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"Neil Young is coming by tomorrow for dinner. Time to send out Manolo with a shopping list, as I will be doing the cooking."

Nick Nolte's (baffling) blog.
Then I saw a middle-aged woman wearing a black t-shirt that had the word "Ferrari" printed on it. Maybe it was Ron's influence, but I found the woman mesmerizing and depressing but otherwise encouraging about the direction of human events. What a strange shirt, diary. Worn without irony or malice. Anyway, Manolo won't go clean out the bird cage, so later days. Nolte's blog is not as cute as Melanie Griffith's, though. (via laobserved)
posted by matteo on Oct 15, 2004 - 31 comments

 

Congratulations to Austria

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004: Elfriede Jelinek, probably best known for the story behind Michael Haneke's La Pianiste.
posted by mr.marx on Oct 7, 2004 - 22 comments

Gleemail

Grind. Endless drudgery. Too much in your in-tray, not enough in your out-tray. You put your headphones on, but it doesn't really help. You want a distraction - just for a moment or two. "A happy employee is a productive employee" you justify to yourself, although you're not convinced. Then it happens. A 24 carat nugget of plain text escapism lands in your in-box. You're an alt-tab, double-click away from sheer bliss. DNRC; A.Word.A.Day; FlipFlopFlyin Newsletter; The Plain Text Gazette; and the previously mentioned Snowmail and Newsnight Newsletters, which take a less formal but equally sharp look at the day's news, with anecdotes and observations thrown in. What other quality plain text mail lists are around?
posted by nthdegx on Sep 29, 2004 - 6 comments

If All Stories Were Written Like Science Fiction Stories

If All Stories Were Written Like Science Fiction Stories. "Roger and Ann needed to meet Sergey in San Francisco. 'Should we take a train, or a steamship, or a plane?' asked Ann. 'Trains are too slow, and the trip by steamship around South America would take months,' replied Roger. 'We’ll take a plane.'"
posted by Johnny Assay on Sep 26, 2004 - 47 comments

Critique Magazine's On Writing III

Critique Magazine's On Writing III - Each year, Critique Magazine's staff compiles essays by and interviews with writers, teachers, and translators of merit for inclusion in the special anniversary edition "On Writing".

Basically, a shitload of authors provide thoughts on, ahem, writing. {Both sites are worth a look, imo.}
posted by dobbs on Sep 15, 2004 - 18 comments

I uppercased K.D. Lang’s name in a story... and it felt good.

Testy Copy Editors is a site run by WaPo Financial Copy Editor Philip Blanchard, with guest columns and discussions dedicated to blowing off steam for people in the occasionally tense business of making words fit, parse properly and make sense in print.

If you've actually edited copy under a deadline, or know someone who has, you know how thankless the job can sometimes be.
posted by chicobangs on Sep 10, 2004 - 16 comments

Gulp, type, gulp, type

Two Writers Drinking, Sitting Around, Talking About Stuff. That about says it! Two online veterans get drunk and exchange e-mails. (An ongoing series. The above link is part one. Part two is here, and part three can be found right here). (Via Maud)
posted by braun_richard on Aug 22, 2004 - 4 comments

eh?

Words: Woe & Wonder The CBC explains and debates usage from a Canadian-journalism standpoint - for example, why the Iraqi ex-leader is referred to by his first name and whether to capitalize this place.
posted by casarkos on Jul 15, 2004 - 8 comments

Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary

Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary
The history of a man who single-handedly invented a new and unique writing system which made the literacy rate of his nation shoot from 0% to 90% in just a few years.

Original source
posted by magullo on Jul 15, 2004 - 4 comments

Collaborative Novel Writing

The Great Mahakali Write-A-Thon.
posted by Gyan on May 9, 2004 - 2 comments

Ye Olde Writings

AncientScripts.com : discover introductions to more than 70 ancient and modern writing systems, from LinearB to hPhags-pa to Cherokee. View languages by type, family, or region. Many links to further reading on each subject, plus other goodies.
posted by falconred on May 7, 2004 - 3 comments

algorhythms of the meaningless.

The Collected Works of Racter: "A tree or shrub can grow and bloom. I am always the same. But I am clever."
Or, perhaps more useful than poetry, "A Method for Sorting Cows."
Have I read this before, or merely something like it? "A piece that is essentially the same as a piece made by any of the first conceptual artists, dated two years earlier than the original and signed by somebody else. "
In our confusion, we can settle for simple non-sequitor: The Ubuweb Anthology of Conceptual Writing.
posted by kaibutsu on May 5, 2004 - 7 comments

"With his blue ox, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman traveled across young America . . .

"With his blue ox, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman traveled across young America . . . and helped the nation grow into the angry powerhouse it is today." End of the year (2000), pressure from Mr. Farlow to take the class seriously and pick a real poet, Honors Student has 15 cups of coffee and cranks out a masterpiece . . . Not Walt Whitman. Anyone have any information on teacher, student, or their subsequent careers? (via Blogdex)
posted by palancik on Apr 25, 2004 - 34 comments

Blimp Story

The Horror of Blimps. This is just a short ROTFL funny story about a toy blimp gone bad. Brightened my day, anyway. (Thanks, Ken.)
posted by tbc on Apr 21, 2004 - 16 comments

What Makes A Writer A Writer?

So You Think You Might Be A Writer? Just because you write? An astute essay by Joseph Epstein poses the uncomfortable question: are you weird enough? There's something very unnatural and unhealthy about writing (as opposed to reading, for instance) - but what is it? [Via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 19, 2004 - 51 comments

Lyttle Lytton 2004

The 2004 Lyttle Lytton winners were announced. The premise is simple: write a terrible opening line (of 25 words or less) of a hypothetical novel. In case you're wondering the winners in 2003 and 2002 were discussed previously. [via kathrynyu]
posted by mathowie on Apr 19, 2004 - 9 comments

Hunting snark

Snark. In the newest issue of Bookforum, critic Sven Birkerts ruminates on what he considers to be the regrettable rise of the snarky book review, taking as his starting example Dale Peck's hatchet job on Rick Moody, written in 2002. "Psychologically [the literary] landscape [is one that is] subtly demoralized by the slash-and-burn of bottom-line economics; the modernist/humanist assumption of art and social criticism marching forward, leading the way, has not recovered from the wholesale flight of academia into theory; the publishing world remains tyrannized in acquisition, marketing, and sales by the mentality of the blockbuster; the confident authority of print journalism has been challenged by the proliferation of online alternatives. [...] All of this leads, and not all that circuitously, to the question of snark, the spirit of negativity, the personal animus pushing ahead of the intellectual or critical agenda. Snark is, I believe, prompted by the terrible vacuum feeling of not mattering, not connecting, not being heard; it is fueled by rage at the same."
posted by Prospero on Apr 4, 2004 - 27 comments

Chuck Palahniuk's writers' workshop

Chuck Palahniuk (the author of such brawny reads as Choke and Fight Club) has an online writers' workshop that has monthly assignments subject to peer review, essays on writing by Chucky P., and a real smoove interface. I'm not a big fan of the guy or his work, but his "distinction essays", which are only posted to the site for a limited time, do contain the kind of solid instruction you'd hafta pay money for at a real writers workshop. The quality of the submissions varies, but seems to me to be a bit better than most online freebie writers-circle-jerk sites. Just don't choke on the ego.
posted by BitterOldPunk on Mar 30, 2004 - 6 comments

Confessions of a semi-successful author

Anonymous midlist author tells horror story (Salon: viewing of annoying ad required, but it's well worth it) "In the 10 years since I signed my first book contract, the publishing industry has changed in ways that are devastating [...] to midlist authors like me. [...] What once was about literature is now about return on investment. What once was hand-sold one by one by well-read, book-loving booksellers now moves by the pallet-load at Wal-Mart and Borders -- or doesn't move at all." (more inside)
posted by Prospero on Mar 22, 2004 - 117 comments

vanishing world

For the adventurous reader Dispatches From The Vanishing World a collection of environment themed travel articles by Alex Shoumatoff. Observe the "skeed row" behaviour of The Alcoholic Monkeys of St.Kitts, or travel to the worlds largest swap almost twice the size of England in the Amazon, this site presents magazine articles by Alex over the last 30 years as seen in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 20, 2004 - 6 comments

Great Prose Stylists

A.J. Liebling; H.L.Mencken; E.B.White: Are The Great American Prose Stylists Long Dead And Gone? Perhaps it helps to have two initials. In any case, Gore Vidal apart, I'm afraid sheer opinionated and passionate prose, backed up by knowledge of the world, unorthodox views and uplifting prose that is simultaneously workmanlike and deliciously readable is a thing of the past in American journalism. Sameness; political correctness and sensitivity have all had their deleterious, neutering effect. Are there any exceptions?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 29, 2004 - 36 comments

Janet Frame dies at 79

Janet Frame, New Zealand writer, is dead at 79. More information about her life, here, and obituary notice here. Nominated for the Nobel Prize for Fiction last year, I had hoped she might yet win. RIP.
posted by jokeefe on Jan 29, 2004 - 5 comments

The Eternal Appeal of Punctuation

Punk-Tuation: Is It The New Anarchy Or Boring Old Fascism All Over Again? How anal serious about apostrophes are you? Just how far would you go for a perfect semi-colon? Do you regularly reach for heart pills before you read MetaFilter? Take comfort in this: Lynne Trusse's wildly popular Eats Shoots And Leaves is this year's surprise bestseller in Britain. And I've limited myself to the MeFi-adored Guardian, just to make my (as it were) point. So... how important is punctuation to you? My own suspicion is that punctuation is the new spelling. It is important. (And, lest this seem carefree and frivolous, let me confess right away that MetaFilter may well be the worst offender, in this regard, ever to have blessedly existed.)
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 19, 2003 - 36 comments

Bad Writing = Good Writing?

Bad Writing = Good Writing? The academic journal Philosophy and Literature used to hold a "Bad Writing Contest" to ridicule dense, unreadable academic prose... but a new book argues headache inducing sentences are necessary to express subtle theoretical points.
posted by gregb1007 on Oct 30, 2003 - 28 comments

tablets

cuneiform digital library A digital library that allows you to browse pictures of cueiform tablets.
posted by rdr on Oct 12, 2003 - 3 comments

North to Alaska

Only 10 days left - Free house and internet cafe business in Alaska all you have to do is write an essay. Well, not an essay, but a story, poem, or limerick. It is tempting. But the entry fee is slowing me down. Stupid gimmick? Nifty idea?
posted by yesster on Oct 7, 2003 - 19 comments

Fragment: a writing meme.

Fragment: a writing meme. For creative writers who might need a small nudge in the ribs, three sentence fragments posted once a week "for you to fit into a bit of fiction/stream of consciousness/what-have-you... a quick bit of dirtiness to get your creative energy flowing". Write your bit and post your link. (via the ever-enlightening Anne, of Fishbucket.)
posted by taz on Oct 7, 2003 - 5 comments

American literary idol star survivor search

The Quest announced by LitKicks marries sudden fiction (and poetry, and nonfiction) workshop dynamics to a survivor-like competitive format, starting October 1, with six winners to be published in a book featuring the best work from the Quest. It's open to all, costs $20 to enter, and requires a free membership in the LitKicks site, which is a thriving online literary community as it is. More info in the FAQ. I think this may work better for me than NaNoWriMo would.
posted by xian on Sep 16, 2003 - 4 comments

Future Me

Scribe, schedule and send a soliloqy to the self. [more inside]
posted by pedantic on Sep 10, 2003 - 6 comments

memento mori

Obitpage, dedicated to the writer's art of the obituary. Recommended among the greats in the (partial) "hall-of-fame" archive is Idi Amin's: "One of the Most Reviled Figures In Recent History."
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on Sep 2, 2003 - 5 comments

Talk like human beings, will ya'?

The 100 Worst “Groaners”. A “groaner” is a hackneyed, overblown, stuffy or just plain silly cliché that turns up time after time in news scripts. Groaners show laziness on the part of writers, disrespect for the folks watching, and a general contempt for lively English. Here are some of the worst offenders. You’ll recognize them immediately, so get ready to groan!
posted by madman on Aug 4, 2003 - 95 comments

Odyssey: Encouraging Dishonesty in Education

Gene Wolfe declared "unfair" by snotty brats. Wolfe, a man who has given us some of the finest fantasy novels of the past three decades, was slated to teach writing at the Odyssey workshop. He graded the manuscripts with tough comments. But the students took this personally and complained to director Jeanne Cavelos. Wolfe, being the gentleman that he is, left the workshop. Here's a sample of one student's arrogance. Now if I had the opportunity of learning from a master and he told me that my shit stank, then I'd listen. Why have workshops and educational opportunities prioritized feeding this "I'm okay, you're okay" narcissism over developing talent?
posted by ed on Jul 25, 2003 - 36 comments

Calling all Grammar Schoolmarms

"Even a brilliant piece of writing will have difficulty finding a publisher if the author has neglected to dress his manuscript decently." 'The Chicago Manual of Style' enters the 21st century. Calling all MeFi Schoolmarms! (Also: CSM New Questions & Answers)
posted by ColdChef on Jul 24, 2003 - 26 comments

Script-O-Rama!

Script-O-Rama! Hundreds and hundreds of film scripts, film transcripts, tv show scripts, and anime scripts.
posted by crunchland on Jul 18, 2003 - 5 comments

Bulwer-Lytton contest results

The annual Bulwer-Lytton contest recognizes and awards the very worst opening sentences found in novels. The 2003 results are in (2002 results, 2001 results) and the winning entry begins "They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese..." [via girlhacker]
posted by mathowie on Jul 16, 2003 - 11 comments

Faery Lands Forlorn

Faery Lands Forlorn A.S. Byatt, author of Possession and other novels, looks at the phenomenon of adults reading the Harry Potter children's books: Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, "only personal." Nobody is trying to save or destroy anything beyond Harry Potter and his friends and family.... Ms. Rowling, I think, speaks to an adult generation that hasn't known, and doesn't care about, mystery. They are inhabitants of urban jungles, not of the real wild. They don't have the skills to tell ersatz magic from the real thing, for as children they daily invested the ersatz with what imagination they had.
posted by Artifice_Eternity on Jul 7, 2003 - 105 comments

Oasis

Oasis: a writing community for queer and questioning youth. Happy biggest ever Pride Day from Toronto, everyone!
posted by stonerose on Jun 29, 2003 - 12 comments

Sketchbook: Part 3 of a Series

Pondering pens + mulling over Moleskines = scouring a sketchbook.
posted by pedantic on Jun 3, 2003 - 20 comments

Be careful with what you write

Here's an interesting story for people who like to write and post stuff on the internet Judge Diana Lewis of Circuit Court in West Palm Beach issued an order that forbids Mr. Max to write about Ms. Johnson. That prohibition is not limited to his website. She ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing. She told Mr. Max that he could not use "Katy" on his site. Nor could he use Ms. Johnson's last name, full name or the words "Miss Vermont." The judge also prohibited Mr. Max from "disclosing any stories, facts or information, notwithstanding its truth, about any intimate or sexual acts engaged in by" Ms. Johnson. Finally, Judge Lewis ordered Mr. Max to sever the virtual remains of his relationship with Ms. Johnson. He is no longer allowed to link to her Web site. ... All this as a result of a lawsuit in which Ms. Johnson maintained that Mr. Max had invaded her privacy by publishing accurate information about her.
posted by magullo on Jun 2, 2003 - 39 comments

Modern fairy tales, American magical realism, a trend?

Amy Bender writes modern fairy tales. Whether these stories are magical realism, irrealism, or just plain crazy, is this a continuing trend in fiction?
posted by son_of_minya on May 21, 2003 - 19 comments

Einstein papers to be published on Web

Genius goes online. A new website of Albert Einstein's scientific and other never-published travel diaries, various humanitarian statements, and his frequent pleas for peace, will be unveiled on Monday (May 19). The new site is the result of a collaborative effort of the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech and the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The site, www.alberteinstein.info. is scheduled to go live Monday, May 19, after 3 PM EDT. It's really a moment to look forward to.
posted by taratan on May 17, 2003 - 1 comment

Iraqi teen shares her diary of war

Iraqi teen shares her diary of war In an Iraqi teenager's youthful hand, Amal wrote her war diary, committing to the pages of her orange journal the emotions of a family at Baghdad's ground zero. Amal's diary - often written by lamplight using the floor as a table - charts how some Iraqis' thinking has been transformed in a month.
posted by turbanhead on May 3, 2003 - 6 comments

William Gibson on William Gibson

William Gibson now on William Gibson then. Yep, that is indeed me, though nothing I'm saying there, at such painful length, is even remotely genuine. They were offering $500 for someone to monologue about the summer of lurve, etc., and I was (1) somewhat articulate, and (2) wanted desperately to get my ass out of Yorkville ... $500 was serious money
posted by delmoi on May 1, 2003 - 10 comments

pancakes and fuckwits and overlords and broomsticks and...

The politics of Polysyndeton On today's Fresh Air, Linguist Geoff Nunberg explores the affection conservative writers hold for the polysyndeton. (Here is the segment in RealAudio and Windows Media. Scroll down to "Listen to Linguist Geoff Nunberg".)
posted by 4easypayments on Apr 29, 2003 - 18 comments

Jason Shiga

If you think about it, the book is a pretty wierd (but efficient) way of storing information. Instead of being laid out in a continuous linear fashion, information is broken into roughly equal sized chunks. Then 50-70 of these chunks are printed onto these moveable flaps which all pile on top of one another.
Xeric grant winner Jason Shiga makes amazing, hilarious comics. You can get them in print or read many of them online.
posted by sonofsamiam on Apr 26, 2003 - 2 comments

Writer's Read (and Write)

Writer's Write. "Your one-stop resource for information about books, writing and publishing." An excellent resource site, filled with many links that may be useful to new writers. I especially liked their article titled "Writing Sketch Comedy That Sells".
posted by Joey Michaels on Apr 21, 2003 - 20 comments

The Genial, Unprolific Fran Lebowitz

The Funniest Writer Not Writing Today...or yesterday, or last year, or even for ages, has to be Fran Lebowitz. So it was quite refreshing to find this little website devoted to her scant and miserly online presence. The latest publication featuring her name is, in fact, the menu of the newly-opened Café Lebowitz in Manhattan's Nolita. Well, the author of the two masterpieces of wit, Social Studies and Metropolitan Life, recently anthologized in The Fran Lebowitz Reader, always warned us she was pathologically lazy... But the old, occasional, lazy (but always witty) interview or odd, random quotation is no compensation. I think she's up there with S. J. Perelman. Robert Benchley or Dorothy Parker. If only she'd actually do some work! Are there any other wilfully and chronically unproductive writer you miss terribly and would force out of retirement if you could?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 14, 2003 - 16 comments

Operation Teenage Angst Fest

Operation Teenage Angst Fest. Is all the war talk getting you down? Make like your younger self and wallow in some self-obsessed teen angst. You might even want to dig our your old journals and submit. Keep in mind the cardinal rule, though: it has to suck.
posted by maud on Mar 29, 2003 - 7 comments

Ready? ... Fight!

Songfight is a site where users compose songs based weekly titles. Then the public votes and a winner is decided. While necessarily indie, there is a wide variety of styles present and many great songs (mp3 links) have come out of this site. (Check the archives).
posted by ODiV on Mar 28, 2003 - 7 comments

Yaddo

Yaddo: The Artist's Retreat. "Collectively, artists who have worked at Yaddo have won 55 Pulitzer Prizes, 55 National Book Awards, a Nobel Prize, and countless other honors. Visitors from [John] Cheever's day include Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Philip Guston, Patricia Highsmith, Langston Hughes, Ted Hughes, Alfred Kazin, Ulysses Kay, Jacob Lawrence, Sylvia Plath, Katherine Anne Porter, Mario Puzo, Clyfford Still, and Virgil Thomson." A place to go to get your mind off war.
posted by adrober on Mar 19, 2003 - 4 comments

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