Many readers, and perhaps some publishers, seem to view endnotes, indexes, and the like as gratuitous dressing—the literary equivalent of purple kale leaves at the edges of the crudités platter. You put them there to round out and dignify the main text, but they’re too raw to digest, and often stiff.
Posts Tagged: essays
Writers Rivka Galchen and Zoë Heller, over at The New York Times, discuss the question that will never go away: can writing be taught? They raise valid points about whether teaching writing is fundamentally different from teaching something like science and the rigid way American high schools teach essay writing....more
Memoirist (and former editor-at-large of McSweeney’s) Sean Wilsey talks to The Atlantic about his essay collection, More Curious, and why humor writing resonates:
I think there’s something dishonest about writing that isn’t funny. I can’t engage with a piece of work without an element of humor to it.
When I became a father myself, I swore my son would never feel my absence like that—not if I could help it. I’d talk to him. I’d listen, ask questions. I’d teach him things, too, and share in the joys of his discoveries. It didn’t occur to me that what he might need would be something entirely different....more
My connection to my Puerto Rican heritage seemed as tenuous as my connection to my white skin. I didn’t feel white, didn’t believe I had the privileges that came with whiteness....more
What’s the difference between an essay and a novel? Teju Cole considered that question in his 2012 essay, “The White Savior Industrial Complex,” writing that essays have points, while novels do not.
While Cole continues to stand by this essay, he admits that there are exceptions to this rule....more
Gila Lyons has a strikingly vulnerable essay at The Millions about her decision to start taking anti-anxiety medication. Typically, artists who suffer from mental health issues opt to ride against the current and let their creativity take precedent. Yet, Lyons took the road less traveled and chose mental stability over waxing genius....more
Ideally, online longform nonfiction combines the strengths of the print world with those of the Internet, granting writers the rigorous editing and reporting resources they’d get at a magazine but freeing them from the constraints of word limits and limited audiences....more
Today’s vocationally minded students view World Lit 101 as forced labor, an utterwasteof their time that deserves neither engagement nor effort. So you know what else is a waste of time? Grading these students’ effing papers.
In a prickly and provocative essay for Slate, Rebecca Schuman argues that universities should stop forcing students in required classes to writer papers and instead give them “old-school, hardcore exams, written and oral....more
The topic of essayism—one especially relevant to the Rumpus—is granted the meticulous attention it deserves in this opinion piece Christy Wampole wrote for the New York Times.
Wampole artfully weaves the essay’s deep history through a narrative about the development of a “meditative deficiency” in modren essay-writing....more
Ever since Michel de Montaigne, the founder of the modern essay, gave as a motto his befuddled “What do I know?” and put forth a vision of humanity as mentally wavering and inconstant, the essay has become a meadow inviting contradiction, paradox, irresolution, and self-doubt.
In the current issue of BookForum, Christian Lorentzen, an editor at the London Review of Books, writes about “the perils of money fiction” in the twenty-first century.
“There are a few ways out of these traps—ersatz journalistic gap filling, hapless gesturing at the system’s perversity, and ogling fortune with envy and scorn—of writing about bankers....more
BY BRIAN SCHWARTZ
In the Hebrew language, I am sure, there are several different ways to say “enemy.” I have little grasp of what these words might be. I imagine that there are milder entries...more