Essays

September 16, 2014

Dan Epstein on the Hairy Goofy Polyester Glory of 1970s Baseball 0

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In Epstein I discovered a smart writer who actually reveled in the cheesiness of the 1970s. And he did it without the killing smirk of irony.

September 15, 2014

The Profits of Dreaming: On Fiction and Sleep 3

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But in the absence of conclusive evidence, sleep’s utility—like that of fiction—is still in doubt. How much, in the end, does either one matter?

September 10, 2014

The Magic Building Where English Majors Work: Making Sense of Creative Writing’s Job Problem 19

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When is the right time to tell aspiring writers about their job prospects? In graduate school? Before they even apply to graduate school? Or sooner than that even—in their first creative writing class? Never? Let them Google it because it’s just too depressing otherwise?

September 8, 2014

The Art of Homage 0

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Homage is a way of acknowledging our forbearers, to celebrate where we came from by updating the past, calling back to it, poking fun at it, challenging it, embracing it, adoring it.

September 5, 2014

Sentimental Educations: Alberto Moravia’s Contempt and Agostino 0

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Moravia suggests that ratiocination is a poor substitute for taste. One of his great themes is how sensibility is wrecked by negotiations with other people, other classes, other individuals, and thereby reinvigorated.

September 4, 2014

The Strife of the Chase: The Prudence, Procrastination, and Persistence of the American Artist 3

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Artists procrastinate. They also persist. What is certain is that we carry ideas around for longer than we know, and part of the artistic venture is unearthing the source.

August 28, 2014

On the Nightstand: On Deciding What to Read Next 14

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Of the mess of books that has been unsystematically scattered throughout my home, and my life, which ones will make it to the nightstand? In what order will they be stacked? Perhaps most importantly: how will I decide?

August 25, 2014

The Longest Silence: On Writing and Fishing 3

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Fishing, like writing, is a stab at permanence in a world of waiting.

August 22, 2014

Because I, Too, Am Hungry: On Food and Reading 8

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Tell me reading about those farmers, very early in the morning, devouring those biscuits, those eggs, that ham, that coffee, doesn’t do something for you, doesn’t make you feel as if you could hoe a field, doesn’t make you want to go out and get that shit fucking done.

August 20, 2014

Practical Art: On Teaching the Business of Creative Writing 72

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This is the inside joke of creative writing programs in America. We know creative writing doesn’t make money, and yet we continue to graduate talented writers with no business acumen. At best, it is misguided. At worst, it is fraudulent.