“Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill.” The Atlantic has an excellent contribution to the age-old thesis that creativity and madness are inextricably linked–and tied, moreover, to mental illness–based in part on a sample of students at Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Pair with another essay on creativity and the “touch of madness” from our own archives.
I’m not that into ballet, but if I had to be, I’d be into 1,000 frame-per-second footage of German ballet dancers prancing around to a dance-y remix of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place.”
Broke New York writers – by which we mean, New York writers – take note: the city’s Department of Housing is allotting a small number of $1,022 two-bedroom apartments to working artists through a convenient online application. (If that’s too rich for your blood, though, we’ve also noted previously that Write a House is giving away free houses to writers in Detroit.)
Another bumper crop of books this week is led by J.K Rowling’s post-Potter effort, The Casual Vacancy is on shelves, as are May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes, Canvas by Benjamin Stein, Panorama City by Antoine Wilson, Sutton by J.R. Moehringer, Tarun J. Tejpal’s debut The Story of my Assassins. On the non-fiction side, Nate Silver’s long-awaited The Signal and the Noise is here, as is Neil Young’s memoir Waging Heavy Peace. New in paperback: John Warner’s Funny Man (the edition includes an essay by Warner that ran on The Millions) and Emma Donoghue’s blockbuster The Room.
“Yes, he cheated, he cracked up, he was irresponsible and even cruel in the way he marshaled his life for his art. Lowell nonetheless believed that women were his intellectual and artistic equals. He spent most of his life behaving accordingly even as he treated his wives and mistresses so terribly, in romantic terms, that it was almost operatic. That is the puzzle of Robert Lowell and women.” It’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but this piece on the inarguably tumultuous relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick is sure to make you feel something.
“American television has been a juvenile medium for most of its existence,” David Simon tells Salon. This defense of ‘Treme’ was published three days after David Thier called the show “deeply boring” in The Atlantic. “There is nothing New Orleans loves so much as New Orleans” Thier says, “but the show can’t get past the desire to be authentic.” Sarah Broom, during last May’s PEN World Voices Festival, said “this ‘love of place’ is really just from people who are stuck in a lots of ways.” But hey, at least the show’s attention to detail is admirable.
There’s a tiff going on between Ursula le Guin and Kazuo Ishiguro. After le Guin accused Ishiguro of “despising” the fantasy genre, following an interview with the Times in which he wondered aloud if his readers would be prejudiced against his latest book, Ishiguro defended himself, claiming that he is “firmly on the side of the ogres and the pixies.” You can read a full rundown in The Guardian.