Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken, discusses her life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. “I’m looking for a way out of here. I can’t have it physically, so I’m going to have it intellectually. It was a beautiful thing to ride Seabiscuit in my imagination.”
How do you know when you’re finished writing a novel? Electric Literature’s advice column, The Blunt Instrument, tackles the timeless questions of how to begin and when to end. If it’s endings you’re after, this piece from The Millions on writers and last lines will help give you some closure.
“Over three decades of almost constant composing and recording, he would amass over sixty LPs, running the gamut from early records with his band the Mothers of Invention that helped to create the milieu we think of as the Sixties, to caustic send-ups of that same counterculture, doo-wop pastiche, tape cut-ups, film scores, gonzo cabaret, big-band charts, way out prog, show tunes, music composed entirely on and for the Synclavier digital sampler, full-score orchestral music, and thousands of scabrous, exploratory guitar solos.” On Frank Zappa, music theory wizard and occasional public intellectual.
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska’s prairies played in Willa Cather’s writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. “From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. “
You may have read Darcey Steinke’s Year in Reading piece, or perhaps one of her articles here at The Millions. Or else you might have read — or at least heard about — her recent novel, Sister Golden Hair. Either way, you should read this interview at The Rumpus, in which she talks about Virginia, femininity and books that have too much plot.
From Werner Herzog’s letter to Rosalina, the woman he employs to keep his house: “Music is futile and malicious. So please, if you require entertainment while organizing the recycling, refrain from the ‘pop radio’ I was affronted by recently. May I recommend the recitation of some sharp verse. Perhaps by Goethe. Or Schiller. Or Shel Silverstein at a push.”
Like writing personal essays? Want to get one published on The Hairpin? Sign up for the Skillshare class Writing Personal Essays that Get Read (taught by Friendship author and Year in Reading alum Emily Gould) and you might have your essay chosen for a feature on the site. The class is included with Skillshare membership ($10 per month). Better yet: the first 50 readers of The Millions to click here can sign up for free.
“This year, Free Comic Book Day turns sixteen years old. The good news: It can drive itself to swim practice now!” NPR’s Monkey See blog provides an irreverent and useful guide to Free Comic Book Day, which is tomorrow, May 6th. “When you read a comic, you are accepting a direct message from one singular honest soul,” Paul Morton wrote in our own pages a few years back.