One Hundred Years Of Magic Realism

I've been reading One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, which employs elements of magic realism in telling a fictionalized history of Latin America. I had a friend some years ago who wrote her dissertation on magic realism in French Caribbean literature, and I recall her having to explain the concept to me. I don't think I really got it until I saw the movie The Milagro Beanfield War, based on the John Nichols novel. It was real, but it was also magical, with a lot of politics thrown in.

The main reason I never went in for comments on this blog is that I hate censorship, but I hate political opportunists even more. I moderated a large discussion group for over five years, and after the first couple years, I turned on pre-moderation for all new members. In short, I censored their posts. While that got me some hate mail, it got me less hate mail than I used to get from the members who I was forced to ban from the group when they spun out of control and made the reading the list painful for everybody who isn't amused by bullying. I used to keep an eye on the membership list as these episodes began to develop, and it was sad to see members of the silent majority bailing out because one man's freedom is another man's (perhaps more often woman's) gross out.

However, I read somewhere recently that a blog with no comments is like subway with no graffiti so I'm willing to give it a go on the basis of magic realism. I'm hoping it will work something like this. A reader with a question or a comment will fill out whatever form Blogger provides, and I'll be magically notified that there's a comment awaiting moderation. If I think the comment adds to, rather than detracts from the post, I'll approve it. If it's not something I'd want to hear in my kitchen, I'll say the magic Abra Cadabra (which I'm convinced is from the Aramaic, meaning something like, "I will create with the word"), and both the comment and the commenter will go away and leave me alone.

Which is kind of ironic, when you think about it, since the sole reason for accepting comments is so my blog doesn't become known as two hundred plus posts of solitude, or something to that effect. I like to think that my writing on this blog is well founded in reality because I do correspond or talk with people about their publishing issues every day. As I replied to somebody who wrote me over the weekend to say that my writings made more sense than anything else about publishing he read on the web, I hope it's not just because I'm persuasive:-)

If if random comments from space turn out to be more realism than I can take, I'll turn them back off restore the blog's solitude. Just remember, magic doesn't hurt people, reality does.


business said...

Hi Morris!

I've been reading your blog for quite a while now, and while I don't always agree with you, your advice is always worth considering. Because of your advice I organized my publishing business as an LLC and started my own website: Also, I purchased both your book on using Lightning Source and Aaron's book. I was surprised to learn after several months that he lives only one mile from me. Go figure!

Anyway, I'm a Lulu refugee because your advice about LSI and short discounts made so much sense. I read your blog everyday, hoping to gain more insight. My first publishing project is a memoir about my mother's life (I know, you think that's a bad idea), but my second project is an Aging Handbook, how-to project, which should complement the memoir nicely. My day job is working with senior citizens, so I know all about senior housing, medicare, effects of aging, and other senior issues. Based on the statements from your blog, my how-to book will do much better than the memoir. We shall see.


John Cowart said...

Hi Mr. Rosenthal,

Thank you for all the helpful information you've been posting.
I read your site every couple of days. And I'm glad that you decided to allow comments now.

In my own attempts at self publishing, I've made every mistake you've warned about; I wish I'd found your site before I got started... but I am learning. You're a good teacher.

Morris Rosenthal said...


Believe it or not, I've seen your website show up in my server stats as a refer now and then. Maybe it's you clicking through:-)


Uh oh, if you've made every mistake I have, pretty soon you'll be publishing a book to compete with me. Still, mistakes are a great way to learn. Or maybe they're a painful way to learn, but it works.


Shel Horowitz, author, Principled Profit said...

Comment on comments: My experience with my own blog is that I do get real comments, but I also get blogspam--and sometimes it's subtle enough that I can't tell without clicking the weblink. Therefore, I am definitely in favor of keeping comments moderated.

PS--didn't realize until I saw Aaron's latest FAQ that we're neighbors. I'm in Hadley.

Shel Horowitz, shel (AT), 800-683-WORD/413-586-2388

Marketing & publishing consultant/copywriter, award-winning author of

* Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts
People First

* Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers

* Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World /

-->Join the Business Ethics Pledge - Ten Years to Change the World,
One Signature at a Time (please tell your friends)

Morris Rosenthal said...


Yes, we met at a Hidden Tech meeting a few years ago if I recall. I went along with Jon Reed who was doing the introductions or something like that. Jon is the moderator and current owner of the POD_Publishers group on Yahoo that we started four years ago. I eventually dropped out because I got tired of playing the bad cop and the protracted discussions about fonts.

Oddly enough, the main reason I started that group was because I wanted a place to discuss publishing issues that was civilized. I had participated in the old pub-something list that I believe you were one of four moderators on, and I couldn't believe how rude some of the behavior was. Why anybody would put up with that level of noise is beyond me.

In any case, thanks for reading, and that's an heavy sig line you have there.


Jason Sipe said...

Mr. Rosenthal,

I appreciate this blog and it is one of my check-ins at least once a week. I really take your advice and EXPERIENCE to heart, even if we are heading in different directions.
Thanks for all the LSI posts--as well as the marketing tips.
Jason Sipe

Morris Rosenthal said...


May your direction be a successful one:-)