1038 posts tagged with Writing.
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Fake deaths, cheap resurrections, and dealing with real grief

William Hughes writes movingly about the death of his partner and how it has changed how he reacts to the portrayal of death and resurrection in media.
posted by Cannon Fodder on Oct 20, 2014 - 15 comments

An enthusiastic public reading journal.....

In Praise of Anne Rice's Amazon Reviews
posted by The Whelk on Oct 19, 2014 - 30 comments

Always remember it is YOUR project and YOUR paper and YOUR thesis.

"As the academic year begins again, new PhD students across the country (and further) are slowly settling into their fresh surroundings. I stayed at the same university when I made the switch to postgraduate research but I still remember feeling quite lost at the start, not knowing what to do or where to be. I’m now entering the final year of my studies and have (I hope) picked up some useful knowledge along the way.

"So I’ll cut right to the point: below is a list of handy tips, tricks, general advice and things I wish I knew when I started my PhD. The list was put together from chats with other PhD friends of mine, but is by no means exhaustive (nor is it in any particular order, though it did get quite long…). Hopefully it will help somebody. Please share your comments at the bottom if you have things to add – the more the merrier." Things I wish I knew when I started my PhD… from Between a rock and a hard place.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 18, 2014 - 59 comments

Some people are so poor

When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google. The first hit that came up was “Donald Sterling is a racist.” I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care. As players, we’re not supposed to really care about anything but basketball. We’re just supposed to perform. To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about bringing up Sterling’s past. What was I supposed to do? Just picture me at the press conference my rookie year. “Uh … hey, guys, before we talk about today’s game, did you happen to see that investigative report on my owner?” -- The Boss. An Essay about working for the NBA, by Blake Griffin. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 16, 2014 - 33 comments

When Science Fiction Grew Up

How renegade sci-fi writers of the 1960s paved the way for today's blending of literary and genre fiction [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 15, 2014 - 34 comments

I spent 10 years doing New York all wrong

Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., was a lonely aspiring writer in New York, generally unhappy. Then she moved to Brooklyn and found that community made all the difference.
posted by shivohum on Oct 13, 2014 - 16 comments

behind-the-scenes of nonfiction longform pieces

annotating Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah's profile of Dave Chappelle, "If He Hollers Let Him Go" [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 10, 2014 - 8 comments

Find Your Beach

"Here the focus is narrow, almost obsessive. Everything that is not absolutely necessary to your happiness has been removed from the visual horizon. The dream is not only of happiness, but of happiness conceived in perfect isolation. Find your beach in the middle of the city." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 10, 2014 - 15 comments

The Price of Black Ambition

2014 might well be "the year of Roxane Gay," but even as Ms. Gay experiences unprecedented personal success, the price of black ambition is never far from her mind.
I am thinking about success, ambition, and blackness and how breaking through while black is tempered by so much burden. Nothing exemplifies black success and ambition like Black History Month, a celebratory month I've come to dread as a time when people take an uncanny interest in sharing black-history facts with me to show how they are not racist. It's the month where we segregate some of history's most significant contributors into black history instead of fully integrating them into American history. Each February, we hold up civil-rights heroes and the black innovators and writers and artists who have made so much possible for this generation. We say, look at what the best of us have achieved. We conjure W. E. B. Du Bois, who once wrote, "The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men." We ask much of our exceptional men and women. We must be exceptional if we are to be anything at all.
[more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 9, 2014 - 4 comments

"Author jumps up and down with joy when book does arrive"

A charming infographic on how publishing works (according to Floris Books). Via. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 3, 2014 - 25 comments

“There is such a thing as the courage in remaining baffled.”

Donald Antrim and the Art of Anxiety by John Jeremiah Sullivan [New York Times]
posted by Fizz on Oct 1, 2014 - 10 comments

'the jingle allegedly contained a grammatical error.'

Why Academic Writing Stinks, by Steven Pinker
The curse of knowledge is a major reason that good scholars write bad prose. It simply doesn’t occur to them that their readers don’t know what they know—that those readers haven’t mastered the patois or can’t divine the missing steps that seem too obvious to mention or have no way to visualize an event that to the writer is as clear as day. And so they don’t bother to explain the jargon or spell out the logic or supply the necessary detail. Obviously, scholars cannot avoid technical terms altogether. But a surprising amount of jargon can simply be banished, and no one will be the worse for it.
Pinker's new book, a style guide, The Sense of the Style, has ten grammar rules it's OK to break (sometimes). He talks to Edge on Writing in the 21st Century, which includes the occasional fMRI.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 1, 2014 - 67 comments

All aboard.

Meet the 24 writers chosen for the Amtrak Residency program (previously!). [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 24, 2014 - 43 comments

it was the year my life was saved

I had a stroke at 33—On New Year’s Eve 2007, a clot blocked one half of my brain from the other. My reality would never be the same again. [more inside]
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Sep 22, 2014 - 23 comments

The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.

"Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum." (via)
posted by hat_eater on Sep 16, 2014 - 20 comments

"He was quite helpful, but then I trusted him too much."

Lydia Davis on Madame Bovary, Nabokov's Marginalia, and Translation: [YouTube] In this video from the Center for the Art of Translation, author and translator Lydia Davis discusses how she used Nabokov's margin notes from his edition of Madame Bovary to aid her own translation. She also discusses in-depth translation choices that she made. A full audio recording of this event can be hard on the Center's website.
posted by Fizz on Sep 15, 2014 - 9 comments

I’m not broken and neither are you.

The thing about ableism is that it’s everywhere, and it’s incredibly common, and we don’t even realize it. It’s in the books we read, and in our daily lives. Ableism is that belief that everyone who is able-bodied is “normal” and everyone else is abnormal. Abelism is probably one of the most common kinds of –ism’s, and it rarely gets talked about.
The language of disability and why it matters.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 15, 2014 - 62 comments

"'The family division is rooted in the same ground as fiction..."

Ian McEwan: the law versus religious belief. [The Guardian]
The conjoined twins who would die without medical intervention, a boy who refused blood transfusions on religious grounds…Ian McEwan on the stories from the family courts that inspired his latest novel.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 13, 2014 - 10 comments

Time erases everything

It’s a Secret: My Time with Charles Sobhraj, the Bikini Killer by the grate Gary Indiana.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 11, 2014 - 20 comments

the sea is a cup of death and the land is a stained altar stone

I don't know what it is about fecundity that so appalls. I suppose it is the teeming evidence that birth and growth, which we value, are ubiquitous and blind, that life itself is so astonishingly cheap, that nature is as careless as it is bountiful, and that with extravagance goes a crushing waste that will one day include our own cheap lives. Every glistening egg is a memento mori.
Annie Dillard ponders the disquieting thrall of the circle of life in her November 1973 essay for The Atlantic: The Force That Drives the Flower. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Sep 11, 2014 - 15 comments

the birth of the idea to make himself a character writing a fake memoir

The Pale King drafts: The David Foster Wallace archive at the Harry Ransom Center UT has made some documents from The Pale King accessible online, including a few pages of his workbook, handwritten drafts, and typed edits. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 10, 2014 - 23 comments

The Sexual Outlaw At 83

83 year old Chicano author John Rechy (City Of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, Rushes) talks to Lambda Literary about gay assimilation, being mistaken for white, melding truth and fiction, the post-Stonewall peroid, and hating the word 'queer.'
posted by The Whelk on Sep 10, 2014 - 20 comments

Writing with Colour

Writing with Color, a blog dedicated to writing and resources centered on cultural and ethnic diversity. The FAQ.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 6, 2014 - 3 comments

Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids

"Since 2007, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids has invited brave Canadians to read their childhood and teenage writing… out loud in front of an audience." This summer, CBC recorded and broadcast a 10-date tour. Episodes. Podcast.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Sep 5, 2014 - 15 comments

[Writing] fiction is much closer to a sort of dreaming

Marilynne Robinson discusses her novels, fiction, and religion at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University in 2009.
Dr. Robinson talks about writing and the Middle West at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 5, 2014 - 7 comments

"Eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise"

How to eat: burritos
"It may be categorised as 'street food', but eating a burrito while walking is hazardous. We've all been there: you take a bite from one side of the burrito, which leaves a quivering 'lip' of rice-loaded tortilla on the other, and, like a slow-motion shot in the world's most boring action film, it falls to the ground or down your shirt, before you can whip your head down and around to snaffle it to safety. Then there is the issue of leakage from the bottom of a too-loosely-twisted foil wrap, and also the delicate procedure of prising that, by now sopping wet, last mouthful from the final cup of foil – itself now overflowing with juices – and transferring it to your mouth without any spillage. It's a task that requires focus and concentration. You walk with a burrito once, twice maybe, before you either a) get knocked-down on a busy road or b) realise – standing outside the pub trying to wipe meat juices off your trainers with an old tissue – that eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 2, 2014 - 96 comments

"Your portrayal of mental illness affects stigma"

When it comes to mental illness you must absolutely pay meticulous attention to detail. Misconceptions and preconceptions are the reason funding is inadequate, why people who suffer from mental illness do not wish to come forward, why people with gender dysphoria suffer minority stress, why the mentally ill are targets of physical and verbal violence.
Mental Illness: a prome for speculative fiction creators. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 2, 2014 - 13 comments

Pen Paper Ink Letter Massive Review Index

Pen Paper Ink Letter is a pen and paper blog maintained by Heath Cates. Currently holding Ink Week, its best feature is a massive index of product reviews, from the blog itself and other blogs. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Aug 29, 2014 - 10 comments

Yet for some reason we'd escaped, had prospered, even.

The one that got away - a very short story about exes, by David Sedaris
posted by Mr. Six on Aug 23, 2014 - 14 comments

Lev Grossman on finding his true genre

You have demons in your subconscious? In a fantasy world those demons can get out, where you can grapple with them face to face. The story I was telling was impossible, and I believed in it more than I believed in the 10,000 entirely reasonable, plausible things I’d written before. Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians series of books, on how he found his voice as a fantasy novelist.
posted by shivohum on Aug 19, 2014 - 66 comments

A heart rather than a phone call.

A Memoir Is Not a Status Update by Dani Shapiro [The New Yorker] "What would have become of me if I had come of age as a writer during these years of living out loud?"
posted by Fizz on Aug 18, 2014 - 20 comments

occasionally, she wears flannel.

when my boyfriend proposed, I cried — more like panic tears. but I wasn't certain I should end it — until I met her
posted by yeoz on Aug 18, 2014 - 115 comments

When we profile your rage we are reacting to the facts.

Regulations For Your RageThe Toast
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 16, 2014 - 17 comments

Homosexuality Is For The Birds

Koryos, who previously explained how cats got domesticated using tumblr, now explains why homosexual pair-bonding can be a successful reproductive stratagem. Also, Coot Parenting Tips, Queen Cowbird Of The Brood Parasites , There's No Such Thing As An Alpha Wolf, and Can Animals Have Pets?
posted by The Whelk on Aug 16, 2014 - 9 comments

On the visual imagination of the literary character

If I said to you, “Describe Anna Karenina,” perhaps you’d mention her beauty. If you were reading closely you’d mention her “thick lashes,” her weight, or maybe even her little downy mustache (yes—it’s there). Matthew Arnold remarks upon “Anna’s shoulders, and masses of hair, and half-shut eyes … ” But what does Anna Karenina look like? What do we see when we read?
posted by shivohum on Aug 14, 2014 - 24 comments

Magical Realism Menu

Tables For One is a collection of restaurant reviews "from another New York City" by A. Ponitus and illustrated by Evan Johnson. The restaurants include Frito-Lay themed places, salt-obsessed aliens, a gelato cult, notable NPR personalities, and a cafe for heartbreak.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 14, 2014 - 21 comments

15,000 Useful Phrases

Being a practical handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes, literary, commercial, conversational, and oratorical terms, for the embellishment of speech and literature, and the improvement of the vocabulary of those persons who read, write, and speak English. (Grenville Kleiser, 1917)
posted by Iridic on Aug 13, 2014 - 19 comments

Dialect isn’t just people talking funny

My project today is replacing all the dialogue spoken by Antiguan characters in Of Noble Family with dialogue rewritten by Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne Hillhouse.

Let me explain why I’m doing this.
Mary Robinette Kowal talks about why she hired somebody else to help her with the Caribbean dialects for her next novel.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 6, 2014 - 38 comments

How To make a shoe, kill a bear, and mix a Widow's Tears

Mental Floss links to free How-To guides from a hundred years ago that are still helpful if you need to mesmerize someone or name a baby
posted by The Whelk on Jul 28, 2014 - 34 comments

To her, an editor’s life was one of constantly renewed fulfillment.

More than any other editor except Harold Ross himself, Katharine White gave The New Yorker its shape, and set it on its course. -- William Shawn. Almost 20 years ago - and almost 20 years after her death - the New Yorker profiled its legendary editor in Lady with a Pencil. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 27, 2014 - 5 comments

"Confession doesn't just allow – it incites."

...if it felt like an author had already come into your life, already seen some aspect of your experience then it would be natural to want to extend this intimacy into conversation. The impulse to contact a confessional writer – whose writing has already revealed something private – is something else. Perhaps it is still a desire to translate one kind of intimacy into another, but the terms are different. With confessional writing, the disclosure has already happened – now the reader wants to confess something back, make a reciprocal exchange. So whenever people talk about confessional writing as navel-gazing or self-involved, I think about those voices, and their offerings.
Author Leslie Jamison (previously, previouslier) explains why confessional writing is not self-indulgent. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 10, 2014 - 5 comments

The CIA is a prescriptivist scold

Writing tips from the CIA’s ruthless style manual:

Strunk & White, it turns out, were CIA sources. The authors of The Elements of Style, a classic American writing guide, are cited alongside Henry Fowler, Wilson Follett, and Jacques Barzun in the Directorate of Intelligence’s Style Manual & Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications, whose eighth edition (from 2011) was quietly posted online (pdf) by the legal nonprofit National Security Counselors a little over a year ago, following a Freedom of Information Act request. [more inside]
posted by moody cow on Jul 10, 2014 - 30 comments

Trans Women's Lit

Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
posted by emmtee on Jul 6, 2014 - 11 comments

No Bullshit Hiring Histories

"Pastry work takes a level of skill, precision and rigor that I lacked in spades. I could’ve maybe become a decent pastry cook, with months of practice and a patient boss, but I was in no way qualified to be a pastry chef. I gave it my best effort, for three days, until the chef-owner realized her mistake and fired me. The place closed in less than 6 months. I never got paid." Laurie Woolever at The Billfold talks about how she went from Botantical Garden Intern to Anthony Bourdain's assistant.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2014 - 26 comments

Sometimes you just have to pick up a pen.

Calligraphy-skills.com is a wonderful throwback to the early days of the Web, when someone would just helpfully organize and present a wealth of information on a given topic for free, simply because they were that into it. [more inside]
posted by DoctorFedora on Jul 1, 2014 - 8 comments

To read Spark is always to read about reading.

Describing Dame Muriel Spark's oeuvre as "a body of work singular in its violence, formal inventiveness, and scorching opening lines," Parul Sehgal's What Muriel Spark Saw examines the enduring appeal and the mystery of Spark's fiction, particularly the "monstruous" women: "What hash Spark's characters make of those eternal debates over unlikable characters or unlikable women." [more inside]
posted by mixedmetaphors on Jul 1, 2014 - 6 comments

How to write 225 words per minute

How to write 225 words per minute. With a pen. Dennis Hollier, in the Atlantic, writes about Gregg shorthand, a piece of analog data-compression technology now largely forgotten and probably forever unequalled.
posted by escabeche on Jun 25, 2014 - 54 comments

Having the same tired discussions about gender bias, over and over.

The first Women in Science Writing: Solutions Summit took place at MIT on June 13-15. Here's a brief roundup, with plenty of links and stats that look at gender bias and harassment in science journalism.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 24, 2014 - 27 comments

"A pantry full of ingredients"

My goal here -- beyond the selfish utilitarian aspect of organizing my research -- is much in parallel with that of sites like the Medieval People of Color blog, or Kameron Hurley's award-nominated essay "We Have Always Fought". I want to help change the unexamined assumptions about the place and nature of lesbian-like characters in historic fact, literature, art, and imagination. I want to do it to help other authors find inspiration and support for the stories they want to tell. And I want to do it to affect the reception of my own writing. My project will be flawed in that it will privilege topics and interpretations of personal interest to me. (A geographic focus on Europe and it's neighbors. A temporal focus that ends before the 20th century and focuses strongly on the pre-modern. An examination of the data through a lesbian lens even when other lenses, such as transgender ones, are equally valid.) This is a caveat but not an apology. If I weren't doing it for selfish reasons, I wouldn't be doing it at all.
The Lesbian Historica Motif Project is a series of posts at The Rose Garden looking at source material about lesbian women throughout history.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 22, 2014 - 14 comments

Mile 943: Day 44: Toulumne Meadows Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart

Writer Carrot Quinn is walking from Mexico to Canada for the second time. In 2013, she hiked the Pacific Coast Trail (2,663 miles) from Mexico to Canada. [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Jun 9, 2014 - 13 comments

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