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Tag Archives: writing
Is it art? Is this the sort of art one passes by impatiently as not really art? Notice that it has no conventional images in it, such as, say, a Madonna with child. Where Mary and the baby Jesus might … Continue reading
Two horses–look again– Winged, like cherubim– Watering at a marble trough, Ivy in riot about them. Reality? Silence, bones Saline, a coffin–not a trough– And a tale in the main that Had been uneven, rough, harsh. I’d have done it differently. This … Continue reading
For me, I get writing energy from other people, responding to what they have to say (or to questions they might pose). If they respond again in turn, I hope to be surprised by the angle they take in the … Continue reading
___________ James Baldwin was born in August of 1924, so if he were still alive (he died at the age of 63 in 1987), he would have turned 90 this year. And I love this quote of his from chapter … Continue reading
One thing that college is about is learning to assert yourself in writing and speech–to tell others what you think–and below is an exceptionally inspiring TED talk by Harvard professor Amy Cuddy for getting yourself in the bodily and mental … Continue reading
David Rakoff wrote a whole novel in sing-song rhyme, like a Dr. Seuss book, and it has just been posthumously published. Not sure I like it, but below is a sample. I do like this couplet late in the recording, … Continue reading
Imitation and emulation. The ancient Greek teacher Longinus is among the first persons to address what would become a recurrent theme in the history of rhetoric and literary criticism: the sublime (elevated emotion; ecstasy). His reflections on the sublime can … Continue reading
__________ Once you perceive that you are flung into a cosmos in which God is dead (or silent), and your ultimate questions are unlikely ever to be answered, it’s time to stop worrying about who or where you are really—what the truth is—and just, say, make lion-man totems … Continue reading
A key element in Charles Darwin’s thought is that survival and the opportunity to reproduce attends the fittest and the sexiest. Think about this Darwinian insight in relation to your writing: what would a Darwinian reading of your story notice? … Continue reading
That’s the thesis of classicist, philosopher, and legal scholar Martha Nussbaum (b. 1947) in her essay, “The Narrative Imagination” (1997). How is it good for you? On Nussbaum’s account, it expands and trains your noticing, theorizing, and moral capacities. Here’s a … Continue reading
For Edmund Burke (1729-1797), in his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757), our strongest emotions are associated with danger, pain, and fear (most particularly the fear of death, the “king of … Continue reading
In 1757, the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) published four essays under the title, Four Dissertations, one of which he called “Of the Standard of Taste.” In it, Hume attempts to tackle the question of why people vary in opinion … Continue reading
Want to write better than you do? Consider trying these four ancient tricks: Focus on the sublime. The Greek writer, Longinus (first century CE), is among the first persons to address what would become a recurrent theme in the history … Continue reading
At Dissent, Morris Dickstein worries about whether literary book culture will survive the Internet, and says the following about blogs: [I]t’s striking that there are twenty successful political blogs for each effective literary blog. With all due respect to Critical … Continue reading
The author of Lone Wolf doesn’t believe in writer’s block: I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it—when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper … Continue reading
Leon Wieseltier, annoyed by what he regards as a dreadful translation of the Haggadah, offers an important distinction for would-be translators to consider: All translation is interpretation, since it is a choice among meanings; but translation is not the same … Continue reading
Art, by my definition, is a report of what the lightning said. It’s bound up with the ontological mystery (the mystery of being itself); an artist’s attempt to represent to others an experience of that mystery (what it feels like … Continue reading
Accompanied by a black and white dog, a huntress, not young, steps from a blue grove into the dawn light. It’s spring; we are outside of Athens in 508 BC. Pericles will not be born for another 13 years. The … Continue reading