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Posts Tagged ‘michael chabon’


MAPS OF FICTIONAL WORLDS

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

map of the story

“When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, when I was 10, 11 years old, the books that I loved…came with maps and glossaries and timelines—books like Lord Of The Rings, Dune, The Chronicles Of Narnia. I imagined that’s what being a writer was: You invented a world, and you did it in a very detailed way, and you told stories that were set in that world.”—Michael Chabon, Interview with the AV Club

My undergrad thesis argued that world-building wasn’t just for fantasy and sci-fi writers—every tale has a setting, every tale creates a world in the reader’s mind—and it explored ways that drawing that world (visual thinking!) can lead to better fiction.

Some of my favorite “lit’ry” books are accompanied by maps.

A recent read, Donald Ray Pollock‘s short-story collection, Knockemstiff, is set in the “real” town of Knockemstiff, right outside of Chillicothe, Ohio (30 miles from where I grew up—if you keep heading north on 23 you’ll get to Circleville). The book includes a nice hand-pencilled map by artist David Cain:

map from donald ray pollock's KOCKEMSTILL

Lynda Barry’s Cruddy contains four maps. Here’s two of them:

map from lynda barry's CRUDDY

And while it was a TV show and not a book, one of my favorite fictional worlds, Twin Peaks, was drawn by David Lynch for the pitch meeting:

MAP OF TWIN PEAKS BY DAVID LYNCH

Some writers use previously-made maps to help create their fiction: Melville used whaling charts, Joyce used Ordnance surveys of Dublin, and Pynchon used aerial maps.

Poking around the ‘net I found maps for Faulkner’s books, Treasure Island, and of course, Tolkien.

What other favorite books of yours include maps? Let’s get a big ol’ list going in the comments!

MICHAEL CHABON READING AT BOOKPEOPLE

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Michael Chabon reading at Bookpeople in Austin, Texas

My buddy Tim and I went to see writer Michael Chabon (“Shea as in stadium, Bon as in Jovi”) at Bookpeople last night. There were at least 100 people there. I picked up a copy of his beautiful new non-fiction collection with a Jordan Crane-designed cover.

During the Q&A, Chabon remarked of one of his characters, “He was too verbose and too Jewish.”

When he signed my book to “Meg + Austin,” I said, “Meg is my wife—she really likes your stuff.”

And Chabon (who seems like a really nice guy, by the way) joked, “Oh, and you don’t think it’s so hot?”

And I blushed and restrained myself from quoting his Q&A.

(Brilliant storyteller, but dang, he can be long-winded!)

Here’s Tim and I hanging out beforehand:

Good times!

PS. Wonder Boys is one of the greatest movies ever made. Not joking. And it has a kick-ass soundtrack. Go watch it.

PPS: The Amazing Adventures of Lethem and Chabon.

CHABON ON WORLDBUILDING

Friday, July 6th, 2007

“When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, when I was 10, 11 years old, the books that I loved…came with maps and glossaries and timelines—books like Lord Of The Rings, Dune, The Chronicles Of Narnia. I imagined that’s what being a writer was: You invented a world, and you did it in a very detailed way, and you told stories that were set in that world.”

- Michael Chabon, Interview with the AV Club

Believe it or not, I’ve never read anything by Michael Chabon, save for his great introduction to the McSweeney’s Thrilling Tales collection. (This seems particularly pathetic because Wonder Boys happens to be one of my favorite movies.) But, at the beach this year I’m gonna to read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Meg’s gonna read The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.



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