Reader Friday: Public Domain

The Mouse formerly known as Mortimer.

Steamboat Willie, the first Disney synchronized-sound cartoon, is now in the public domain. The 1928 short features Mickey Mouse (whom Walt was going to call Mortimer, until his wife voted thumbs down). Anyone can now use this version of Mickey…but not the later one where he’s put on a little weight and sports white gloves. You also can’t imply that your use is sanctioned by Disney corporate. The rules are spelled out here. A list of some of the prominent works now open to all is here.

Here’s something to look forward to: Seventy years after your death, your works will enter the public domain. So let’s go to a day in the future when a browser with a virtual reality headset happens across one of your books and decides to look up who you were. What would you like your short bio to say? Put it in the form of “[Your Name] was a writer known for ____” and go from there!

Reader Friday: What Writing is Like

James Salter, Wikimedia Commons

“In the end, writing is like a prison, an island from which you will never be released but which is a kind of paradise: the solitude, the thoughts, the incredible joy of putting into words the essence of what you for the moment understand and with your whole heart want to believe.” – James Salter

What is writing like for you?

Reader Friday: Advice

“If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass. If it persists, you probably ought to write a novel.” — Lawrence Block.

What’s the first word of advice you’d give someone who says to you, “I think I’m going to write a novel.”

Reader Friday: The Difference

Rumer Godden, author of Black Narcissus

When my last novel was published, I received from the publicity department one of those biographical questionnaires sent to authors these days. Some of the questions were impertinent, especially, I thought, the last: “What makes you feel your books are different from other peoples’?” I did not have to ponder over this because there is really only one answer: “What makes my books different? They are written by me.” Every author ought to be able to say that. – Rumer Godden

What do you try to bring to your books that is different?

Reader Friday: Keep On Writing?

“With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has stretched your understanding. I know that. Even if I knew for certain that I would never have anything published again, [or] would never make another cent from it, I would keep on writing.” – Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write

Would you?

NOTE: This was one of the books I read early in my writing journey, and found it inspiring. As of this writing the Kindle version is just 49¢.