“There must be a cat. It must purr constantly.” Writers often have odd routines before they start writing. At McSweeney’s, John Babbott gives his outrageous demands. Pair with: Our piece on our quirky writing habitats and habits.
In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
If Claudia Rankine writes it, it’s safe to say I’d recommend it. Here she is in a long, lovely essay on Adrienne Rich and her poetic transformations.
In 2011, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind screenwriter Charlie Kaufman gave a 70-minute lecture at the BFI in London. Little did he know Eliot Rausch would take snippets from that lecture, set them to accompanying, complementary visual clips, and turn the entire thing into a marvelous, beautiful video entitled What I Have to Offer.
This just in! Senator Barack Obama has “palled around” with the notorious constitutionalist Richard Posner.The good folks at Hotel St. George Press interview Taryn Simon, the artist behind the brilliant Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.Jonathan Franzen’s remembrance of David Foster Wallace is quite moving……as are the Elizabeth Bishop stanzas that conclude this sterling essay on her lifelong correspondence with Robert Lowell.Alas, the only way to offer you recollections of the late George Plimpton was to link to The Daily Beast.That long profile in Rolling Stone of DFW by David Lipsky that everyone’s been talking about is now online.Venerable fishwrap The Christian Science Monitor goes online only with its daily edition.Ten of the best circadian novels: “novels that fit all their action into a single day.”Sarah Palin and code-switchingWe may never tire of “This Is Just to Say” parodies.Our revels, not quite ended?: Royal Shakespeareans read celebrity porno dialogue (headphones recommended for those at work).Half a year late, Russia! Magazine has made its translation guide to Russian literature available online.Over at More Intelligent Life, you can find an audio interview with a Booker Prize judge.Finally, MiL‘s parent publication, The Economist makes its endorsement.