Also in the news: Highlights from a novel written in Ancient Rome, plus every single flower mentioned in The Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s your Daily Blunt!
Ava DuVernay’s special-effects team clearly considered no part of Madeleine L’Engle’s psychedelic odyssey A Wrinkle In Time to be off-limits. So what happened to the book’s strangest and hardest-to-picture character, Aunt Beast? Electric Literature’s Jamie Green explains why the character is crucial to any retelling of this story: “The whole book tells us that messy, angry, stubborn girls can save the day. But Aunt Beast tells us that those problem girls can also be loved.” The article also quotes one of the film’s writers on the absence of such a beloved character: “She was there until the very end. Maybe she’ll show up in the DVD.”
Over on Reddit, one reader was so moved by the flower imagery in The Picture of Dorian Gray, they were motivated to track every single mention throughout the text. The word “flower” itself is written 33 times, and roses draw particular mention – orchids come in a distant second. Most of the commentary is devoted to the way Oscar Wilde has all his characters dramatically “flinging” themselves into chairs, but as of this writing, someone has yet to tally all the instances.
How’d you like to dive into the only complete novel that’s survived from ancient Rome? Writing for The Paris Review, Anthony Madrid recaps the first chapter of The Golden Ass, originally entitled Metamorphosis by its author, Apuleius in the 3rd century. Highlighting the novel’s treasures, Madrid swears the book holds up and has found it worth re-reading many times over: “If you’re saying to yourself, He must be one of these ones who are medically incapable of getting bored, you couldn’t be wronger. I never do anything like what I’m describing here.”
The road to “success” (whatever that is) can be long and hard, and most writers find there are few milestones along the way to urge them to keep trying. Saladin Ahmed, a Hugo-nominated writer with numerous comic books, essays, and poems under his belt, offered career wisdom to his followers on Twitter this week, including data-points like “I didn’t sell my first novel til after I was 35,” and “I still get rejections.” As you can see in the responses, people of all ages really need these kinds of reminders to keep plugging away at their dream project. Thanks for the #inspo, Saladin!