For decades Dawn Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion. But despite the work of such dedicated cultists as Edmund Wilson and Matthew Josephson, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, Dawn Powell never became the popular writer that she ought to have been. In those days, with a bit of luck, a good writer eventually attracted voluntary readers and became popular. Today, of course, "popular" means bad writing that is widely read while good writing is that which is taught to involuntary readers. Powell failed on both counts. She needs no interpretation and in her lifetime she should have been as widely read as, say, Hemingway or the early Fitzgerald or the mid O'Hara or even the late, far too late, Katherine Anne Porter. But Powell was that unthinkable monster, a witty woman who felt no obligation to make a single, much less a final, down payment on Love or The Family; she saw life with a bright Petronian neutrality, and every host at life's feast was a potential Trimalchio to be sent up.
- Gore Vidal
posted by Trurl
on Nov 12, 2011 -
is an exciting new international journal dedicated to literary translation and bringing together in one place the best in contemporary writing. We are interested in encounters between languages and the consequences of these encounters. Though a translation may never fully replicate the original in effect (thus our name, 'asymptote': the dotted line on a graph that a mathematical function may tend towards but never reach), it is in itself an act of creation."
posted by beshtya
on Nov 5, 2011 -
"Storytelling is inherently dangerous. Consider a traumatic event in your life. Think about how you experienced it. Now think about how you told it to someone a year later. Now think about how you told it for the hundredth time. It's not the same thing. Most people think perspective is a good thing: you can figure out characters arcs, you can apply a moral, you can tell it with understanding and context. But this perspective is a misrepresentation: it's a reconstruction with meaning, and as such bears little resemblance to the event." Charlie Kaufman: Why I Wrote Being John Malkovich. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla
on Oct 7, 2011 -
British Fantasy Award winner returns prize; Sam Stone hands back award after criticism of judging process. [The Guardian]
"Controversy has riven the 40-year-old British Fantasy Awards, with the winner of the best novel prize handing her award back just three days after it was bestowed.
But the organisation and presentation of the awards has been drawing criticism since then, culminating in Sam Stone, the winner of the best novel award – named after American writer and editor August Derleth – announcing yesterday that she is giving it back.
The biggest attack on the awards was delivered by editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who on Tuesday posted a lengthy blog
decrying the organisation of the BFAs and making several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe."
posted by Fizz
on Oct 6, 2011 -
Enclyclopedia Brown is a children's fiction series written by Donald J. Sobol since 1963 and still very popular today. These are the 10 most ridiculously difficult mysteries
in the series and baffling as to how a child is supposed to be able to solve them.
posted by rozomon
on Aug 30, 2011 -
It was a beautiful day in Ponyville. The sun was shining; the birds were singing. Ponies big and small cantered throughout the town, whickering and neighing merrily as they went about their business.
Suddenly, there was a huge explosion!
“Oh my god, that was a huge explosion!” yelled Twilight Sparkle, staring in shock and horror at the massive fireball rising from the center of town. Hundreds of ponies ran screaming from the burning wreckage of the Town Hall. Some were covered in soot, and limped as they streamed past her, desperate to escape the burning hell behind them.
“Yo Twi’, you see dat shiz?” said Spike, her jive-talking baby dragon sidekick. He stood on her back, one claw wrapped in her mane while the other casually removed a set of shutter-style plastic sunglasses. You know, like the ones Kanye West is always wearing.
Michael Bay presents My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
. (It's fanfiction, but readable without knowledge of the show or fondness for pastel-colored horses.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris
on Aug 29, 2011 -
Post A Letter Social Activity Club:
"Imagine a day when every personal e-mail you receive is in the form of a piece of mail, in envelopes of different sizes, papers of different colours and textures, handwriting of varying degrees of legibility. Wouldn’t that be pretty nice for a change?" [more inside]
posted by Fizz
on Aug 22, 2011 -
Do you have a favorite kanji character?
I like this one: 峠
because it reminds me of a poem by Christina Rossetti:
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men
(what I mean is, it’s terribly nice to have the radicals for mountain, up and down form the character).
I’m very fond of 競 because it makes me think of two men skating with their arms behind their backs in a Dutch painting, wearing black frock coats and breeches.
明 is not very exotic, of course, but it’s nice to have the word for ‘bright’ represented by the sun and moon – this is a bit like certain German words, where the elements of a phenomenon are put together for the word: there’s Morgengrauen (morning grey) for the sky lightening to grey just before dawn, and Morgenröte (morning red) for the sky when it first turns red, similar sort of thing.
with Helen DeWitt,
author of The Last Samurai
, Your Name Here
, a novel written with Ilya Gridneff,
and the forthcoming Lightning Rods.
DeWitt will be in New York September 8 - 11.
posted by xod
on Aug 19, 2011 -
A writer in Slate
examines the scientific literature for clues that will help him to write faster
posted by chrchr
on Aug 11, 2011 -
"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality
Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics
in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam
on Aug 2, 2011 -
Dr. Rob Dobrienski is a Manhattan therapist who blogs with honesty and humor on shrinktalk.net
about his practice and topics interesting to both laypersons with an interest in psychology and therapy as well as therapists in current practice. [more inside]
posted by sweetkid
on Jul 31, 2011 -
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review
posted by escabeche
on Jul 25, 2011 -
There is no paradigm for this kind of place. Accidental Norbiton is contingent, marginal, superfluous, an ugly necessity; it is like the wires coiled under your desk, behind your bookcases; it is like the suitcases gathering dust under your bed, on top of your wardrobe; an adjunct to living, part of the logistics, the bureaucracy, never what you might call life itself, the movement and centre and focus of which seem to prevail elsewhere.
Perfect, then, for a life of accidental failure. Welcome to Norbiton
. [more inside]
posted by carsonb
on Jul 23, 2011 -
OK, so you've partly written a novel, but you're having trouble finishing the damn thing. What to do? Summon stamina, press on, and be proud of your literary success? Or, post your abandonment for all the world to see! Ladies and gentlemen, a place for your unfini--
posted by anothermug
on Jul 12, 2011 -
Joseph Mitchell was a reporter. It's tempting to say his beat was the waterfront, but though he's certainly the poet laureate of the Fulton Fish Market, this would be too literal-minded and geographically limiting. His beat was the margins, including the metaphysical margin of life itself. Mitchell invented a temporal dimension for his stories, a strange and twilit place—Mitchell Time—where a density of historical fact and the feeling of whole eras fading from view are sharply juxtaposed with scenes of cinematic immediacy related in the present tense. A cozy aura of death pervades his work, which often features oldsters experiencing the chilling fear of its approach while gleefully playing hide-and-seek with the reaper.
- The Village Voice [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Jul 10, 2011 -
Roger Ebert has discovered the Macmillan Reader's Edition of The Great Gatsby
and he hates it: "This is an obscenity."
Macmillan Reader's Editions are geared to ESL students
. Ebert thinks that's a really bad idea: "Why not have ESL learners begin with Young Adult novels? Why not write books with a simplified vocabulary? Why eviscerate Fitzgerald?" [more inside]
posted by CCBC
on Jul 8, 2011 -
As much as any book I know, Crippled Detectives transcribes the dream state, not just in its flights of fancy and logic-jumping juxtapositions, but in the mutating narrative tactics, the topsy-turvy focus (the climax is over in a flash, whereas digressions distend to marvelous effect), and especially the inconsistent point of view... I forgot to mention that Lee Tandy Schwartzman was all of seven years old when she wrote it.
posted by Trurl
on Jun 27, 2011 -
Anatomy of a Writer. "Like the protagonist of 1984, who risked his life to purchase a notebook and signed it away by filling it with words, writers sometimes find themselves huddled in a corner, crouching onto their guilty pleasure protectively, hoping that their spouse, or friends won’t catch them at it."
posted by Phire
on Jun 26, 2011 -
One night, I awoke out of a dead sleep, and jumped to my computer, and instantly began typing up an article about David Letterman. I kept going for ten minutes, until I realized I had dreamed it all. There was no article to write; I was simply typing up the same meaningless phrases that we all always used: “LADY GAGA PANTLESS ON LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN,” or some such.
AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Jun 17, 2011 -
"What I'm asking is this: Are screenwriters now affected by "spoiler culture" before they even begin the writing process? If you know a twist will be unavoidably revealed before the majority of people see the work itself, and if you concede that selling and marketing a film with a major secret will be more complicated for everyone involved … would you even try? Would you essentially stop yourself from trying to write a movie that's structured like The Sixth Sense?" Are Spoilers Flipping the Script?
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jun 17, 2011 -
Listen to a conversation between
legendary American crime novelist Raymond Chandler and James Bond inventor Ian Fleming recorded by the BBC in 1958. The talk ranges from Mafia hits to the nature of villainy to the difference between English and American thriller.
posted by Bookhouse
on Jun 12, 2011 -