What, in your opinion, makes a piece of fiction work?
An incentive! All kidding aside: fiction is the marriage of the synchronic and the diachronic—a common law marriage, an uneasy cohabitation—and the linguistic record of their divorce. To the extent that work enters into the equation, it is “work” in the strict sense of Newtonian physics, measured not in bank notes, not in units of realized catharsis, but in joules. The product of force and distance: this is the work of fiction, and fiction “works” so long as the force acts on a synchronic body such that there is a diachronic displacement of the point of application.
Phenomenal. I heard C.C. Lewis speak at Smith a few years ago on mining as a metaphor for violent male self-discovery in George MacDonald's "Princess and the Goblin", and how those themes percolate through C.S. Lewis and manifest in "The Silver Chair". C.C. had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand (literally--she shared her cheerios during the snack break halfway through the lecture), and is without a doubt one of the great literary minds of our time.
It's that time of the year again! Everyone you know is brimming with enthusiasm, committed to their New Year's resolutions. They've been going to the gym daily, eating a lot of quinoa, and putting in extra hours at work.
Then that all comes to a screeching halt because something devastating has happened: the Forbes' "30 Under 30" list.
Trust us, there is no quicker way to make an entire population of over–twenty-somethings feel insignificant than to present them with an encyclopedia of 22–year–olds who have already accomplished more than many will in their entire life.
Suddenly, that nerdy guy you went to high school with is a young finance celebrity (at least for the week) and you're still just … well … you. The only thing that can make you feel better? Realizing that many names on the list are actual celebrities. They totally have an advantage.
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