All that floated there was the mystery. In the presence of all that, I discovered too that there are mysteries residing in the consciousness of my own mind that I don’t want to get out of the way of....more
I would go so far as to say that the entire reason I write is to detect all the irony that language allows and twist it around the truth like razor wire and ivy. That’s how I like my truth: twisted....more
Think back to crossing Santa Monica Bay with your husband, unaware that you are pregnant. You’ll suspect it later, when one night all you want for dinner is pie, the next only sparkling water and toast....more
If you’ve never heard of Whit Taylor, then now is the perfect time to discover her. Ghost (2015) is her understated masterpiece, self-published just months ago. As I began reading the book, I thought I was in for a nice little story about a young woman who wanted to meet her idols—Charles Darwin, Joseph Campbell et. al. Interesting, but not dynamic. But then, Taylor genuinely surprised me with an unexpected plot twist that not only made me rethink the cleverness of the entire book, but took me to a place I rarely am able to go when reading comics. (more…)
The union effort prompted my discovery of an egregious pay discrepancy, which I brought up with male writers and editors to their either mild interest or argumentative dismissal. At one point I was advised by a male superior —a man I like and consider a friend, and who is both progressive and feminist — to not “dick-measure over salary” when I became aware of distinct difference in pay among writers with equivalent jobs.
It may not just be Gawker staff writers who find themselves mistreated. (more…)
Yes, I thought when I was sixteen. That sounds about right.
Over at the Toast, Mikaella Clements tells us the story of how she got her middle name: being escorted through the tumultuousness of adolescence by the crazed sailor Herman Melville and his book, Moby-Dick.
It’s increasingly a winner-take-all economy, publishing executives say.
As a result, publishers are competing for debut literary talent with the same kind of frenzied auction bidding once reserved for promising debut thrillers or romance novels. “If they feel they have the next Norman Mailer on their hands, they’re going have to pay for that shot,” literary agent Luke Janklow said. “It’s usually the result of a little bit of crowd hysteria in the submission.”
For Electric Literature, novelist Noy Holland explores what it means to label (and often dismiss) writing as “experimental.” Holland notes the subjectivity and mess inherent in language and form, and why writing that aims for clarity might sacrifice authenticity in the process:
Experimental fiction. How can we keep calling it this? Imagine somebody saying to you, Let’s experiment with being in love. Let’s experiment with building a bridge. The term is absurdly provisional. It is a flimsy sack into which a thousand unlike things have been thrown.
At The Awl, Annie Abrams gives the history of a 19th-century newspaper, Di Anglo-Sacsun, and its editors’ attempts to make literacy more available to the public, by developing their own phonetic alphabet that the newspaper was written in. Abrams also dives into the controversy surrounding the name of the paper:
Andrews and Boyle pointedly explained that they did not choose the title “in a partisan or national spirit, or with a view to render prominent the dysfunction between the different branches of the human brotherhood,” but instead “because it seems to us to contain a proper allusion to the language which it is our primary object to reform.”
[T]he long short story/novella is a fantastic medium for story, one that is uniquely suited to the online platform.
The New Yorker has begun a new online series, New Yorker Novella, to be comprised of novellas the magazine wasn’t “able to fit into print but couldn’t imagine letting go of.” Kicking things off is Callan Wink’s In Hindsight, and a supplementary interview with the author about the piece.
…a dispassionate search for truth isn’t just one kind of artists’ quest — it’s also a habit one must cultivate. One must be practiced in resisting not only false hopes but also clichés about the meaning of existence: Everything happens for a reason. They’re better off now. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Everything is going to be all right.
Tuesday 11/24: TEN made PUBLIC: An evening with Writ Large Press. Featuring readings by Wendy C. Ortiz, Khadija Anderson, Billy Burgos, Melora Walters, Chiwan Choi, Jessica Ceballos, Rachel McLeod, Kaminer, Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Mike Sonksen, and Jo Scott-Coe. Hosted by Peter Woods. 6 p.m. at Vroman’s Bookstore.
In the Saturday Essay, Anna March takes an unflinching look at the historical film Suffragette, which attempts to portray the women who took part in the suffrage movement during the early 1900s. While the film does draw attention to feminist successes, it glosses over the flaws of early activists, such as Susan B. Anthony, and the overall failure of the movement to address racism within and without its ranks. March declares:
Identifying as an intersectional feminist is one of the most powerful things that each individual can do to support the twin causes of racial and gender justice. Neither one should be left behind.
Then, Sally Errico applauds Elena Ferrante’s singular “rejection of domesticity” in a review of Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child. We learn quickly from reading the book (and others written by the author) that “motherhood is a dangerous business.” Her characters challenge traditional gender roles without apologizing or whitewashing their failures.
Meanwhile, in the Sunday Essay, addiction is the constant in a relationship Catherine Eves recalls from her college years. The deaths of Eves’s mother and her best friend provide a backdrop for a troubled love: “…it’s hard to admit that grief trumps grief,” she writes, “but it does.”
Matthew Wills writes for JSTOR Daily on the romcom interpretation of King Lear. Wills brings to attention the fact that for almost two centuries, a version of Shakespeare’s Lear by poet Nahum Tate, one with little tragedy and a happy ending, was almost the only version seen on stage until the mid-19th century.