Why does the mythological connection between suffering and creativity persist? Writers and other artists, AL Kennedy contends, should spend less time intent on suffering and more time intent on making things. See also our own Sonya Chung, on the new writerly happiness.
Thanks to her new book, Lydia Davis is getting a lot of well-deserved attention, including an interview with Salon this week. In conversation with Brendan Matthews, she reflects on her “letters of complaint,” her habit of juggling multiple projects and the effects of translating Proust on writing emails.
Half-meme, half-myth, ‘Slender Man’ came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet ‘evidence’. As one Something Awful blogger put it, “Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?” Very meta–and very scary, all over again.
The Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologisme – the division of the French government responsible for preserving the integrity of the Gallic language – ruled last week that enough is enough when it comes to “hashtag.” They feel the word is just too English for the banks of the Seine. They recommend instead using the decidedly softer “mot-dièse” (pro: ‘Mo-Dee-YEZ’). Previously the group asked residents to replace “email” with “courriel.”
“Now I wrote until near dawn, wanting a map of the literary nation, a beautiful evocation of how we are truly a nation of village and city and prairie and brownstone, of Rockies and bayous and mesas. Novels give to every reader someone else’s home. Can we not see this – we of wonder and grievance?” Susan Straight creates a map of America in 737 novels, prompting us to remember the perennial literary question: What is the greatest American novel?