Whenever I finish a book and I get to the last day of writing the first draft and I only have two pages to go, I put on Purple Rain and Daydream Nation. That’s my ritual. Whenever I put those albums on back to back, I know I’m in the home stretch.
Posts Tagged: Hazlitt
Over at Hazlitt, Morgan Jerkins unpacks our collective literary fascination with white suburban boredom, connecting the historical dots between these dry developments and the redlining that created them, while also highlighting the fact that the at root of boredom is stability and prosperity:
According to Martha R.
Take a stroll through the storybook town of Great Missenden, a tiny village in the county of Buckinghamshire in Britain, and the home of children’s literature’s grand-wizard, Roald Dahl, in the latter half of his life. For Hazlitt, Michael Hingston tours Great Missenden and reflects on the similarities between the little town and the settings in Dahl’s books, which became increasingly rural and homey as he neared the end of his career and life....more
I feel like everything shouldn’t exist. I think the way I manage is that I try to think of everything as disposable. I have no interest in posterity.
Chris Randle interviews author and artist Hannah Black for Hazlitt in the wake of her newly published book, Dark Pool Party, and discusses the unknown realm between writing and art, the unimportance of being remembered, and whether straight men enjoy having sex....more
Over at Hazlitt, Tobias Carroll writes about the intersection of punk and magic in various fictional works, from The Insides by Jeremy P. Bushnell to the Hellblazer comics and Buffy the Vampire Slayer—a surprisingly varied history of what might, at first, seem like a pairing that just shouldn’t work, but does, deliciously....more
Not only are these characters destined to die in the cautionary tales and to endure marriages to self-congratulatory men in the redemptions tales, they don’t even have anyone to miss them when they succumb to these fates
At Hazlitt, Alana Massey writes about the baseless trope in films of the depraved and friendless female sex worker needing to be saved by a strong male client, and the poisonous quality it has in an age after movies like Magic Mike and My Own Private Idaho have told the stories of male sex workers in supportive and communal ways....more
Tim Falconer writes for Hazlitt on the psychological importance of failure:
When you do what you’re good at exclusively, avoiding what you are bad at, you live in an evaluative world, one that’s full of judgement…. The danger is this becomes an inauthentic world, one that you don’t engage in for its own sake and one that’s not a lot of fun.
when I worked for him I understood what kind of architect I wanted to be. He’s a very humane and generous person, and I understood that I didn’t want to do commercial architecture. I wanted to do projects that have a soul and a history, and even if they are new, they have an innovative edge and make people’s lives better.
With a flair for the both the juiciest and most humanizing parts of the story, Soraya Roberts over at Hazlitt pens a sweeping indictment of/love letter to John Hughes:
Thirty years on, however, we’ve dropped the rose-coloured glasses, and our response to realizing he sold us out to suburbia echoes Molly Ringwald’s response in Vanity Fair when he dropped her once she grew out of it.
Wherever the boundary between fiction and nonfiction, Geoff Dyer has long since crossed it. For Hazlitt, Kyle Chayka talked to the author of White Sands about the continuum of the critical and the narrative:
If people call it an essay collection, then I immediately want to say, hey, but there are stories as well!
It’s in the new black sign arching over the entrance that says, ‘Never stop dreaming.’ A harmless cliché, but once you know the history of the place, it reads like a memo to the bodies once buried below. Never stop dreaming.
For Hazlitt, Lauren Mitchell interviews Mona Awad about her book, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, and together they attest to the unhappiness and emotional energy that society demands of fat women, and the toll it takes on a body and a mind:
It is hard, it’s like, can we step outside of that culture, and you’re right, there’s a capitalist element to it, and can we step outside of that?
In her essay at Hazlitt, “Watch Me Bathe,” Jess Carroll shares that she barely bathes, and tells us that it’s for the better—in fact, it’s like reverse self-love and self-care, as we’ve come to think of those terms now. She rejects the idea that mental health is balanced on a teetering tower of meticulous hygiene routines, and that the only way to stay sane is to wash, rinse, and repeat as if unconcerned with anything else....more
One of the most well-known novels that has spawned its own cult following, Valley of the Dolls immortalized tales of women struggling with marriage, drug addiction, and class and sparked lively discussion across the country. Over at Hazlitt, Manisha Aggarwal-Schifelitte, Amber Katz, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and Kiva Reardon discuss its inspiring and relevant legacy even after fifty years....more
Over at Hazlitt, Alana Massey walks us through the anxiety that so often accompanies reading great thinkers, laying bare her own insecurities at the altar of famed writer and critic, Susan Sontag. When she finally does sit down to read the writer she had so carefully side-stepped, her worst fears are confirmed, and she is confronted—as so many of us will be—with the intense volume of all that she does not know:
But the devastation of learning that one’s work is unoriginal is not nearly as painful as watching the circumference of the gap in one’s knowledge expand outward from a single piece of missing literature to the limitless, insurmountable pile of works yet unread.
At Hazlitt, novelist Orhan Pamuk discusses the influence of food and food vendors on his latest work, the ritual of drinking boza, and the inspiration that the city of Istanbul provides:
I walk in the city all the time. It’s not because of research; it’s a lifestyle.
Over at Hazlitt, Sarah Gerard interviews Matthew Seger, who is currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison, and reveals what it’s like to keep up a writing discipline behind bars:
Before, if I wanted to write something down, I’d scribble it onto some notebook paper and then later transcribe it into a Word document and save it onto a hard drive.
We know some of the things we desire are probably not what we should do. That’s what makes drama interesting.
Anshuman Iddamsetty sat down with Margaret Atwood to talk about her new book, The Heart Goes Last, and the conversation includes but is not limited to: the for-profit prison industrial complex, thirsty men, peeling back layers to expose human excretions, sexual violence, the grand human story, empathy, and baking....more
Fables and fairy tales and folk tales can compel us on their own, but they’re also ripe for reinvention. Some authors may take the skeleton of a centuries-old story and use it as the basis for something new; others may borrow the language or structure in order to apply them to something else entirely.
Colin Dickey writes for Hazlitt about the practice of covering mirrors after a death:
There seems to be no universal reason behind the custom. Reginald Fleming Johnston, documenting this practice in China in 1910, claimed that the reason mirrors are covered is because “if the dead man happens to notice a reflection of himself in the glass he will be much horrified to find that he has become a ghost, and much disappointed with his own appearance as such.” Johnston also notes that for some, there is a belief that “every mirror has a mysterious faculty of invisibly retaining and storing up everything that is reflected on its surface, and that if anything so ill-omened as a corpse or a ghost were to pass before it, the mirror would thenceforth become a permanent radiator of bad luck.”
Her genre-defying fiction, from the mail-art chapbook The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula to incendiary novels like Blood and Guts in High Schooland Empire of the Senseless, were ways to think against every repression, to overturn the worlds—and words—of parents, gender, the academy, rationality, the traditional novel.
Over at Hazlitt, Sarah Galo and Elon Green have cornered a handful of authors, from Renata Adler to Celeste Ng, into admitting their literary gaps, from Finnegans Wake to To Kill a Mockingbird. Something we should keep in mind is that there is more work produced every day than a single person can get to in their lifetime; it’s harder now than it was for Milton—let that soothe you when you feel a pang for having never got to Don Quixote....more
Type is the same, instance after instance, and the font you choose today will look the same when you type in it again tomorrow. The same is not true for crafting prose or poetry by hand, each looping connection between letters mapping out the inherently linear, temporal nature of language: the fact that for it to “work,” you must always be in the tumbling forward of reading.
I’m like an alien in a human body. I come from a different place, a different plane of existence. I can’t explain that other place because I don’t know it in this lifetime, I don’t have memories of it, but I know it is a softer place.
In an interview with Tobias Carroll for Hazlitt magazine, Mat Johnson talks about writing, humor, and fantasy:
But writing in general sometimes is like a dream. You might recognize things from your life and there are pieces of yourself in there, but everything is twisted around and different.
(n.); the last thing, as a theological reference to the climax of history at Judgment Day; the day at the end of time following Armageddon when God will decree the fates of all human beings; from the ancient Greek eskhatos (“end”)
“My mind moves toward apocalypse fictions the way we think about a forgotten friend, or a partner that’s left us—grief becomes its own comfort.”
–Adnan Khan, “Finding a Home in the Apocalypse”
The past decade has seen a fantastic resurgence of the apocalypse—thankfully, only of the fictional variety....more
Perhaps I never was a brave person, but I know that I was bolstered by the fact that if something didn’t bother my mom, I didn’t need to be bothered by it either. Now, our anxieties have bubbled up at the same time, like she’s finally realized that she can’t protect me and it’s time for me to be worried for myself too.