Essays Archives - Page 30 of 110 - The Millions

July 15, 2015

The Fantastically Normal Life of a Writer 2


After the beast has submitted to my will and I have tended to my wounds, I check a few news sites, play some more music, and begin the work at hand.

July 14, 2015

Chris Christie: New Jersey’s Chimera 4


Chris Christie is the prototypical politician. His every move and utterance is finely calibrated. His outbursts — telling a Hurricane Sandy activist to “sit down and shut up” or calling a former Navy SEAL an “idiot” — are not the slip-ups of an amateur; they are the myth-making of an intelligent, ambitious man.

July 9, 2015

Outlawed Nobleman: Oscar Wilde’s Trial by Fiction 0


‘There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book,’ Wilde wrote in Dorian Gray’s introduction, and the fact that it has survived his moral crucifixion as well as his sainthood is proof that the claim might be true. Think what we will of the man, the book is luminous, terrifying, wonderful.

July 8, 2015

There Is No Map for Grief: On the Work of Art 5


When my daughter died in the belly world of me, I became a writer — so that all the words that cannot name grief, all the words threatening to erupt from my belly and uterus did not explode up and through my skull and face and shatter the very world and sky.

July 7, 2015

Fear of Flying: On Why My Novel Is Not Available at Airport Bookstores 1


Plane bombing! I could be arrested for saying those words here.

July 1, 2015

The Manliness of Joan Didion 2


Think of the ways we talk about manliness: as making necessary sacrifices, doing what needs to be done, choosing the ugly truth over the pretty lie. In all of those definitions, we’re still just talking about being good, brave, responsible. And if that’s what we mean by manliness, then we have to acknowledge the fact that women are now — and always have been — as good at it as men are. Which, in turn, means that men can, and ought to, learn manliness from women.

June 30, 2015

Two Lives: On Hanya Yanagihara and Atticus Lish 13


In Yanagihara’s novel, squalor and degradation are the ruinous individual exception in a world of summer houses and talent and hard work that gets you somewhere; in Lish’s, they are the baseline condition of the life we have made on our planet.

June 29, 2015

Something You Can Use: The Writer’s Self-Healing Wound 4


A psychic wound can be its own healing agent, may itself contain a gift, and may offer a form of unexpected inspiration. Yet how to embrace this elusive not-damage within the wound?

June 25, 2015

Ancient Arts: On Independent Catholic Literature and Edward Mullany’s ‘The Three Sunrises’ 4


In the present literary moment, earnest religious belief is a subversive, counter-cultural move. God is not absent, but God seems more ironic metaphor than serious matter.

June 22, 2015

Pants on Fire: The Genre That Cannot Be Named 4


Inventing one composite kid from two could make the story stronger. Certainly it would make writing the story easier for me. I come in part from cheating stock — thieves, adulterers, at least two murderers, as far as I know. I was curious: Could I be a cheater, or, more precisely, a compositor, too?