Now that I’m forty-four years old, I’m going to offer some advice on the art of writing short stories.
(1) Never approach short stories one at a time. If one approaches short stories one at a time, one can quite honestly be writing the same short story until the day one dies.
(2) It is best to write short stories three or five at a time. If one has the energy, write them nine or fifteen at a time.
(3) Be careful: the temptation to write short stories two at a time is just as dangerous as attempting to write them one at a time, and, what’s more, it’s essentially like the interplay of lovers’ mirrors, creating a double image that produces melancholy.
(4) One must read Horacio Quiroga, Felisberto Hernández, and Jorge Luis Borges. One must read Juan Rulfo and Augusto Monterroso. Any short-story writer who has some appreciation for these authors will never read Camilo José Cela or Francisco Umbral yet will, indeed, read Julio Cortázar and Adolfo Bioy Casares, but in no way Cela or Umbral.
(5) I’ll repeat this once more in case it’s still not clear: don’t consider Cela or Umbral, whatsoever.
(6) A short-story writer should be brave. It’s a sad fact to acknowledge, but that’s the way it is.
(7) Short-story writers customarily brag about having read Petrus Borel (Joseph-Pierre Borel). In fact, many short-story writers are notorious for trying to imitate Borel’s writing. What a huge mistake! Instead, they should imitate the way Borel dresses. But the truth is that they hardly know anything about him—or Théophile Gautier or Gérard de Nerval!
(8) Let’s come to an agreement: read Petrus Borel, dress like Petrus Borel, but also read Jules Renard and Marcel Schwob. Above all, read Schwob, then move on to Alfonso Reyes and from there go to Borges.
(9) The honest truth is that with Edgar Allan Poe, we would all have more than enough good material to read.
(10) Give thought to point number 9. Think and reflect on it. You still have time. Think about number 9. To the extent possible, do so on bended knees.
(11) One should also read a few other highly recommended books and authors—e.g., Peri hypsous (1st century a.d.; Eng. On the Sublime, 1554), by the notable Pseudo-Longinus; the sonnets of the unfortunate and brave Philip Sidney, whose biography Lord Brooke wrote; The Spoon River Anthology (1916), by Edgar Lee Masters; Suicidios ejemplares (1991; Exemplary suicides), by Enrique Vila-Matas; and Mientras ellas duermen (1990; While the women sleep), by Javier Marías.
(12) Read these books and also read Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver, for one of the two of them is the best writer of the twentieth century.
Roberto Bolaño, Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998 - 2003
"The most interesting character I photographed in those days was probably Serge Gainsbourg. All these new bands were quite easy to work with, since we were all innocents and the purpose was to do the best pictures for them but also for me. Serge Gainsbourg was a little bit older. He had become a key part of the Rive Gauche scene ,where he first started, but he was bottoming when I met him. He had also the feeling that all these new rhythms from US and UK would definitely change the music industry and Philips/Fontana (the label he was signed on) had already asked him to work on songs for these new french "idols". So he called me in order to make some pictures for the press, he knew pretty well what image he wanted to show, really easy to picture.
By the end of the day, he told me "they want me to make some "soup" (easy songs) for the Yéyés , I will then I will buy me a Rolls Royce and write erotic songs". It was in 1963 ! ”
Dracula - Tod Browning (1931) (Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan)
“I will not let you go into the unknown alone.”
"Listen to them - the children of the night. What music they make!"
"I wish I were with you, dear, sitting by the fire undressing,
as we used to sit, and I would try to tell you what I feel."
"Despair has its own calm."
"Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight,
all the evil things in the world will have full sway?"
Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897
When he was 22, Bram Stoker read “Leaves of Grass,”Whitman’s poetry collection that would change the young novelist’s life. So enthralled with the American poet was he that Stoker penned a nearly 2,000-word letter to Whitman describing himself and pouring out his love for the poet and his works.
“I have to thank you for many happy hours, for I have read your poems with my door locked late at night, and I have read them on the seashore where I could look all round me and see no more sign of human life than the ships out at sea: and here I often found myself waking up from a reverie with the book lying open before me,” he wrote.
He closed, “I have been more candid with you – have said more about myself to you than I have ever said to any one before.”
That letter began a surprising literary friendship that lasted until Whitman’s death.
''Διάβασα έντεκα χρονών τον Δράκουλα. Εκείνο τον παλιό, του Δαρεμά. Θα έχω να τον δω μισό αιώνα πια, όμως την κουβερτούρα του εξωφύλλου τη θυμάμαι: πράσινο φόντο, η κοπέλα, ο Κόμης με τα μαύρα. Με την εικόνα, και με όλα τα άλλα εκεί μέσα, τα ροζ μού τέλειωσαν απότομα και οριστικά. Για κάποια χρόνια, που ξαναγυρνούσα και τον ξαναδιάβαζα, ήτανε νύχτες που το Πέρασμα του Μπόργκο ανηφόριζε δίπλα ή κάτω απ' το κρεβάτι μου. Έβλεπα εφιάλτες, περιπέτειες ασπρόμαυρες, τεχνικολόρ. Πάντα τη γλίτωνα, ξημέρωνε εγκαίρως. Τα πρωινά –με τρόπο, εννοείται– έριχνα μια ματιά και για σημάδια στον λαιμό. Είχα αρχίσει να φαντάζομαι επιτέλους το σκοτάδι και από την άλλη του μεριά. Τέλεια ήτανε.''