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 -
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 -
(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 -
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 -
, 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 -
Punk-Tuation: Is It The New Anarchy Or Boring Old Fascism All Over Again?
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
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
, 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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
I picked up my first Moleskine a few months ago and have been carrying it around everywhere, jotting down notes to myself, more stream of conscious than a journal. The pocket notebooks come in a variety of styles
, including a Japanese Pocket Album that is one 60 page long continuous fold out sheet for making timelines, long drawings or photo albums. Even my plain notebook has a small pocket in the back cover to stick keepsakes (ticket stubs maybe?
) as well as a built in bookmark and elastic strap to keep the book closed. Other bloggers also love their Moleskines
. Not to be a product ad, but the combination of design simplicity and utility really make these notebooks a functional piece of art. It also helps to have a nice, small pen to carry with the journal.
posted by jonah
on Jan 16, 2003 -
Oxford's guide to collective terms for animals
is a useful and fascinating although all-too-brief resource. Collective terms for birds are some of my favourites: an unkindness of ravens; a murmuration of starlings; a richness of martens. Bees and sheep seem to have a lot of collective terms. I can't imagine why. Altogether, though, I found one of the terms for for ferrets to be the pick of the bunch.
posted by nthdegx
on Jan 13, 2003 -
Animated chinese characters.
posted by rdr
on Dec 12, 2002 -
U.S. Writers Do Cultural Battle Around the Globe
(NYTimes, reg. req'd). So many questions spring to mind... Is it productive for the government to do this, or should it be the role of civil society? Should such efforts attempt to portray an appealing version of the U.S., or an accurate one? Where would you direct people who, in good faith, want to gain insight into the "American mind" through the written word, or others forms of art?
posted by stonerose
on Dec 7, 2002 -