It’s no surprise from how the Bronte sisters wrote about school in their novels that their school reports would be less than exemplary. Still, to read Charlotte Bronte’s school report that describes her as an indifferent writer who knows little of grammar is pretty hilarious....more
Posts Tagged: salon
Most people think clichés aren’t worth a hill of beans, but over at Salon, Orin Hargraves says they just haven’t gotten a fair shake. Hargraves thinks clichés are just a red herring; if you want to make sure your writing really is one-of-a-kind, he has this advice:
The best way to free your speech and writing of unneeded and detrimental clichés is to construct it thoughtfully, paying close attention to the common tendency to insert a ready form of words in a place where it easily fits.
Social media is a cruel machine, propelled by our desire to keep up appearances and affirmed by a strange, voyeuristic capital of likes and favorites. While Facebook can at times feel like a digital cocktail party devoid of any significant personal connection, Julia Fierro, author of Cutting Teeth, makes a case for its value to those who struggle with anxiety and loneliness:
It is socializing on my own terms.
I can confirm, based on my own reading list this spring, that there is no shortage of fiction set in Brooklyn. In fact, you could almost say that the Lethems and, more recently, the Lins have been supplanted: It’s been a dazzling couple of years for the women of Brooklyn.
My time at the Agency and reading Salinger brought me back to that state when you’re a kid or an adolescent – or just a person! – who reads for pleasure. I was able to go back to the pre-academic me who fully understood the actual pure power of literature to change a person’s life, to guide a person through life, or to allow a person to live fully.
Surprisingly, YouTube is only now getting its foot in the door with the music streaming game. Their grand entrance, according to this article at Salon, involves terms with which a large number of independent artists disagree—Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, and Animal Collective, just to name a few....more
And the winner of Best Opening Line Ever goes to: “I was a gay man playing ‘Warcraft’ as a beautiful woman, and he was a Mormon virgin. Our romance was a time bomb.”
Over at Salon, Elliot Glen tells the story of his pixel-mediated relationship with a callow, straight, Mormon virgin:
I first met SaltySaber in a dark and dangerous swamp, where he answered my desperate cry for help and rescued me from a gaggle of ruthless ghosts .
With its clean, careful shots and enigmatic plot resolutions, Mad Men tends to inhabit a liminal narrative space, as if the same rules of decorum that govern its romanticized 60s society extend their authority to the show’s refined formal characteristics. This aversion to definitive conclusion is no accident: writing for Salon, Rebecca Makkai examines how the series recalls John Cheever’s iconic short fiction, which creator Matthew Weiner has listed as an influence:
I imagined all his stories to involve a businessman who got off the evening train drunk, stood in his yard peering in through the windows of his own house, and had some sort of sad revelation…[but instead,] in each story, a small world of alienation and humor and despair, a meditation on family or work, the city or the suburbs, travel or stasis, success or failure.
Geoff Dyer has a new book out, Another Great Day at the Sea, written during a two-week writing residency on the USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf....more
Jill Abramson, the first woman to head the New York Times as executive editor, was abruptly fired Wednesday and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.
The New Yorker attempted to explain why, with the leading theory being Abramson’s discovery several weeks ago that she earned less than her male predecessor....more
Gather round, ye James Joyce devotees: Mark O’Connell has an essay (replete with some pretty nifty info-graphics) up at Salon on the Dublin of the past and present:
Everyone in Dubliners is thinking about a way out, if not actively pursuing one; everyone is dreaming of some better version of himself in some better place. The stories are filled with vague conjurings of such better places—the Wild West in “An Encounter”; the hazily evoked Orient in “Araby”; Buenos Aires in “Eveline”; London and Paris in “A Little Cloud”—but what seem like possibilities of escape always turn out to be passages to deeper entrapment.
Literary history has two sides, I think. One is the normative side: deciding what is good and what is less good. The other is the explanatory side. It’s two very different modalities of thought, and I’ve always been inclined toward the explanatory.
Reading is a private activity, even as it allows us to commune with the mind and imagination of an author we will probably never meet. Yet because reading a great book can be so overwhelmingly gratifying and transformative, many of us yearn to share the experience with the people we care about.
At one time, irony served to reveal hypocrisies, but now it simply acknowledges one’s cultural compliance and familiarity with pop trends. The art of irony has lost its vision and its edge. The rebellious posture of the past has been annexed by the very commercialism it sought to defy.
Think Wilde, Wodehouse, Carroll, Cervantes—comedy has a thousand-year-old affair with literature. That said, what makes people laugh is as elusive and surprising as it is fascinating. Have you heard of the 1962 Tanganyika laughter epidemic?
We’re here in East Africa on the trail of the so-called 1962 Tanganyika laughter epidemic.
Marina Keegan died in a car accident just five days after she graduated from Yale University. But her writing lives on, and lends an empathetic voice to the often tedious discussions of millennials. From her posthumous essay, “Song for the special,” in Salon:
Every generation thinks it’s special — my grandparents because they remember World War II, my parents because of discos and the moon.
The Muppets taught us to think for ourselves, innovate, follow our dreams and make the world a better place.
Head over to Salon to learn how the Muppets helped shape a generation of artists and businesspeople, and taught 50 million Americans growing up in the 70s and 80s the value of creativity....more
Reading, writing and thinking are all tasks that are nearly impossible to cultivate while performing manual labor. As Plato first noted, when discussing education, “sleep and exercise are unpropitious to learning,” and therefore students should avoid intense exercise as they pursue educational endeavors.
Lately, the news about Woody Allen has been flooding social media outlets. It’s “as if we are playing a national game of Clue,” our very own essays editor, Roxane Gay, writes in a piece featured on Salon. As people pore over court transcripts, interviews, and rumors to draw their own conclusions about the incident, Roxane suggests that we take a step back to consider questions that are broader in scale....more
D. Watkins is an adjunct professor. He doesn’t make much money, but most of his family and friends are even worse off, struggling with wrongful convictions, the impossibly high cost of health care, and the loss of loved ones to drugs and guns....more
In an essay featured on Salon, Debra Sparks recounts the events surrounding her 13 year old son’s first rendez-vous with a girl he met while playing a computer game called “Minecraft.” Sparks’s essay raises questions regarding the possibility of forging virtual friendships, and how these relationships compare to those that take root in “real life.”
Sparks writes, “Aidan’s parameters when it comes to the real world and the cyberworld are not my own, and even if I want to change that, I can’t.”
There is some comfort to be found in the final line of Sparks’s piece....more
At Salon, Dani Shapiro writes an open response to a reader who felt that Shapiro’s memoir Slow Motion wasn’t fully honest because it didn’t include all the details of her life.
In it, she explains what memoir is and isn’t, and what honesty means for the form:
When I write fiction, I make things up.
All hailed the e-book for its innovations in technology. Embedded links, comments, and multi-media elements were what is supposed to kill the physical book. This recent essay at Salon contends that now that e-books are essentially being stripped down to resemble physical books, the real book is now considered a luxury item....more