The ending of The Great Gatsby (audio recording)

I never read The Great Gatsby in school, so with the movie coming out, I decided now would be a good time to catch up. I’m glad I did, because I absolutely loved the book – it’s an instant classic for me thanks to the poetry of Fitzgerald’s prose.

Before I returned the book to the library, I recorded a brief snippet of the absolutely fantastic, beautiful, and heartbreaking ending. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend you read it first – if you have, it’s almost definitely worth reading again. In the meantime, here’s the ending:

New article on ideas for WordPress themes

Thank you to WP Daily for publishing my article on the scope of WordPress themes: Should we think about new and better ways to make themes fit into the larger site development process? Here’s a snippet:

Traditionally, themes don’t have opinions about the admin area; don’t acknowledge the presence of frequently-used tools (such as default CPT files); and certainly don’t include files that won’t end up living in the theme’s folder. Themes establish a design philosophy for 40% of a live site – what about the other aspects of building a functional, customized site?

Read the full article and share your thoughts!

Warm as you write

From this fascinating Paris Review interview, Ernest Hemingway on creativity and the wring process:

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

My new short story: an experiment in self-publishing

A Hard Word to Pronounce coverAs you may have noticed, I have a new short story out, and I want to tell you all about it. It’s called “A Hard Word to Pronounce”, and it’s about a young twenty-ish guy on the day of his best friend’s wedding.

Because it’s a short story- and not a novel, or collection- I’m releasing it in e-book format, which basically means that it’s a great quality PDF. When you get it, you can either read it on your computer (or iPod or whatnot), or choose to print it out and take it with you. It’s $2 to own, and you can read an excerpt and purchase it right here:
http://jasonclarke.org/hardword

Whoah…a short story, in PDF download format, for two bucks? That sounds a bit crazy, no? But really, if you think about it, it’s kind of cool- because besides the fact that it gives you the option of saving some trees (and hasn’t it been a while since you had a chance to do that?), it’s also neat because it dramatically lowers the costs of production- savings which are passed directly on to you, dear reader.

Let me tell you just a bit more about this process, because I think it’s a direction that publishing is moving in. In this case, instead of packaging the story into a larger book– and that has to be done, because most printed books have set minimum page counts– you’re getting just one short story, but for much less than you’d pay for a typical book. That’s because it’s being delivered instantly (another benefit), without the interruption of a vast set of fixed costs such as printers, shippers, and even publicists and marketers.

That’s it for now. Even if you don’t care about the future of publishing, or saving a tree or two, please head over to my website, check out the story, and perhaps purchase it for yourself or a loved one. You can find all the info, plus order it, right here:

http://jasonclarke.org/hardword

And please do send me your thoughts and/or comments. I look forward to hearing from you, and I promise to keep you updated.

So now you know

For a long time I’ve been drastically private on this site about writing-related matters. While the debate about private vs. public on a blog carries on, I’m in a bit of a writer’s block/rut so I’m taking the easy way and out being slightly transparent in an effort to jab myself with some possible new perspective.

The rut comes in part from waiting, which unless you’re good, can breed self-doubt. I have a short story out to an agent right now, and I’m waiting to hear back from her about whether or not it’s total crap.

If it’s rejected, I’m either going to submit it to Amazon’s Shorts program, or I might just post it here on this site and offer both a free web version, as well as a high-quality download for $1 or something like that. And maybe even a $1 audio book (is storycast – that would be “story” + “podcast” – too annoying of a term?) version, too.

If anybody has any comments, suggestions, feedback about the idea, please by all means share them in the comments.

Also: I’m currently 10-5 in my football pool this week, now waiting on the Monday Night game to start. I picked the Bears again (they won) because I heard Mike Golic saying their defense was underrated a few weeks ago on ESPN’s radio show Mike and Mike in the Morning. That’s part of why I sometimes take a bit of a longer way to work…The football pool.