We burn old love letters and photographs to be reborn. The action of burning is often a process. Find a match or a lighter. Put the papers in a container or can or shove them in a fireplace. There are so many moments along the way when we can have second thoughts, when we can decide to put memories in a drawer rather than reduce them to ash, but it is so tempting and comforting to watch the flames swallow our pain.
Posts Tagged: Nick Ripatrazone
Over at The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone asked some authors, including William Giraldi and Christa Parravani, which were the books that defined their childhoods and, subsequently, their writing imaginations....more
Nick Ripatrazone on why writers need to run:
While on sabbatical in London in 1972, a homesick Oates began running “compulsively; not as a respite for the intensity of writing but as a function of writing.” At the same time, she began keeping a journal that ultimately exceeded 4,000 single-spaced, typewritten pages.
(n.); simultaneous movement of eyes toward or away from one another; c. 1902 in ophthalmology
“Some days I can move the mower slowly, along lazy paths. … On other days, when rain beckons and the grass looks nearly knee-high, I need to scorch green earth.
“No matter whether it is called an introduction, foreword, or preface, the best front piece written by the book’s own author encourages a reader to turn the page and start, but respects her need to experience the work on her own.”
We often look to metaphor for guidance in our constant search for the how and why of writing. In an essay at The Millions comparing writing to running, Nick Ripatrazone explains that training is not just an analogy for his creative process but an essential part of it:
Training sharpens ideas by cutting away the chaff that tends to accumulate during that long time on the trail, where the mind can wander; training blurs those ideas to the surreal places where art is made.
At The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone reviews BOMB Magazine’s “The Author Interviews,” “a collection of 35 interviews spanning 30 years.” He meditates on the competing definitions and modes, concluding he is “drawn” to interviews not “for their performative components” but for how they act “as literary duets.”...more
At my desk next morning I held my pen and hunched my shoulders and leaned my head down, physically trying to look more deeply into the page of the notebook. I did this for only a moment before writing, as a batter takes practice swings while he waits in the on-deck circle.
On Tuesday, Aqueous Books released From Here, Jen Michalski’s second short story collection and fourth book. The founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww and a long-time Baltimore resident, Michalski’s fiction has found homes in more than 80 publications.
Looking at the early reviews and the stories from the new collection that have appeared online, one gets a sense of Michalski’s territory: neighborhoods with worn and tattered fences, where yards and lives overlap and spill onto one another, where rules are broken and categories are hard to define....more
Combining The Exorcist, New Jersey, and James Baldwin, among other things, Nick Ripatrazone reviews William Giraldi’s new novel, Hold the Dark, at The Millions. He contemplates Giraldi’s place in contemporary Catholic literature, using his fiction, alongside Cormac McCarthy’s and Christopher Beha’s, to draw larger claims on religion, the manifestations of Satan, and realism....more
Should a writer submit to a literary magazine that only “pays” in contributor copies? What does it mean that we, in the literary community, have accepted lack of monetary payment as commonplace?
A lot of poems are sad, but over at The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone thinks he’s found the saddest: “Spring and Fall” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Ripatrazone explores Hopkins’s poem, and while doing so, gives his thoughts on what good poetry can do:
I think the best poetry is a form of interrogation of self.
If sentimentality is a sin, it is only because feeling can be so beautiful. One moment of sentiment in literature is worth a thousand failures. We often cannot see the rafters in the dark, but what a shame it would be to never reach for them.
Poetry and music share a word of process — composition — and are linked by negotiations of melody, harmony, rhythm, proportion, and discord.
While some poets require silence to compose, many others find that listening to music and writing go hand-in-hand....more
Over at The Millions, Rumpus contributor Nick Ripatrazone looks at the many and varied paths that bring writers to the profession and considers the benefits of time spent studying subjects other than creative writing:
Although I have drifted toward the science of syntax, I think about the positives of studying content that is not literary.
“Does anybody outside of our circle care?” asks The Millions’ Nick Ripatrazone in a post about literary magazines. “What is the wider cultural influence of literary magazines?”
To try to figure it out, he looks at pop-culture depictions of lit-mags, from a George Plimpton cameo on The Simpsons to a whole episode of Cheers about submitting—and then receiving rejection letters for—poetry....more