The inner critic creates writer’s block and stifles adventurous writing, hems it in with safe clichés and overthinking.[...]
Sports Night, The West Wing, The American President, The Social Network — hardly shameful items to appear on anyone’s résumé.[...]
Some of the best, most succinct writing advice I ever received came from the great John McPhee, via one of his former students: “Writing is paying attention.” What do you see, hear, taste, etc.? Questions of style, syntax, and punctuation come later.[...]
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Is it possible to fully separate a word’s sound from its meaning—to value words solely for their music? Some poets come close: Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath, John Ashbery. Rare phonetic metaphysicians. Surely we all do this when we hear words in a language we do not know.
Image via Creative Commons
Most everyone who knows the work of George Orwell knows his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” (published here), in which he rails against careless, confusing, and unclear prose. “Our civilization is decadent,” he argues, “and our language… must inevitably share in the general collapse.
Quite patiently, Ben Watts cut apart and stitched together scenes from 53 films (find a complete list here) showing characters suffering through writer’s block. Adaptation, Barton Fink, Shakespeare in Love, The Royal Tenenbaums, and, yes, Throw Momma From the Train–they’re among the films featured in the 4-minute supercut above.[...]
Whatcha mean, “what’s a zine”?
Some say Thomas Paine originated the concept in 1776, when he self-published the pamphlet, Common Sense… an assertion author and cultural critic Greil Marcus would likely find a “spurious” attempt to confer legitimacy on a movement that occupies the societal fringes by definition.
Image by Walter Benjamin Archiv, via Wikimedia Commons
The probability of Walter Benjamin‘s name coming up in your average MFA workshop, or fiction writers’ group of any kind, likely approaches zero.
Umberto Eco, the Italian semiotician, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist — and, of course, author of Foucault’s Pendulum – has died at his home in Milan. He was 84.[...]
Every generation, it seems, has its preferred bestselling genre fiction. We’ve had fantasy and, at least in very recent history, vampire romance keeping us reading. The fifties and sixties had their westerns and sci-fi. And in the forties, it won’t surprise you to hear, detective fiction was all the rage.[...]