Growing up, I understood my father through observation, and I suspect that he understood me much the same way. I liked to think our love was purer that way. Like two stray dogs who found each other and are blessed enough to just get along....more
While it sounds pretty weird, this was standard practice back in the day. According to Patrick Miller in his article “Music and the Silent Film,” Hollywood director D.W. Griffith enlisted a brass band to encourage extras during the battle sequences of his 1916 three-and-a-half-hour epic, Intolerance. Fellow director King Vidor often relied on opera recordings to get his actors in the right headspace.
People always think the devil works loud — Fire! Brimstone! Lightning and thunder on arrival! Here I am — start shaking, Mortal. But the truth is most of that noise is just for show. The real bad stuff arrives in silence.
I’ve often wondered if my turn to poetry in times of loneliness and uncertainty is a behavior that’s naturally implicit within the genre or if it upholds some cliché notion of what poetry is and should be.
Is poetry a cause of loneliness or a balm against loneliness? Emilia Phillips explores the effect and personal meaning of poetry in her life on the Ploughshares blog.
Harley Flanagan, infamous bassist of the Cro-Mags, has written a memoir set to be released on September 27 via Feral House. Hard-Core: Life of My Own chronicles Flanagan’s life as a punk drummer from pre-pubescence through his seminal contribution to NYC’s 1980s hardcore scene. Of punk and hardcore then and now, Flanagan told VICE:
I never felt in awe of anyone. That was not what punk was about. I was in awe of some performances I saw—The Clash at the Palladium, Bad Brains, so many other great bands—but I was a punk. Punk was by the people, for the people. The bands and the fans were the same people, that’s what made punk different. But no, I didn’t think it would go “mainstream.” Do I care? No, ’cause it’s over for me. I still listen to the music, but scenes and genres are for kids. I’m not a kid anymore. I still play what I play, and I still listen to what I listen to. I’m friends with who I’m friends with, but I’m not a part of any “scene.” I don’t need to be. Hardcore and punk will always be a part of me just based on my contributions to it.
One day I went to work on my novel and, to my surprise, a part of it had been rewritten. My boyfriend, seeing my unease, told me that he had done it, that he thought I needed to be funnier. “But it’s mine,” I told him. “My work.” He looked at me, hurt. “Aren’t we the same person?” he said. “Isn’t what I want what you want?” I couldn’t answer because I no longer knew who I was.
When it feels as though the whole world is out to get you, sometimes you have to sit back and let the absurdity wash over. In this satirical story by Tanner McSwain over at In Shades magazine, a bank teller does her job and has everyone come to hate her. As things escalate, she looks for the escape it seems none of us can find in this age of overwhelming onslaught.
Hiking for me is meditation if I approach it mindfully.
When (my brother) Jim Breithaupt hiked the Huachuca Passage in the Arizona desert with family, he encountered some mishaps along the way. Nothing major—just getting lost and running into smugglers. Read more at Cargo Literary.
As I processed a dominant Euro-American writing pedagogy from the perspective of an aspiring fiction writer and an immigrant critic of color, I couldn’t stop wondering: are we, in 21st-century America, overvaluing a sight-based approach to storytelling? And could this be another case of cultural particularity masquerading itself as universal taste?
Now our gestures grow both more hurried and more delicate, we stand on one foot to remove a boot, take off our hats and jackets, as if for sex or prayer, exposing ourselves to each other and the officers, the officers our lovers and our prophets both.
VHS Starfield is a series of comics describing a fictional sci-fi film franchise from the 70s and 80s, exploring the ways such films affect and reflect deeper themes of culture, childhood, yearning, apocalypse, the future, and humanity’s place in the universe… Stuff like that.
This novel was an attempt for me to say: We cannot look away when something like this is happening. We can’t look away. We don’t get to. Because Ness doesn’t get to. She talks about those scars being actual physical representations of her past. The ghosts of her past made seeable. And if she has to live with it, then we have to look at it.
Roxane Gay is from the Midwest, but as a woman of color she feels like an outsider in the rural places she often inhabits. In an essay for Brevity, “Black in Middle America,” Gay examines reactions to her face in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a place so remote “my blackness was more curiosity than threat”, and in Illinois’s cornfields—somewhere blackness is more familiar but no more understood.
If the very rich were to admit that the society in which they live such lush lives is not only immoral but unnatural, it might demand, say, a massive redistribution of their wealth!
Over at Lit Hub, Colette Shade writes about Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth as an indictment of income inequality in Gilded Age America—distressingly relevant to our own age, despite the book sitting at 116 years old.
In an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert promoting his new book, Born to Run, the Boss listed his favorite songs by the Boss. Also, he explained why he puts the E Street Band through four-hour long marathon shows, and the chafing that comes with them, saying: “I’m here to take you out of time… I’m here to alter time and space and play with it myself and help you move in and out of things on any given evening.” Watch the Boss open up to Stephen Colbert after the jump. (more…)
Kaitlyn Greenidge, author most recently of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin Books) provides her take on Lionel Shriver’s recent remarks at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival for the New York Times. Greenidge recalls writing her first novel in which there was an eighty-year-old Yankee heiress. “I was struck by an awful realization. I would have to love this monster into existence,” she writes. There comes along a responsibility when writing characters outside one’s own background. Characters need “a reason to exist besides morbid curiosity or a petulant delight.”