“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.
Wole Soyinka does not approve of the push for Chinua Achebe to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize for Literature, and he doesn’t appreciate fan letters asking for his support to that end. “How did creative valuation descend to such banality?” Soyinka remarks in an interview with SaharaReporters. “Do these people know what they’re doing – they are inscribing Chinua’s epitaph in the negative mode of thwarted expectations. I find that disgusting.”
Is it possible you have a binge reading disorder? It might seem ridiculous, but there’s mounting evidence that the Internet, which allows us to read far more than we ever have, is creating a world in which we constantly read but retain very little. Nikkitha Bakshani takes a look at the evidence for The Morning News.
“The lie I told most often in my twenties during the Reagan era was that I liked other people’s children although I didn’t intend to have my own.” For The Rumpus, Kyoko Mori writes an essay on the choice to raise animals instead of children. Pair with: an essay on the complexities of motherhood.
In The New York Times Magazine, Heather Havrilesky cautions against “The Divorce Delusion,” or one of modern drama’s most unrealistic tropes. “Infidelity, a love child (or two), dalliances with prostitutes, lewd online behavior; we’ve watched so many spouses bounce back from hell,” she writes, “that maybe we’re beginning to believe that there’s no trauma so great that it can’t be quickly metabolized into a courageous determination to sally forth against the storm.”
“I am lately returned from a pilgrimage, bearing bloodied knees and a holy relic; my destination was a place of love and sacrifice that’s lived long in my heart. No Lourdes for me, though: I went to the Reichenbach Falls.” Sarah Perry makes a pilgrimage to the death place of Sherlock Holmes and writes about it for the Guardian.
“Reading fiction is one of my true loves, but essays help me to understand things about the world, the writer, and if they’re really great, myself.” Electric Literature‘s Jason Diamond argues 2014 was “The Year of the Essay,” and when we think over the collections published this year – The Empathy Exams, The Unspeakable and Loitering, among others – it’s hard to disagree.