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Jess Wells's Blog

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Sep.01.2010
As we prepare for the last day of vacation before the new school year (in my family’s case for the beginning of high school) I’d like to say hats off to all the parents who have gotten through another summer without homicide, suicide, or patricide. To all the moms who didn’t fling fireplace tools...
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Sep.01.2010
Thoroughly enjoyed the article in Time Magazine, August 23, 2010 on Jonathan Franzen and his new book and am fascinated by what he has to say about freedom. But also noteworthy is his work ethic. “Franzen works in a rented office that he has stripped of all distractions.  He uses a heavy, obsolete...
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Aug.30.2010
Guttenberg is certainly considered creator of one of the most world-changing devices ever built but, as commerce and society would have it, the early years of print were not earth-shattering, according to The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree, reviewed in the New York Times Book Review,...
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Aug.27.2010
Just as people have called on the spirit world for assistance with crops and fertility or for the strength to get through the darkest nights, humans have called on the spirit world to assist them in the mysterious process of making art.  Here is a sampling of some of the Muses from various cultures...
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Aug.26.2010
The Historical Novel Society 4th North American conference will take place June 17-19, 2011, at the Holiday Inn on the Bay in San Diego, California.  Speaker proposals are being accepted through September 30th, for a specific set of panels, including: Naval History World War II Borrowing...
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Aug.24.2010
Guedelon, as published in the New York Times.
A special shout-out to Maryline Martin, who is building “a replica of a medieval chateau of the mid-13th century using the techniques of the time: iron tools and no electricity.”  (New York Times, Sunday, August 1, 2010 pg. 8) The castle, named Guedelon after the surrounding forest, is two hours...
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Jun.30.2010
I was quite surprised recently at the fear that came up when I thought of performing at an open mic. You see, I had an obligation for a grant that included a requirement that the funded work be performed, (otherwise I would have stayed under my blankets or at my desk on this typically frigid, San...
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Jun.22.2010
Have finished watching the entire five years of "Rescue Me," which is quite the study in lack of self-control, self-determination, a study in being a tool, the whole world calling you selfish when you’re busting your ass to take care of everyone else, and a TV series in which women are...
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Jun.15.2010
Since tomorrow is Bloomsday, I wanted to chime in here: I’ve recently taken a 24-lecture course on Joyce’s Ulysses from The Teaching Company and it was incredible. For just $34 I was able to get 12 hours of audio lectures from a professor at Princeton.  And I was able to download them to my iPhone...
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Apr.03.2010
Hats off to my friend, Gerry Blanchard, an accomplished playwrite and director, who has recently published his book, The Man Who Traded His Wife For Woodworking Tools And Other True Stories Of 19th Century Jackson, Michigan.  He describes it this way: "What kind of community has citizens who...
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Mar.08.2010
Literary Bodysnatching“The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson” fits neatly into the flourishing genre of literary bodysnatching.  … written in the person or from the point of view of a dead, great writer…But all are perfect for the age of too much information.  The genre thrives on a contemporary...
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Dec.23.2009
A recent issue of the Heifer Foundation magazine, World Ark, contains an interesting story called “A Novel Approach” in which several writers are lending their visibility to raise money for The Heifer Foundation. Laurie R. King, author The Language of Bees and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, as well as...
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Nov.30.2009
Many thanks to the San Francisco Arts Commission for the literary grant and to demonstrate progress on the project, here’s an audio file/reading/sneak peak of the first draft of the novel, tentatively entitled The Gong Farmer’s Tale.  (You'll find the file in the Media area within my profile.) The...
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Nov.23.2009
In reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s delightful Eat Pray Love I stumbled across the chant she relies on: Om Namah Shivaya.  ‘I honor the divinity that resides within me.’There’s a huge divide (in my mind, anyway) between creator religions and Buddhism and since I’m a Buddhist, most of the chants and...
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Nov.08.2009
I’m wondering why anyone would start to write when the book that lives inside your head before you start writing feels so perfect?  At the stage before you write your characters are vivid and witty and they transition from one emotional moment to the next without awkward pause or stumble.  You can...
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