Thursday, July 14, 2005

More productivity

Last week I mentioned Charles Whiting, an extraordinarily productive novelist. Yesterday I referred to an article by Dr Sam Vaknin on the future of the book. And Vaknin, it turns out, is pretty much as productive in non-fiction (mostly) as Whiting is in fiction. Which is to say formidably so.

After yesterday's piece appeared, Sam wrote to me to mention that a lot more of his stuff is available online. And indeed it is. There is so much of it, in fact, that you can easily get lost.

You might start, however, by going to Sam's Busiweb page, where you will find a substantial number of other articles about various aspects of online publishing and trading. This looks like a valuable resource. My only criticism is that (unless I missed it) the articles are not dated, and in such a fast-moving field as internet technology that is an important factor.

Given that Sam is an expert on narcissism, and given that I had suggested that narcissism is a condition which might very well affect writers, to a greater or lesser degree, I was interested to see what he had to say on such a connection.

Quite a lot, it turns out. Some of it relates to himself, and it is, as he says, brutally honest and in startling detail.

You can find, for instance, an interview with Sam in which he discusses narcissism and its impact upon his own work as a writer. There is another link to a piece in which he discusses why he writes poetry.

There is further substantial collection of Sam's essays and journal entries linked on a page headed The Mind of a Narcissist. And if you poke around in there you might find more on the theme of writing and narcissism. There is an interesting extract from an FAQ page, in which Sam discusses the following question: Are narcissists addicted to being famous?

His answer, essentially, is You bet. He goes on to say this: 'The narcissist's only bad emotional stretches are during periods of lack of attention, publicity, or exposure. The narcissist then feels empty, hollowed out, negligible, humiliated, wrathful, discriminated against, deprived, neglected, treated unjustly and so on.'

Oh dear. I think I'll stop there.

However, if you want to know more, you could try using the search facility for the terms 'narcissism' and 'writing' within Sam Vaknin sites. You will be given a list of 61 documents. The second on the list is another interview in which Sam talks about his own condition. His problems, he says, are here to stay; the prognosis is 'poor and alarming'.

By this time you may wish to know a little more about Sam Vaknin's background, which (inevitably) he has provided in some detail. You will see that he has held a number of senior posts in a variety of organisations and has also spent some time in the slammer. Well, there you go. Could happen to most of us. It doesn't seem to have slowed him up much, though. As a matter of fact he loved it in jail. Suited him rather well.

All in all, Sam Vaknin is a man of rather frightening energy. It would probably be worth your while to dip into what he has written. You might learn something, either about the modern world or about yourself; I certainly did.


paulv said...

Thanks very much for your generous sharing of the essay "On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile", which I've now mostly read. I found it provocative enough that I wanted to express some of my responses in my own post today. I do appreciate the stream of useful, informed, and well expressed thoughts you provide on the world of publishing and writing.

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