Artist John Vernon Lord drew inspiration from Irish literature’s “books of the dark” to adapt James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake into a series of illustrated images. Over at The Guardian, Lord discusses how he developed some of his pages.
Over at Bloom, Dr. Francine Toder—a retired psychotherapist and author of The Vintage Years, who learned to play the cello in her 60s—writes about the neuroscience studies that support creative blooming in later life. Check out also this excerpt from The Vintage Years.
The debut issue of Candor magazine is like a Sassy for the intellectual set, rife with wit (Emily Gould and Merisa Meltzer discuss Away We Go), intelligence (writer mother Rachel Zucker and woman writer Sarah Manguso speak candidly about identity, motherhood, women’s prejudices and writing), and women’s rights (Atossa Abrahamian considers the rhetoric of the rape victim).
It’s a common trope in writing courses that young artists need a dose of childlike creativity. Self-help books for people with writer’s block are filled with callbacks to childhood interests. But is it possible, as Tasha Golden argues at the Ploughshares blog, that idealizing children isn’t the answer to our problems?
In the latest entry in By Heart, the Atlantic series we’ve written about a few times, Ben Marcus (who recently came out with a new book) reflects on the true meaning of the word “Kafkaesque.” Marcus interprets Kafka’s “A Message from the Emperor” as a parable about the difficulty of real human connection. (Related: there’s now a Kafka video game.)
Before his death of natural causes in 2008, Henry Gustave Molaison had the world’s most famous brain. At 27, Molaison permanently lost the ability to form new memories, which led to him spending the rest of his life in “thirty-second loops of awareness.” In the LRB, Mike Jay reviews a new book on Molaison, Permanent Present Tense.
In their closing statements, Russian dissidents du jour Pussy Riot cited the authors who inspired them and placed themselves in Russia’s rich history of imprisoning their artists. Also check out Carol Rumens’s excellent translation of the song that landed Pussy Riot in hot water.
The good souls at Longform.org have organized all of this year’s National Magazine Award winners.