Essays Archives - Page 81 of 110 - The Millions

March 8, 2011

Grief, the Cruel and Fickle Muse 21


Grief, all of a sudden, is hot.  Books by authors who have lost a loved one are becoming so common they’re now a classifiable snowflake in the unending blizzard of memoirs.

March 4, 2011

Zooming Out: How Writers Create Our Visual Grammar 19


Think of the long list of visual cues we take for granted. How do we know, without struggling to process the fact, that a scene shot from three angles by three cameras is the same scene? How can we tell the difference in emotional register between a series of rapid-fire cuts and a single, slow, agonizing take?

March 3, 2011

Are You, Or Have You Ever Been, a Jewish Writer? 16


We were called up, one after another, and allotted two minutes each.  They sat in front of us, mostly late-middle aged, mostly female, presumably Jewish, all of them with reading glasses and notebooks—the scariest possible bar mitzvah crowd, deciding whom to invite to speak to their particular audiences, in San Diego or Palm Springs or Shaker Heights.

March 1, 2011

Insidious Devices: An Introduction to ‘The Late American Novel’ 9


The written word’s last big format change turned out to be a pretty big deal, fomenting revolutions and laying the groundwork for civil society, the scientific revolution, and nothing less than modernity itself.

February 25, 2011

The Great Divide: Writing Across Gender 20


Do we ever really “forget” the author? Does she ever truly recede when we are reading gender-crossing works? Do we necessarily want her to?

February 24, 2011

Modes of Imagining the Writer of the Future 7


The writer of the future will crouch in wind-swept aeries miles above the electronic din of the modern world, crafting feathers out of the leaves of old books.

February 24, 2011

The Pen, Mightier 36


We care about what our words look like because we somewhere believe that this says something about who we are beyond font or scrawl.

February 23, 2011

The Gospel According to Girl: A Profile of Blake Nelson 7


For a certain type of girl wending her way through adolescence in the mid 1990s, the bible was a paperback novel with a hot pink spine. It was Blake Nelson’s debut and it was called, aptly, Girl.

February 15, 2011

To Blurb or Not to Blurb? 29


This seemingly innocent question was put to me for the first time a couple of weeks ago when a paperback review copy of a non-fiction book arrived in my mailbox.

February 10, 2011

MFA Grads and Former Acrobats: Approaches to the Author Bio 37


The truth is, every published writer has been faced with summing themselves up in just a few sentences. It’s not easy, and a bio isn’t a fixed thing–or at least not until you’re dead. Until then, it (hopefully) evolves with each new publication, each year lived. The decision of what to include and exclude persists throughout one’s career.