Following the example of Flaubert, whose Dictionary of Received Ideas compiled the clichés of its day, Teju Cole set out on Monday to record his own clichés on Twitter. At Page-Turner, he sums up his experiment in a blog post. (You may recall that this is not the first time Cole has won acclaim for his Twitter account.)
“I feel nothing. I think: What an ugly place for it to happen. I call it The Accident. I didn’t hear, or see, or feel any of it, or if I did, I stored it somewhere irretrievable even to me.” Gloria Harrison‘s essay “Where the Highway Splits” stuns over at The Rumpus.
Freedom the program might not actually be so freeing: “It has been argued that a chronic fever of distraction and fascination arrives on waves of Wi-Fi to stunt our attention spans, encouraging writers to paddle about, tweeting and liking, instead of striking out for deeper waters…” But maybe writers need distraction, after all. (Then again: a detox might do you good.)
Ultra-niche magazines operate a bit differently than their larger and more mainstream cousins. Magazines like Donkey Talk, which caters exclusively to donkey hobbyists, aim for tiny audiences of a few hundred to a few thousand readers. They also cultivate their own jargon — one magazine, The Mountain Astrologer, tosses the word “quincunx” around as casually as “email.”
Over at Ploughshares, Daniel Peña traces a parallel between Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Gloria Anzaldúa’s hybrid text Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. As he puts it, “To separate Anzaldúa from the larger canon (and subsequently from those books she influenced) is to ignore her contribution to American literature. It’s to say she doesn’t belong in that kind of highbrow conversation, which she so obviously does—even Nelson acknowledges that she does.”