Hamilton Nolan's stern post on Gawker, "Twitter is Public," spoke the thoughts of many a journalist yesterday. Those who write for a living (and are therefore themselves occasionally trussed, spit and taken for a spin on the rotisserie of public opinion) can't help but goggle in disbelief that the concept of "public" can be misunderstood. Journalists think about this all the time because the right to report and publicize has often been under attack, such as when the police try to stop someone recording or filming in the street, or when a celebrity or politician objects to the publication of public information, or when [...]
I attended my first writer’s conference in 2012. Those ten or so days among meadows and butter yellow cottages were rewarding but fraught. The conference was rewarding in that it was fruitful. I met a lot of great people, collected from the craft courses and workshops some useful habits and things to consider, and was introduced to contemporary writers I’ll be reading, and hoping to run into again, for years. ("Oh, I know her," I can’t wait to say. “She was, um, cruel in workshop.”) I left the conference with a much clearer sense of what I would need to do if I wanted to turn this hobby of [...]
It had been six months since I quit, but I still managed to bring up the blog within 15 minutes of meeting Lauren.
We were at my go-to first date spot, a subterranean bar with shuffleboard and ping-pong in case the conversation flagged. When she asked what I did for a living, I dispatched with my day job in a few sentences before admitting, with false embarrassment, that I was also an aspiring writer.
The required follow-up question—"What kind of stuff do you write?"—was barely out of her mouth before I slipped into my spiel: "It’s a little embarrassing, but I used to be a dating blogger for Glamour [...]
There's at least two really great pieces of writing advice from Sebastian Junger in this annotation/interview of "The Storm."
• "You know, I spent a lot of time with American soldiers, and the standard news reporting — if you’re talking to a soldier and quoting him — is to say where he’s from and whether he likes the Red Sox. People just don’t give a shit. I really try to avoid the details that seem kind of perfunctory, not necessary, and ultimately not that interesting."
• "I try to edit my work in different states of mind. So I’ll go running on a really hot day and then [...]
I didn't know what I would get paid to write this article. I didn't ask. It doesn't matter. It won't make a tangible dent in paying the rent on my apartment in Brooklyn, or, for that matter, rent on an apartment in any other city. By the time I finish the research, the interviews, the writing, and the editing, whatever small sum—$30, $125, $200—this site pays me will pale in comparison to the effort. It's not "worth it" in a traditional monetary sense. I'm doing it for exposure (maybe hire me?), because I'm interested in the topic, and because it's immediately relevant to my so-called career as a [...]
American Student Loan Debt Delinquencies has overtaken American Credit Card Debt for the first time on the spectrum of Debts. Students pay more to go to college and graduate school and get less from their buck than ever before. And now you can’t even pay it back! You used to get a job, now you get a ham sandwich, maybe. It's not necessarily the fault of colleges and universities. They have to make big bucks to keep all that marble buffed and ivy trimmed. I'd much rather blame the heads of departments. The myth was once that if you got a Liberal Arts education in some worthless degree field you'd [...]
The new Hemingway App site yells at you for using long words, adverbs, long sentences, complex structures, and passive voice. I ran a post I wrote about "The Real World" through it, because I always thought ol' Ernie would really enjoy gabbing at length about a show that is seriously not even good, and here's what I got:7 of 44 sentences are hard to read. 16 of 44 sentences are very hard to read. 14 adverbs. Aim for 3 or less. 11 words or phrases can be simpler. 11 uses of passive voice. Aim for 9 or less.
It's kind of a dickish website but, like, so was Hemingway.
Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]
"The question remains, why do people have such a high regard for authors, even when they don’t read?"
Elizabeth Wurtzel is writing a new book. You may have accidentally read some of it already. Her piece published on Thought Catalog earlier this month is an excerpt from it. The book is titled Yes because that is Elizabeth Wurtzel's favorite one-word sentence. She told us so last night, during her reading at "Addiction Literature," hosted by the No. 8 Literary Society at the bar No. 8, which is the descendant of Bungalow 8. The working subtitle of Wurtzel's book is "A History Of Love At First Sight In New York."
The excerpt—as it first appeared on Thought Catalog—is titled "Just That Way." It is about how she has [...]
I am a dumb writer, perhaps one of the dumbest that's ever lived. Whenever I have an idea, I question myself whether it is sufficiently dumb. I ask myself, is it possible that this, in any way, could be considered smart? If the answer is no, I proceed. I don't write anything new or original. I copy pre-existing texts and move information from one place to another. A child could do what I do, but wouldn't dare to for fear of being called stupid.Tonight Kenneth Goldsmith will appear on The Colbert Report. This year he has been the Museum of Modern Art's first poet laureate, [...]
I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled by it to converse with an absent friend, as if present! —Thomas Jefferson
She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would be too much to ask you for your autograph?"
Ralph then attached the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same. When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland. —Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+ (1911)
On February 27th, Toni Morrison took part in an [...]
When editors and sponsors demanded changes to his copy, the legendary absurdist comedian and radio star Fred Allen used to reply: "Where were you bastards when the pages were blank?"
This joke is about the common misconception about what really happens between writers and editors, which is a kind of alchemical collaboration, provided that the collaborators in question are in sympathy and closely attending to the matter at hand. Granted, that doesn't happen every time, on either side, but at its best there is no hostility, and no jockeying for an advantage in this symbiosis: no ego, no performance, just an intent shared focus on making something good together for [...]
Flappy Bird Think Pieces Dot Tumblr Dot Com has helpfully aggregated segregated all the long pieces of writing about the short-lived app sensation Flappy Bird, so that they will not appear anywhere else on the Internet and you won't be disturbed by them. LOOK ONLY IF YOU DARE. An emotional winter is coming. No but seriously, the trick is picking the good one!
"Writer’s block is a tough thing to deal with, but one we’ll all have to tackle at some point – either at the start of our training while we’re writing outlines and proposals, at the end when we’re writing up manuscripts and theses, or afterwards, as we’re working on papers and other documents. As science communicators, the toughest part is often figuring out exactly how to begin, and how to frame the core message that we want to get across – a process that can be incredibly frustrating. So the question becomes, [...]
If real Manic Pixie Dream Girls existed outside movies and pop culture critiques, eventually, in the course of the male ego stroking to which they owe their being, they’d wind up producing some sons and heirs. Being nubile, impulsive, and brimming with consent is essential to the Manic Pixie dream, so Manic Pixie pregnancy has got to be inevitable. It’s all right. A vital element of male self-obsession has always been the belief that their DNA must abound on the Earth forever and ever. Who better to make this a reality than dream girls already conjured out of male self-obsession?
In maternal form, the trope of the Manic Pixie Dream [...]
August 11th was a huge day in my life. I was at Think Coffee on Fourth Avenue. I had just finished, at age 27, my very first novel. I told the barista, who gave me a high five. This was nice of him, given that this probably happens at said coffee shop way more often than we'd like to think.
I had been working on it for two-and-a-half years, showing it to no one, periodically reading it aloud to only two people—my partner and my ex. The book was a story about the Baba Yaga, the witch from Ukrainian folklore. I first encountered her as a child in Neil [...]
I’d been in Paris less than twelve hours, arriving for a job interview, when I was invited to my first French dinner party. The job I wanted was at a Parisian advertising agency. My would-be boss, Pierre, said after the meeting that he had an older sister, Paulette, who’d invited me for dinner. Very charitable of her, I thought, but did she know I barely spoke French? I spent the afternoon drinking, worrying in a café on the Champs-Elysées—springtime in Paris, many happy lovers walking by, and I wished on them all gonorrhea. That night, Pierre and I took a cab to the 2nd arrondissement, and rode upstairs in a [...]
Paul Newman’s egg-gorging feat in Cool Hand Luke certainly inspires wonder (along with a tinge of disgust). And yet each time I watch the film, I struggle with a nagging question raised by that stomach-swelling exploit: Which came first, our appetite, or our drive for competitive eating? Owing to the glut of cooking competitions, food trucks racing across town serving up sliders and duck-fat tots, foodies one-upping each other on Instagram and restaurants aggressively advertising their farm-to-table bona fides (as brilliantly satirized on "Portlandia"), food culture feels increasingly competitive in the broader, non-Kobayashi sense.
As the battles unfold to perform more impressive culinary feats, whether inhaling hot dogs [...]