When spelling bees are so fun you think they might be your calling, it’s understandable that a serious loss might haunt you for quite some time.
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the “bleak precise nature” of Philip Larkin‘s poetry (what Stephen Akey called “The Poetry of Mental Unhealth” in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. “In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack.”
“Maurice Sendak drew his partner Eugene after he died, as he had drawn his family members when they were dying. The moment is one he was compelled to capture, pin down, understand, see. Where many— maybe most—people look away, he wanted to render. He was very wrapped up in the goodbye, the flight, the loss; it was almost Victorian, to be so deeply entranced with the moment of death, the instinct to preserve or document it. It’s also the artist’s impulse: to turn something terrible into art, to take something you are terrified of and heartbroken by and make it into something else. For the time it takes to draw what is in front of you, you are not helpless or a bystander or bereft: You are doing your job.” On Maurice Sendak and the art of death.
Is long form nonfiction returning to prominence and popularity? Folks at The LA Times‘ blog think so. Anna Clark has posted a list of recommended reading for aspiring nonfiction writers, too.
Would you rather be sentenced to almost eight years in prison or be forced to read Malcolm Gladwell? Convicted eco-terrorist Rebecca Rubin was sentenced to five years in prison and told to read Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The judge believes Rubin could learn non-violent protest from Gladwell. Pair with: Our own Michael Bourne’s review of the book.