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David Sedaris: “I’d rather go to an actual shop. I want beauty in my life. I want charm.”

June 14, 2014

musing

SedarisDuo

Photo by Hugh Hamrick

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, the latest essay collection from humorist David Sedaris, is now out in paperback. As we stacked it on the shelves last week, we remembered how much fun we had with Sedaris during his visit to Parnassus last year. We decided it was time to catch up with one of our very favorite authors.

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Writing for free.

June 4, 2014

Calle Nine

Help

Poverty and literature have always been emaciated bedfellows. The trouble writing spawns can take the form of anything from wasted years with miserable, underpaid day jobs to fatal doses of hubris and sleep deprivation. Perversely, real misery is often thought to be an integral rite of passage for serious artists, which can be a lethal misconception. If it’s any good it must be suffered for, or so the fable goes. Here’s Melville at sea, Rimbaud the vagabond, Kafka the clerk, Joyce the cheat, Faulkner the postman, Bolaño the drifter. All of them illustrious masculine myths: the stories certain writers tell themselves when they doubt the mundane sacrifices they choose to inflict upon themselves.

The digital realm has certainly complicated the ritual of this self-infliction. A recent article in the Guardian highlights the dwindling advances paid by publishers struggling in the ebook era with a predictable gasp of apocalypticism. Meanwhile…

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The 25 Greatest Homes in Literature

June 4, 2014

Memorable homes in literature. What a great idea!

Flavorwire

Great characters in literature get all the credit, but the fictional spaces they occupy are often just as interesting and can provide an opportunity for the reader to go even deeper into a story. What would some of your favorite stories be without the creepy old farmhouses, crumbling castles, and estates overlooking a body of water whose waves crash against the rocks at night? Today, as we celebrate the birthday of Daphne du Maurier — a writer who gave us one of the 20th century’s most unforgettable grand old homes, in Rebecca — we’re rounding up the most memorable structures that served as settings for some of our favorite stories.

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On coping with writer’s block (or the lies we tell ourselves along the way)

June 4, 2014

Black coffee and cigarettes

writing 2

I haven’t written for a very long time.

I joined a creative writing class a while ago to help me through my ‘writer’s block’ – can you call yourself a writer if you don’t write? – and I managed to produce a total of 500 words over the entire four-week course. A paltry amount by any standards, though the course itself was brilliant.

One of the suggestions from my fellow writers was to write about why I don’t write. I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasons I don’t write lately so this seemed as good a place to kick off my writing again as any. And also address why I call myself a writer in the first place – a hard sell in the writing void of the last few months.

In my professional life, I have been a public relations consultant, a journalist and now, an editor. Words…

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Maya & Me & Maya

May 30, 2014
Via Sydney Clark

Via Sydney Clark

Maya & Me & Maya

Charles Blow writes in the New York Times about What Maya Angelou Meant to Me

I have a group of writers I call my literary mothers and fathers: Alice Walker and James Baldwin and Toni Morrison and Alex Haley and Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes. And yes, Maya Angelou.

This is not because I knew them, but rather because, through their words, they have nurtured me, inculcating in me a sense of myself that sustains me. They helped me to see myself and love myself when I felt least seen and least loved.

They saved me.

If you are a writer, this is really a worthwhile read. It is a worthwhile read even if you are not a writer yourself.

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To Read is to Fly

May 5, 2014
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Writers who?

March 27, 2014