Essays Archives - The Millions

October 17, 2017

The Uncomfortable Whiteness of Contemporary War Literature 0


One can hope that we might draw lessons from the Vietnam War’s legacy of near-erasure of non-white experiences; that the growth of veterans writing workshops and anthologies will represent to future generations a more complete picture of The Forever War.

October 16, 2017

What’s a Library to Do? On Homelessness and Public Spaces 3


A library is supposed to be a place for all people. But how does the library keep its doors open to all?

October 13, 2017

Plunging Into the Infinite: How Literature Captures the Essence of Chess 2


Fiction has the unparalleled ability to grant us insight into a character’s psyche. It is therefore uniquely qualified to explore the nature of chess itself.

October 12, 2017

How I Finished My Novel by Moving to Berlin, Playing Pokémon Go, and Walking a Dog Named Lenny 1


I wanted to see if Pokémon Go could work as a kind of therapy by sending me to obscure locations, rewarding me for doing the opposite of what my inner monologue would normally tell me to do.

October 11, 2017

Write What You Know? Identity Politics and Fiction 1


If it weren’t so illustrative of the loaded identitarian schism at the heart of leftist politics, it would make for the perfect right-wing conspiracy: not only have well-meaning liberals become too PC, they are now roundly dismissed as blinkered by the same folks whose ire they hoped to deflect in the first place.

October 6, 2017

In Defense of Autodidacticism 2


Autodidacticism, I felt, was something miraculous, a mark of irrepressible curiosity, a way of slicing through disciplinary borders.

October 5, 2017

Adapting the Bard: On the Hogarth Shakespeare Project’s Diversity Problem 0


It is disappointing when a project aims to see “the Bard’s plays retold by acclaimed, bestselling novelists and brought to life for a contemporary readership,” yet the writers selected are not ultimately representative of all that contemporary society has to offer.

October 3, 2017

Women Who Want Out 1


Shafrir, Lacey, and Nutting have written novels about women who just want out: of their love lives, their work lives, and the networks that startup culture has engineered to broker mergers between the two. Please, they are saying. Stop it. Leave us alone.

September 29, 2017

The Creative Life: How We Do It (Any Way We Can) 4


We’re everywhere.  Poets and children’s book writers.  Novelists and memoirists.  Painters and sculptors, dancers and actors. We clean your teeth, snake the clogs in your drain, and drop off color copies to your desk during the week. 

September 26, 2017

Art of War: The Legacy of Michael Herr 12


Dispatches is Herr’s final draft—he never came back and said, “What I meant was…,” or judged his experience against another’s, or said “I told you so.” I am envious of that ability to take himself out of the game.