Download PDF by Peter Turchi: A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic

By Peter Turchi

ISBN-10: 1595341935

ISBN-13: 9781595341938

With his attribute expertise for locating connections among writing and the stuff of our lives, Peter Turchi ventures into new or even extra marvelous territory. In A Muse and a Maze, Turchi attracts out the similarities among writing and puzzle-making and its flip-side, puzzle-solving. As he teases out how secret lies on the middle of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic—the production of credible illusion—that writers percentage with the likes of Houdini and grasp magicians. In Turchi’s associative narrative, we find out about the heritage of puzzles, their obsessive caliber, and that Benjamin Franklin was once a devotee of an old precursor of sudoku referred to as Magic Squares. utilizing this wealthy backdrop to the necessities of writing, Turchi unearths as a lot concerning the human psyche as he does in regards to the literary mind's eye and the inventive process.

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Extra resources for A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic

Sample text

Ultimately, we each follow our own interests, or what we might think of as the Muse, unpredictable as she seems to be. So while we might cultivate, through conscious exploration, situations, problems, characters and/or themes, we might also, or alternately, explore aspects of process, form, and style. Milan Kundera says that when a critic pointed out that he tended to write his novels in seven sections, he seized the revelation as an opportunity to further develop his structural inclinations. 7 From Dante and Petrarch, Wordsworth and Shakespeare, John Berryman and Robert Lowell, there is no end of examples of poets who have chosen the sonnet as a vehicle for exploration.

Years ago, when I became the director of an MFA program in creative writing, and before email became our default mode of communication, I had occasion to talk with the program’s academic board chair by phone almost every day. Our conversations would often go on for half an hour or more. One day, I recognized a sound in the background on the other end of the line. I started listening for it, and while I didn’t hear it during every conversation, I heard it during nearly all of the longest conversations, a sound familiar from my youth: the clatter of cards being shuffled, followed by the soft snapping of a game being laid out.

We could even say that each of us represents one solution to a puzzle, a unique combination of twenty-three pairs of chromosomes. Readers, too, have biases. There are awkward moments around the globe every day when two strangers meet, claim to enjoy reading fiction, but discover that one is thinking Follett while the other is thinking Beckett. The fan of The Great Gatsby, Sometimes a Great Notion, and Great Expectations might fancy herself “better read” than the fan of The Good Mother and Good in Bed, but then Mark Twain referred to “the Sir Walter Scott disease,” Henry James said Mark Twain’s work appealed only to “rudimentary minds,” Faulkner called Twain “a hack,” Nabokov referred to Faulkner’s novels as “corncobby chronicles,” Nietzsche called Dante Alighieri “a hyena that wrote poetry on tombs,” Gertrude Stein called Ezra Pound “a village explainer,” Joseph Conrad called D.

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A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic by Peter Turchi


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