Need to spice up your writing? Try one of McSweeney’s punctuation marks such as the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe, which likes “to ‘peace out’ of its obligation to indicate possession or contraction,” or the Academic Ellipsis, which “is used by those who wish to demonstrate just how much more they know about how to use ellipses than you do.”
Alexandra Alter interviews National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates about the success of Between the World and Me. As he puts it, “The best part of writing is really to educate yourself. I don’t want to be anybody’s expert. I came in to learn.” Pair with our own Sonya Chung’s Millions piece on Coates’s epistolary essay.
Want to be as brilliant as Jonathan Swift? Try reading Latin for ten hours a day. As this New Statesman review of Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World makes clear, the satirist went through a backbreaking classics regimen at Kilkenny College in Ireland. (There’s also the fact that he wrote constant letters to a sickly female confidante.)
“I’m writing about people. Man involved in the human dilemma, facing the problems bigger than he, whether he licks them or whether they lick him. But man as frail and fragile as he is, yet he will keep on trying to be brave and honest and compassionate, and that, to me, is very fine and very interesting — and that is the reason I think any writer writes.” William Faulkner on why writers write in a rare recording from the University of Virginia, via Brain Pickings.
“The most unfortunate / Thing about history / Is not pornos. No, it is how Americans / (And we were talking about men but may I take this opportunity / To be more inclusive, because inclusivity is in!) were once better than they are at present.” In which an imagined David Brooks writes a sestina about misogyny. Here’s a Millions piece in which the real-life Brooks is thought of not as a pariah, but as a harbinger of hope.