Sunday, August 31, 2014

Steering toward the finish line!



My Monkey Helper manuscript is now in final stages of revising and filling inside straights, for delivery to my agent next week.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Monkey Selfies Are All the Rage


Monkey selfies are in the news these days for a few reasons.

One, they're inherently funny.

Two, we have become idiotically selfie-obsessed in general.

Three, monkey selfies raise intriguing questions about copyright ownership. This case has just been discussed in The New Yorker online: David J. Slater, a British wildlife photographer, set up his camera on a tripod in the hope of capturing wildlife in situ when he was visiting a nature preserve in Indonesia in 2011. The camera was taken over by a crested black macaque . The monkey liked the noise the shutter made and proceeded to take hundreds of pictures of herself. Slater has published lots of these monkey selfies and has claimed ownership/authorship.  He asked that the images be removed from the Wiki commons where anyone can use them. Not so fast, says Wikimedia, the image site for Wikipedia.

The New Yorker piece reports: "If Slater, as the photographer, had said that he wanted the photos taken down, Wikimedia most likely would have complied. The question that arose was whether Slater, who had not held the camera, set up the shot, or pressed the shutter, could be considered the photographer at all. Wikimedias position on this was clear: in the licensing conditions found at the bottom of the grinning monkey selfie, they write, “This file is in the public domain because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.” (It should be noted that Wikimedia is not saying that the monkey owns the copyright, as others have reported, but simply that Slater does not.)"

Why yes, monkeys are my current fascination. I note that crested black macaques aren't very smart, especially compared to capuchins, and they wouldn't be trainable if you wanted them to learn how to take photographs on command. They are just curious.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Digging Deep

When you're writing, you have to dig deep. Also true if you drop a piece of popcorn between the seats.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Still Writing!

After long silence here at Staircase Writing, I am just checking in at the end of my second wonderful spring term of teaching creative writing at Kenyon College to say that I am hoping to finish my sixth novel (which has been far too long in progress) by the end of the summer.

Now that the students have left for the summer, I will be spending the next three weeks here on the Kenyon campus, working on The Monkey Helper, with a plan to get back up to full steam.  My English Department office is in historic Sunset Cottage, home to the Kenyon Review for many years. (Sunset is only marginally more modern-looking today.)

Which reminds me! I am delighted to say that I have been moved up the masthead at the Kenyon Review, where I have been a Contributing Editor. I am now an Editor at Large.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Apologies for silence and lack of updates. Writing, writing. Writing. Must make the best use of the summer to work on The Monkey Helper after a marvelous first spring term teaching at Kenyon College during which I simply didn't get very much work done on the novel.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

HERE TODAY is almost here!


I am delighted to announce that playwright David Caudle [http://davidcaudle.org/home] has written a new musical play HERE TODAY, inspired by my memoir, The Memory Of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities. The show, which is based on the love triangle of Kay Swift, her husband and collaborator Jimmy Warburg (in other words, my grandparents), and George Gershwin, will feature the score to Fine and Dandy, along with other Kay Swift songs. The first showcase will take place at the Ziegfeld Society meeting in New York City on Saturday, April 27th at 3:30 in the Lang Recital Hall at Hunter College.
 
 I will participate in an after-show discussion along with David Caudle and Music Director Aaron Gandy. Tickets are on sale now! More information is here (scroll down to April 27th):  http://www.theziegfeldsociety.com/


 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to My Monkey Business

Working on The Monkey Helper. Want something? Take a number!