Birthday Ritual: Bareknuckle Piñata Boxing
Teach the Books, Touch the Heart →
We’d just finished John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” When we read the end together out loud in class, my toughest boy, a star basketball player, wept a little, and so did I. “Are you crying?” one girl asked, as she crept out of her chair to get a closer look. “I am,” I told her, “and the funny thing is I’ve read it many times.” But they understood. When George shoots Lennie, the tragedy is...
In Defense of Unduplicable Moments
We’re not here to capture an image, we’re here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it? An accumulation of nameless energies.--Don DeLillo, from White Noise To be not a man, but the projection of another man’s dreams—what an incomparable humiliation, what vertigo!—Jorge Luis Borges, from The Circular Ruins Tupac. Coachella. Hologram....
We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm...– Ernest Hemingway, from A Moveable Feast
James Thurber on Exclamation Marks →
Don’t use an exclamation mark in a moment of anger. If you insert one in a fit of temper, lay aside the letter until morning. You will be surprised how silly it will seem then — not only the exclamation mark but the whole letter. That brings us to the colon, or if it doesn’t, we’ll drag in the colon. It is my contention that a colon could almost always be used in place of an exclamation point. Its...
The Tension of Stacked Parentheses →
There are no precise rules about punctuation (Fowler lays out some general advice (as best he can under the complex circumstances of English prose (he points out, for example, that we possess only four stops (the comma, the semicolon, the colon and the period (the question mark and exclamation point are not, strictly speaking, stops; they are indicators of tone (oddly enough, the Greeks employed...
Exsultate, Jubilate →
By Elizabeth Bachner In life people drift more, there’s less closure, there’s less follow-up, there’s even more murkiness — which is a lot of murkiness. Novels have a terrible intimacy no matter what — because of what’s exposed when you write one. Because of what happens when you read one. Because of all the people involved in getting the novel from me to you or from you to me,...
Will Oldham Speaks (T Magazine) “I’ve always loved ‘Bat out of Hell.’ Have you ever had a motorcycle wreck? Has Meat Loaf? I don’t think so.” The Riches of White Trash (The Millions) I’ve traveled around the world, but nowhere — not in the hills of Burma, not on the streets of Detroit, Singapore, Havana, Hamburg, Hanoi, or the New York barrio where I now live — nowhere have I encountered...