Andrew Ervin interviewed Matt Bell for Tin House. Bell’s forthcoming novel In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and Woods will come out this summer. (Excerpt) It’s a book that was at least partially enhanced by Bell’s sense of “competition … of a useful kind” with his friend Robert Kloss. “I was so blown away [by Alligators of Abraham],” Bell admits, “that I can remember having to resist putting down his first novel to go make mine better.”
Wallace Shawn has written a new play, and it’s unsettling to watch. In it, a group of wealthy, middle-aged party hosts reveal their roles in a dystopian future, where political murders, random beatings and censorship are all commonplace. In an essay for The New York Review of Books, Francine Prose reviews the play in the context of Shawn’s other works.
December 26, 1962 marked the first time that Playboy Magazine ever used the phrase “turn-on.” Since then, humans have conceived of a remarkable variety of metaphor and colorful language in an attempt to try and make some sense of copulation. Over at Hazlitt, Chelsea G. Summers takes a close look at the increasingly electric language of sex. Unsurprisingly, sex is never far from the mind of a literary writer, either.
“The New York Times said goodbye to roughly a hundred editorial staffers, with a similar number gone from the Wall Street Journal. Condé Nast might be shuttering Details and Self and will possibly unleash a bloodbath in the fall. Time Inc., Meredith Corporation, and Prometheus Global Media—owner of the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard—and other outlets have all recently cut costs.” Noah Davis on online journalism and the current state of affairs for writers, over at The Awl. Pair with Kate Angus’s essay on making money as a poet.
Recommended Reading: this essay by Sophia Knight on why she decided to quit her high-stakes job as a corporate editor in favor of a more modest writer’s income. If it’s publishing stories you’re after, here’s an old Millions favorite on whether or not to self-publish.
David Foster Wallace wrote the best bitter takedown (PDF) of the cruise ship industry ever, but he only had to endure a 7-night vacation. Imagine his horror, then, if he had been forced to spend significant time on The World, a $20,000+/month ship that continuously circumnavigates the world and has permanent passengers in its 165 private residences. For a more detailed glimpse at life on board the ship, check out Anthony Bourdain’s Gourmet piece on his 2003 visit.