Aliza Licht, former SVP of Communications for Donna Karan International, talks about her debut career guide, what she wishes she knew when she was starting out, and how to build an audience on Twitter. ...more
In Episode 34 of The Rumpus’s Make/Work podcast, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks to Joy Castro about her unorthodox writing process, the course of her career, and the distinctions between literary and commercial fiction. ...more
At the Atlantic, Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House, discusses her struggle with writing about Detroit without having lived there, and how Zora Neale Hurston’s work helped her give herself permission to write outside her own experiences:
It’s not about having a background that lines up with the characters you’re writing about, I realized. That’s not the responsibility of the fiction writer. Instead, you have the responsibility to be sympathetic—to have empathy. And the responsibility to be knowing—to understand, or at least desire to understand, the people you write about.
The Captain Underpants series has topped banned book lists around the world. Dav Pilkey, the author of the popular children’s books, explains what it feels like to have written a famous banned book:
People often ask me how I’d want to respond to those critics who would rather see my books pulled from shelves than handed to young readers. I do have an answer, and it boils down to the fact that not every book is right for every person. Some grown-ups are not amused by the kinds of things that make most children laugh, and so they try to stomp those things out.
I want to get to why this grumbly, axe-grinding, British review of Vendler relates to two trends I see now in American poetry—the confusion over the critic’s role and the rise of literary teams—but first, the question that’s probably foremost on your mind: does Daniel Swift have a case?
Many of the best books in classic literature innovated some aspect of storytelling, but few can claim to have ventured into tinkering deeply with language itself. Over at Lit Hub, Stephen Sparks writes on some of the best books that have created their own languages. To “inhabit languages unique [to the book],” Sparks argues, is to attempt to capture “the singular nature of consciousness”
Do go for the etymological dictionary for epithets that feel historical: like, membrum virile, arbor vitae (from the late 18th century, for a type of evergreen shrub), wrinkly (early 15th century) or bole (early 14th century, from Old Norse bolr meaning tree trunk).
Morrissey has spoken out against Australia’s plan to cull two million feral cats by 2020, calling the animals “two million smaller versions of Cecil the lion,” reports the Guardian.
According to Australia’s environment minister, feral cats are responsible for killing an extraordinary number of native species each day, contributing significantly to Australia having the worst mammal extinction rate in the world. His office has called the estimated twenty million feral cats living in Australia a “tsunami of violence and death,” and, as a solution, has blended a special poison for the two million cats it plans to exterminate. (more…)
Fear of terrorism has frightened the British Library into rejecting a cache of digital archives and other documents relating to the Taliban, reports the Guardian. The archive includes more than 2 million translated words, but accepting the documents might violate Britain’s anti-terror laws. The archive included newspapers, magazines, books of Sharia law, and poetry.
Australian musician Kevin Parker’s band, Tame Impala, is known for blending musical influences like psychedelia and lo-fi, but Parker’s proficiency as a songwriter only adds to his resume. On “The Less I Know The Better,” off the album Currents, a catchy bass line propels Parker’s voice as he sings about his longing for another man’s partner:
She said it’s not now or never Waiting years we’ll be together I said better late than never Just don’t make me wait forever
Thursday 9/3: Join the Red Umbrella Project for a sex workers writing workshop, which will help local writers generation stories for the next issue of Working It zine and Prose & Lore journal. Pivot, 5 p.m., free.
Saturday 9/5: Burnt Tongue, a quarterly literary event created to honor the author and writing teacher Tom Spanbauer, welcomes Domi J. Shoemaker, Melanie Aldritt, Steve Tune, Christi Krug, Josh Lubin, Krista Dabakis, Megan Kruse, Sean Davis, Kevin Meyer, Liz Prato, Doug Chase, and Tom Spanbauer, to read for this month’s event. The reading will be emceed by Lisa Loewenthal. Crush Bar, 4:30 p.m., $5.
So, language is quicksand—except it’s not. Unlike the parlor tricks of the deconstructionists who bloviate about différance and traces, there clearly are rules that shouldn’t be broken and clearly ways of speaking that are blatantly incorrect, even if they change over time and admit to flexible interpretations even on a daily basis. It’s just that explicitly delineating those boundaries is extremely difficult, because language is not built up through organized, hierarchical rules but from the top down through byzantine, overlapping practices. Some things can be pinned down with practical certainty, just notin isolation and without context.
On their website, Hanson Robotics highlights their desire to “realize the dream of friendly machines who truly live and love, and co-invent the future of life.” Philip K. Dick’s robot, when questioned in a 2011 interview with PBS, engages in thoughtful conversation with his interviewer, and eventually provides a calm yet chilling answer to a question many of us have on our minds: Will robots take over the world, Terminator-style?
Picking up a book before heading to bed may stave off insomnia. Van Winkle’s reports that researchers have shown just six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%, clearing the mind in preparation for sleep.