“If I could paint or compose music, I would want to finally arrive at what I felt was beauty for me and for others. I would trust that if I could make something that was beautiful, it would also be true, the way Charlie Parker is true or a Shostakovich cello concerto is true, and I feel the same way about writing. I try to make something beautiful out of language.” Fogged Clarity interviews Stuart Dybek about the writing process and Ecstatic Cahoots, which we mentioned in our 2014 Book Preview.
“Limits stop you from living a life without limits,” writes Augusten Burroughs. “Of course, this is only an illusion. What limits really do is give you an acceptable excuse to avoid doing something.” (He’s talking about life, not Oulipo.) The piece is excerpted from his recent book, This Is How.
Half-meme, half-myth, 'Slender Man' came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet 'evidence'. As one Something Awful blogger put it, "Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?" Very meta--and very scary, all over again.
"[I]n the days following the election, one thing became clear: many librarians are anxious about the future." From Carla Hayden to copyright reform, Publisher's Weekly has the top 10 library stories of 2016. Also recommended: a piece by Daniel Penev from our own pages earlier this year, about how libraries matter now more than ever.
Next Saturday I will be competing (fiercely, one hopes) in Scrabble For Cheaters, a charity tournament to benefit 826CHI, Chicago's chapter of the national creative writing organization (founded by Dave Eggers) that provides free tutoring, field trips, writing workshops and the like to over 4,000 Chicago students a year. To support their work, and augment my ability to cheat during the tournament, click here and scroll down to my team - The Dillon Panthers. Thanks!
If the idea of Rachael Ray as queen of the food world shivers your timbers, read no further: Gourmet magazine, until now stewarded by the excellent Ruth Reichl, will cease publication with the November issue, the NY Times reports. Condé Nast also gave the axe to Cookie, Elegant Bride, and Modern Bride. The print media mass grave fills apace...
“Better to close your eyes and carry on with your own work, pretending the master carpenter doesn’t exist.” Karl Ove Knausgaard reads Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission – one of the most anticipated books of 2015. Pair with this Millions essay on Knausgaard’s My Struggle.