Essays Archives - Page 2 of 111 - The Millions

August 29, 2017

Text Me: On New Technology in Fiction 21

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When writers incorporate new technology into their novels, they run the risk of dating themselves by writing about something that will soon become obsolete. Almost every writer and editor I contacted asked me how long I thought text messages would even be relevant. Would they soon be relics, a particular communication that we used only for a brief period of time?

August 28, 2017

What Gets Lost in Translation Gets Transformed 1

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One of the major reasons I found contemporary American short fiction boring in the past is that all that is left after the “move” of the story to Chinese is an undramatic plot.

August 23, 2017

I Don’t Read to Like 12

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“What do you like to read?” It’s a perfectly reasonable question, but it always makes me flinch.

August 22, 2017

Refusing to Look Away: On Leila Guerriero and Joan Didion 1

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We read writers like Guerriero and Didion so we don’t forget that looking at people is the most uncomfortable and powerful thing a writer can do.

August 21, 2017

When the Beasts Spoke: Thoreau and the Sound of America 0

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One of the pleasures of Walls’s Thoreau is seeing how Thoreau’s stubborn refusal to lead an ordinary life turned a bright, but otherwise rather ordinary young man into a great and original artist.

August 17, 2017

Revising the History of the Art Show Urinal 3

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It wasn’t even the piece that was groundbreaking—it was the narrative pushed to popularize it. Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was the truer Dadaist, but Duchamp the better marketer.

August 16, 2017

Listen My Dear Alones: Notes on Gina Berriault’s ‘Women in Their Beds’ 0

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Berriault must have known that good work, the best work, may not always pay the bills, but sometimes, if we’re lucky, it outlasts the counting.

August 14, 2017

I Don’t Love You, Toronto: On Books and Cities 8

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When anyone asked me why I was in Toronto, I’d say, “Love,” and then muse over the love I didn’t feel for the city after all these years of living here.

August 11, 2017

Writing My Way Home 6

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What Kansas City lacks in ocean views and crumbling old-world charm, it might make up for with a wide-open emptiness that practically begs to be filled. It’s all potential here.

August 10, 2017

You’re a Writer Now 37

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I was starting to lose hope. I was drinking too much wine as a way to temper the barrage of rejections cluttering my inbox, and as a result, I’d wake every morning at two or three or four and lie there, hungover and heart pounding, despairing that no one would ever love what I’d made.