s life suggests intuitively that it’s linked to earlier play in childhood, and of course Freud makes this connection explicit in his famous if inevitably limited essay/speech, “The Creative Writer and Daydreaming” (1907). I say limited because Freud does not develop in it all the ideas he raises, and many of his points are arguable. Nevertheless,…

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Novels about Writers: Lost Illusions

Tracy Ryan Novels about writers are sometimes decried as running the risk of being boring, self-indulgent, or failing in imagination, as if their author was doing nothing more than lazily transcribing from his or her own life. And perhaps to some degree that risk is quite real, since the main activity of a writer is often solitary, quiet, assiduous, and looks dull from the outside… Planning, note-taking, researching, thinking, revising, scrapping and starting again – hardly the stuff of high drama. Maybe that’s why popular films about real-life, historic writers almost never show them actually writing – how static would…

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Belated Reads

Tracy Ryan We probably all have our list of favourites from early in life, but what about the books it took us a lifetime to get to, the ones we’d heard about but never got around to reading, or that had never crossed our path, till much later? Sometimes these belated reads can come like a bolt out of the blue, just when you thought your reading tastes had either stagnated or at least settled into the shape they were always likely to take. For me the first of these bolts from the blue was the French novelist and general…

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Creative Collaboration

Tracy Ryan Though I happily work as part of a team at other things, as a writer, I am not naturally collaborative. I’m one of those (antisocially?) private writers who does not like even to show what I’m working on – or sometimes even the fact that I’m working. I can’t stand noise, input or suggestion – and prefer to be shut away by myself, preferably in a small space, which makes me focus. It’s not that my process has no spontaneous element; rather that I prefer the spontaneous to happen when there’s no one else around! So it came…

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Willing Suspense: Simenon, Highsmith, Rendell – and Others?

Tracy Ryan Over the last decade or so I’ve become increasingly interested in suspense fiction. Though “suspense” is an element in most fiction, I mean the sort where it’s the main engine or driver of the work. Suspense is a crucial factor in, say, detective stories and thrillers, but even those are not exactly what I mean, though there’s some overlap. At fourteen I was an Agatha Christie addict – and I still admire the skill with which her books are constructed, as well as those written by many others in the genre, or those who have innovated within the…

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Repetition Compulsion: Reading Glen Duncan

by Tracy Ryan When it comes to reading fiction, I’m not averse to the single isolated encounter. It may be because the author only wrote one novel (Emily Brontë), or because there’s only one that appeals. It’s not the writer that’s in question, it’s the individual work. And after all, you can read that one book again and again – and again, with different outcomes at various stages in your life. But what I really love is finding a whole oeuvre to binge on, especially by a contemporary author where there’s likely more to come. “Prolific” is sometimes said with…

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Our First Monthly Blogger: Tracy Ryan!

Tracy Ryan is our first monthly blogger. A poet, activist, academic, and many other things besides, she begins her posts on all things literary from this Friday, April 15th. So keep logging on from this Friday, as her posts are sure to be scintillating, insightful and fun. You can check out more about her in these two links: http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/authors/309/Tracy+Ryan http://poetsvegananarchistpacifist.blogspot.com/ Remember, you’re welcome to comment on her posts.