If you’re struggling with your writing, turn to biographies of famous authors. This is Tom Perrotta’s cure for writer’s block. “It’s inspiring to read about a flawed human being who struggled with his or her demons and afflictions, experienced paralyzing episodes of failure or self-doubt, but somehow managed to do the work anyway, and produce something that enriched the world. That’s my version of self-help,” he said in a New York Times “By the Book” interview.
China Miéville on apocalyptic London for The New York Times Magazine: “Standing so straight on a raised dais, in so immaculate a uniform that he looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy, the Metropolitan Police Service’s new commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, tells the conference in an avuncular voice about his plan for ‘total policing. ‘ He is enthusiastic but nebulous. Details are vague.”
Why do the British tell the best children’s stories? Perhaps because their culture has remained in touch with its pagan folklore, whereas in the United States, more pragmatic tales of morality, Christian obedience, and bootstrap-lifting rose to prominence. Also, picture books: general good thing for children or roadmap to total the moral collapse of society?