Let the Great World Spin author (and one of today’s YiR2011 writers!) Colum McCann had some inspiring words for this year’s crop of Boston College freshmen. “There’s a degraded discourse around the notion of optimism these days that says there is something soft about being an optimist—something wrong,” he said. “It claims that optimism has no edge, as if it’s less than complete, less than the full deck of knowledge. The optimist is cartooned into the corner with an idiotic grin. I submit to you that none of that is true.”
Tom McCormack is midway through a three-part series on internet artwork, but not the kind involving Photoshop and GIFs. After exploring the history and usage of emoticons in part one of his series, McCormack traces the roots of ASCII artwork back to Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1918 book Calligrammes. Stay tuned for the conclusion soon: a look at the history of emoji.
Paris Review co-founder Peter Matthiessen will publish a new novel in the spring of next year. Matthiessen, who won the National Book Award in 2008 for his last novel, Shadow Country, said the new novel centers on “a weeklong meditation retreat at the site of a World War II concentration camp.”