Journalist and novelist Masha Hamilton sits down with Maud Newton to discuss the influences behind her latest book, What Changes Everything, the intricacies of writing about conflict, and how her work in war zones has helped shape her fiction....more
Posts Tagged: Maud Newton
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Maud is an essayist, critic, blogger, and fiction writer whose work has appeared, well, pretty much everywhere, from the New York Times Book Review to Granta to The Awl....more
Slow writers, you’re in good company. Maud Newton has a blog post up at Tin House about the blessing and the curse of taking your time with a book.
Here’s a small taste:
I love Alex for many reasons, and one of the most selfish of those is that he tends to work for a long time on his novels.
Twenty years before Slaughterhouse-Five, a broke Kurt Vonnegut came up with an idea for an atomic bow-tie. While he became known for his environmentalism later in life, in 1950, Vonnegut—like America at large—seemed ready to cash-in on the atomic....more
It’s not always oil that we spill into the ecosystem. Every now and then a pet cockatoo is let loose or escapes, joins a wild flock, and teaches the natives how to speak. The phenomenon accounts for “numerous” reports by Australians who think they are hearing voices....more
In this interview economic anthropologist David Graeber disputes the standard theory that the monetary system replaces the barter system, arguing that credit and debt come before money.
Graeber sheds light on the complex relationship between debt and morality, transitions from commodity to virtual money, and the relative importance of money versus debt, before dipping into the current financial crisis....more
Maud Newton’s NY Times essay, “Another Thing to Sort of Pin on David Foster Wallace,” discusses yet another DFW-inspired trend–that is his “slangy approachability.”
He defined a writing style that has permeated through the blogosphere. His ability to combine legal diction with colloquialisms and “slacker lingo,” all to express one highly philosophical argument was indeed a DFW idiosyncrasy—one being reproduced by “a legion of opinion-mongers who not only lack his quick mind but seem not to have mastered the idea that to make an argument, you must, amid all the tap-dancing and hedging, actually lodge an argument.” Newton writes on the evolution of this trend and what has become of irony....more
Lean Logic: A Dictionary For the Future and How To Survive It describes itself as “a community of essays about inventive, cooperative self-reliance in the face of great uncertainty.”
Building upon that characterization, this review presents Lean Logic as a hybrid of sorts—part encyclopedia, book, secular bible and survival guide—while defining its greatest strength as “the lightness with which it draws on knowledge from earlier periods of history, and from other cultures.”
The not-so-lean 736 page project was completed despite the death last year of its author, English ecologist, David Fleming, the inventor and advocate for the energy rationing scheme, Tradeable Energy Quotas....more
Does anyone else think the question mark is the most beautiful of all punctuation marks?
Well, the very first question mark may have looked more like a colon. Discovered in Syriac manuscripts of the Bible from the fifth century, the double dot symbol is placed above a word near the beginning of a sentence to indicate to the reader that it is a question....more
This is the kind of isolation that can make the public realm difficult and overwhelming—a state Maud Newton describes as “going feral.” She picked up some appropriate reading that provides further evidence of this writerly antisocial state, that is “The Writer as Illusionist” by William Maxwell, which revolves around the idea that the writer is like an illusionist who “must be taken in by his own tricks.” Definitely an accurate summation of the mid-whirlwind writer’s experience....more
Remember your first muse?
“My first muse was a chubby, bespectacled, brown-eyed, sharply intelligent 13-year-old boy in Phoenix, Arizona in 1975. When he laughed at and loved my writing, I felt the erotic surge of my own power. Since then, I’ve written for and about and to and because of men.”
That is Kate Christensen in conversation with Maud Newton yesterday at The Awl....more
Welcome to 2011! What do we call this decade, anyway? Who will win the Super Bowl? What will become of health care reform? How many New York City snowplows does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Some questions are impossible to answer....more
“Some writers shame and immobilize me with their brilliance, while others, like Twain, de Vries and Spark dwarf my own efforts but inspire me to keep on.
It’s hard to pinpoint what separates the two groups; if pressed I’d say it’s an affinity of perspective — a morbid fixation on the absurdities of human existence — combined with precision, bluntness, and humor.”...more
Maud Newton’s enthusiasm is always infectious — and a few days ago she celebrated in glowing terms the most recent issue of The Paris Review, the first with its new editor, Lorin Stein....more
This week in New York The Future of Criticism with Lorin Stein and Maud Newton, John D’Agata and Thalia Field discuss the lyric essay, Alice Walker on activism, Salman Rushdie and Lee Bollinger discuss free speech in a globalized world, Mikael Kennedy shows his Polaroids at the Chelsea Hotel and Congress for Curious People symposium is held at Coney Island....more
Over at The Awl, Maud Newton asks how scared we should be of groups like the Hutaree militia, which was recently broken up by the FBI for planning attacks on law enforcement.
On the one hand, she says, “When the Tea Party kicks you out of its massive tent, and neighboring militias dismiss you as a cult, you might just be out there on the fringiest fringe in Fringeville.”
On the other hand, she provides a terrifying catalog of militia-tastic things that are so close to the heart of our government that it almost makes me want to start a conspiracy theory about the conspiracy theorists....more
“New online lockboxes allow you to specify beforehand who’ll get your passwords, which private Flickr photos should be purged, and what final status should be posted at Facebook, but these services are no substitute for a will. And writers and other artists should be especially careful about relying on them.”...more
Blog is a fun word to say, even if I’m tired of hearing other people say it.
Michaelangelo’s poem “When the Author Was Painting the Vault of the Sistene Chapel.” (via)
“Hey Oscar Wilde! It’s Clobbering Time!” Jacket Copy has fun with illustrators’ pictures of their favorite literary figures and characters....more
I don’t know about you but this is the year I finish that @#$#@%! novel.
I got two hundred pages of rough stuff. Real rough stuff.
The first novel. The one I’m allowed to be cavalier about, right?
The one people will say, provided it ever gets published: oh that was just his first novel....more
I was out last week on vacation, but I’m back. And there’s a lot to catch up on. Here goes …...more
“God excoriated Eve more roundly and punished her more severely than He did Adam not because she was more wicked, but because she represented an actual threat. Seeking knowledge, she chose to eat the fruit, whereas Adam ate passively and only because she handed the fruit to him and had tried it first....more
In 1996, Phillip Connors’ brother unexpectedly committed suicide. Now, over a decade later, Connors is getting closure through the completion of a 22,000 word account of his family’s experiences called “So Little to Remember”.
The piece, which tackles more than his family’s reactions to the suicide, began as a “thought experiment” put together by Connors to identify patterns in his brother’s life leading up to his unexpected death. “So Little to Remember” also reminds us of the important differences between life and writing about life, as the author explains in his note to Maud Newton. Ultimately, Connors feels his piece is independent from the events it is based on; a method of “letting go by making stories.”...more
“Yet some scientists are suggesting that depression — peculiarly prevalent for a mental disorder — is not a malfunction at all, but an evolutionary adaptation, a state of mind which can have debilitating effects, but also promotes highly analytical thinking.”
Over at Maud Newton, a lively and multifaceted conversation about the potential benefits of depression....more