Thanks to an onslaught of comment spam, which until now I’ve been dealing with manually, I’ve decided to turn on Blogger’s “word verification” to put a stop to it. It’s annoying because it adds an extra step to commenting here, but it’s the best solution right now. If a better way of dealing with the spam problem comes along, I’ll switch it off. For now though, it’s been added to the Commenting at The Millions primer (if anyone needs a refresher.)
Mrs. Millions and I will be departing tomorrow for a trip to Greece and Turkey. Of all the many things to be excited about, we are most excited about the food. And in Turkey, we will have a local tour guide in the form of Emre, our longtime Turkish correspondent here at The Millions.We’re trying to travel very light, just a backpack each, and that doesn’t leave much room for reading material. We allowed ourselves to each select a paperback (and a magazine or two) and presumably we will swap the paperbacks if we finish them before our trip is over. Mrs. Millions is bringing The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, and I have decided to read Maqroll for a second time. I’m also bringing the latest New Yorker, which is, regrettably, the Style Issue.While I’m gone, the rest of the gang at The Millions will be taking over. See you soon!
You may have noticed that I spent the long weekend (which for me is one day longer thanks to the national day of mourning for President Ford) updating the look of the site. I hope it’s easy on the eyes. However, if you can’t find something you’re looking for, or if I’ve inadvertently broken something, please let me know.In addition to the superficial changes, I’ve also adjusted the site to allow for our contributors – there will soon be six of them – to post directly to the blog, which, I’m hoping, will up the level of discourse even further. So, all in all, 2007 should be a good year for The Millions. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.
I know that last year I expressed profound ambivalence about attending BEA, but in the end I’ve decided to go this year for a few reasons: It’s in NYC, giving me the opportunity to see the numerous family and friends I have there; I’ll get to meet up with some of the many cool people I met last year; Millions contributors Garth and Noah, NYC natives, will be along for the ride.So, with that out of the way, let me tell you where we’ll be. The Millions and many other litbloggers and literary luminaries will be at Kettle of Fish on 59 Christopher St. Thursday (tomorrow) from 8-11pm for the Litblog Co-op party. Come by and say hi.The rest of our schedule, as best I can tell, is fairly wide open, but if there’s an event we should know about, email me to let us know.
It was my pleasure to do a half-hour interview with Dorian on WFMU-FM’s “The Speakeasy” last night. Our talk ranged from A Field Guide to the North American Family to Julio Cortazar to print vs. online to James Wood (natch). Check it out at www.wfmu.org/playlists/SE, where you’ll also find interviews with Lawrence Wright and Charles D’Ambrosio, among others. (Segment starts at 27:00, following…that’s right…Ashford & Simpson!)
I’ve been teaching fiction writing out of my apartment for over a year now. Seven people show up to my place once a week to eat some gourmet cheese, drink some wine (or sparkling water), and talk about fiction writing. It’s been terrific to explore craft topics with such a diverse group of Angelenos; my students range in age from 24 to 57, and, when they’re not writers, they are painters, actors, therapists, vineyard owners, producers, nannies, midwives, and so on. I always try to balance the intensity of our critique sessions (because they are intense – this ain’t no touchy-feely love fest) with discussions of published work (for how can you write if you don’t read?) and writing exercises (which are either loved or hated, depending on the student). Teaching inspires and challenges me, and it keeps me writing – for how could I present myself as a voice of authority if I weren’t committed to the art form?This November, I’m trying my hand at a weekend seminar, called Introduction to Fiction Writing. It’s designed for new writers, but I plan for it to be useful to more experienced writers as well, those who want to revisit technique and gather new material. If you’re an L.A. reader of The Millions, perhaps you’ll join me?Here’s the course description:In this seminar, we will explore the major tenets of fiction writing, including characterization, narrative voice, prose style, point of view, scene and summary, dialogue, and structure. Over the course of the seminar, we will continually return to certain questions: How can we use language to capture the uncapturable? How can a bunch of words on the page move us, make us understand what it means to be human? How can form and technique help us to improve as writers? In an attempt to answer these questions, we will look to published fiction for guidance, and dive into various writing exercises. Students will leave the seminar with the beginnings of several promising projects, as well as the skills to follow through with them.When: Saturday 11/17 and Sunday 11/18, 10:30-12:30 and 1:30-3:30 pm each day7 student maximum enrollmentThe course will take place in Los FelizCourse fee: $110Email me at [email protected] for more information.
This position has been closed.
The Millions seeks an extremely part-time intern or interns to help out around the virtual office with a couple of specific tasks. This is an exciting opportunity to get to know the literary internet and engage with a readership that boasts a laundry list of influential, brilliant folks in publishing, media, and academia — not to mention the most engaged, avid readers you’ll find anywhere.
We are looking for someone who can help us with a few specific things for 1-2 hours per week:
Maintaining our (already extant) prize calendar and writing very short paid prize posts (i.e., announcements of shortlists and winners of major literary prizes), averaging two posts per month
Working with our social media editor to schedule gems from The Millions’ extensive back catalog and populate an archive of social media posts
Scheduling a handful of weekend “Curiosities” and Tweets
A voracious reader with a solid knowledge of contemporary fiction
A culture vulture and up to date on the literary/arts issues of the day
An engaging writer both under and over 140 characters
Very organized, responsive, and able to make the most of your time with not a lot of oversight
The Millions has no dedicated office, so this is a remote position and can be done from anywhere in the world.
The internship does not come with a stipend. However, prize posts are paid, and you will have the opportunity to pitch and write pieces for the site and be paid as a staff writer.
Please send the following materials to [email protected]. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.
Three sample Curiosities.
Twitter account(s) you use; any Facebook pages you’ve had the opportunity to run; your Tumblr, blog, etc. (Essentially, show us that you have experience using these tools, even if it’s just your own sparsely followed, but very entertaining Twitter account.)
The deadline is Tuesday, August 22. We look forward to hearing from you!
Image credit: Flickr, brizzlebornandbred