Essays Archives - Page 2 of 111 - The Millions

August 29, 2017

Text Me: On New Technology in Fiction 21


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


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


“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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.