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Old 05-04-2009   #31
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Re: My literary career

I love reading about your successes as an author, and I am amazed that you were able to translate your story into such good English. I've tried to teach myself French and Yiddish, but my brain is simply too lazy and I was not committed enough to learning languages. I'm a poor student. Your English is good -- very British -- and at times the phrasing is so beautiful that I thought, "Johan must be a poet." Descriptions such as:

"Panels, lifted from their ceiling, lay in heaps between sprawling cables. A ladder. I looked up, right into a dark skeleton, gleaming lightning-blue: the metal paling that usually sits invisible above our heads."

That was brilliant, so well done. The story itself is strange and perverse, and I enjoyed it though it took me two readings to fully "get" it -- the first time I was too concentrated on the language. Well done.

I love reading about the writing lives of others, and one of the highlights for me at TLO is to read members' fiction and poetry. I like that you are approaching writing as a career -- I no longer do so, as I don't see that my own work has any potential for a "commercial" audience. This has freed me to think of myself primarily as one who writes for a very select audience, the "Lovecraftian underground," as I ghoulishly phrase it. That is enough for me. I could never support myself from my writing, nor do I want to. And yet, my writing is "my life," it's the one thing that keeps me from going insane. However, I applaud and sometimes envy those who can do it as a career, "real" writers like Laird Barron, who have such talent and determination to make it their career. I wish you more and more success. Success is a thing that must be achieved, worked for and keenly desired -- in most cases, I think. It's rarely a gift or an accident.

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 05-04-2009   #32
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Re: My literary career

Quote Originally Posted by hopfrog View Post
I love reading about your successes as an author, and I am amazed that you were able to translate your story into such good English. I've tried to teach myself French and Yiddish, but my brain is simply too lazy and I was not committed enough to learning languages. I'm a poor student. Your English is good -- very British -- and at times the phrasing is so beautiful that I thought, "Johan must be a poet." Descriptions such as:

"Panels, lifted from their ceiling, lay in heaps between sprawling cables. A ladder. I looked up, right into a dark skeleton, gleaming lightning-blue: the metal paling that usually sits invisible above our heads."

That was brilliant, so well done. The story itself is strange and perverse, and I enjoyed it though it took me two readings to fully "get" it -- the first time I was too concentrated on the language. Well done.

I love reading about the writing lives of others, and one of the highlights for me at TLO is to read members' fiction and poetry. I like that you are approaching writing as a career -- I no longer do so, as I don't see that my own work has any potential for a "commercial" audience. This has freed me to think of myself primarily as one who writes for a very select audience, the "Lovecraftian underground," as I ghoulishly phrase it. That is enough for me. I could never support myself from my writing, nor do I want to. And yet, my writing is "my life," it's the one thing that keeps me from going insane. However, I applaud and sometimes envy those who can do it as a career, "real" writers like Laird Barron, who have such talent and determination to make it their career. I wish you more and more success. Success is a thing that must be achieved, worked for and keenly desired -- in most cases, I think. It's rarely a gift or an accident.
Dear Wilum, thank you for having taken the trouble to read my story. Very gratifying. Yes, you are right, I am a poet and poetry infuses my prose (two simple poems of mine are in the Dark Poetry section). That is why I love Dunsany, CAS and Ligotti so much. And yes, I did translate my story into British English (HPL wouldn't have objected!)

As for making a career - in 1981 I became an unemployed recluse to devote all my energy to reading and writing. In 1991 I began to come out of my shell as a writer and was immediately published in a very small literary magazine (which couldn't pay me anything). In 2000 the publisher of that small magazine had become a real publisher of literary fiction, took my work to a book fair in Belgium; there he met the editors of an important literary magazine, who read my work and were bowled over by it: that was the first time I was paid anything for my work. This last decade I have been published 8 times in toto... And I am trying to get known only since 2008, because I am finishing my big first novel. Ergo: I have been busy around 30 years already in relative obscurity and only now, thanks to my own efforts, people are starting to take notice. You might call that a 'career', but it's a mighty strange one! Remember, I'm almost 48! My literary progress, creatively and professionally, is very slow, but very sure...

Again - thank you for taking an interest. You may count on me returning the favour. I love the whole Sesqua Valley idea!
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Old 05-14-2009   #33
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Re: My literary career

Quote Originally Posted by Jezetha View Post
A new development today - I have been invited by another excellent magazine, again in Belgium, called nY, to submit anything I have lying around . nY is the result of two prominent literary magazines joining forces, Yang and Nieuw Zuid. nY can mean 'new' in Scandinavia. I know several editors, because my first breakthrough was in Yang, in 2000. They admire my work.
Great news. I just got a mail that nY's editorial board is "collectively impressed" by a chapter I submitted from my novel. They call it "dynamite", and it is "perfect for our magazine - literature, criticism and entertainment rolled into one". As this chapter is among the most uncompromising things I have ever written (stylistically and intellectually) and seeing that that other magazine rejected it earlier this year because of it (I surmise), it is really wonderful it has been accepted now so whole-heartedly.

This means that I will be present in two literary magazines at the same time!
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Old 05-14-2009   #34
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Re: My literary career

Great news, Johan. And at a time when you need it.

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 05-21-2009   #35
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Re: My literary career

June 5th is drawing nearer and nearer. I'll be reading my story Love Is Here (alluding to the great Supremes song), which will be published later that month. The evening itself is devoted to the theme of 'Love and Distance', and a professor of philosophy from Gent University will be talking about Jacques Lacan's and Alain Badiou's different but related thinking about love. Then another speaker (still to be announced) will talk about medieval court poetry. And my reading will, hopefully, bring the evening to its shattering conclusion. ;) As the Perdu Foundation calls my story 'heart-rending', I'll do my damndest to 'make it so' in the best Captain Picard tradition (for the Star Trek fans among us)...

Perdu
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Old 06-05-2009   #36
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Re: My literary career

Today's the day. In a few hours' time I will be reading from my poetry and prose before a critical Amsterdam audience. My best friends will attend, my sister will be there. I must give the performance of my life...
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Old 06-09-2009   #37
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Re: My literary career

My friends, I want to update you on that long-awaited evening that is now already in the past. To be very brief about it: it was a success. Some 50 people were present. Before I read six poems and a short story, they had already heard a rather demanding essay about French philosopher Alain Badiou's views on love and after that an interesting talk about Occitan troubadour poetry. Then, at 22.20 PM (yes, quite late), I had to step forward to - as they say - 'deliver the goods', and I did. I think what I achieved is this: that people now know there is a writer/poet called J.Z. Herrenberg, and that he is able to 'perform' his work very well. The long-term effects will only become clear the coming months. What I do know is that people are going to read my contributions to those two literary magazines in which I will be appearing this month with keener interest (some of them said so).

All in all, I'm very happy. On a more personal note - on 28 June I will be moving to the room I have found in Delft. The end of an era. The start of something new.
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Old 06-09-2009   #38
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Re: My literary career

Congratulations, Johan. Wish I'd been there. And good luck with your exciting new future.
des

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Old 06-09-2009   #39
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Re: My literary career

Congratulations from me, too, Johan...

Incidentally, I notice your surname for the first time. I don't speak Dutch, but wonder whether it means "man-mountain".

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Old 06-09-2009   #40
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Re: My literary career

Thanks, everyone!

Regarding my surname - it's a town in Germany, near Stuttgart. When my paternal ancestors - slaves in the former Dutch colony of Suriname - got their freedom in 1863, a visiting committee of Dutch officials furnished them with a name. I know of others who are called 'Stutgart', but the three women who stand at the beginning of the line - Petronella, Apollonia and Adolphina, as I found out at the National Archive in The Hague - got the surname Herrenberg, which can be translated as Mountain of the Lord. My full name is Johannes Zacheus Herrenberg, not bad for a writer... By the way, I was named after my paternal grandfather, who was a Herrnhut minister (Herrnhutters: also known as the Moravian Brotherhood, founded by Count Zinzendorf, an offshoot of Lutheranism).
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