What can we learn from anachronisms? That mistakes are “ultimately unavoidable – the best you can hope for is to keep them to a minimum and noticeable only by a tiny coterie of demanding experts” – and that if those mistakes are big enough, they can eventually turn into “enduring ideological constructs.”
Do you need a pot of coffee before you dive into writing every day? You’re just procrastinating and making yourself less creative. Writer Merrill Markoe did the same thing until she discovered that working right after she wakes up leads to the best creative writing. “Words come pouring out easily while my head still feels as if it is full of ground fog, wrapped in flannel and gauze, and surrounded by a hive of humming, velvety sleep bees.”
In another excellent essay from LARB’s new site, Morten Høi Jensen takes a close look at the work of Martin Amis to discuss the theme of masculinity, the arc of his oeuvre, the seductiveness of his distinct tone and the dangers of falling for it. For more on Amis, check out our expose of Invasion of the Space Invaders, the near-forgotten first work by Amis in which the young author details the gritty world of arcade gaming.
“I just didn’t see the textual evidence for it. If Mark Twain wanted to make somebody black, he would make them black. He was not shy about dealing with matters of race.” For The New Yorker, Mythili G. Rao on the complicated backstory to the upcoming publication of The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, a “new” children’s book by Mark Twain. See also: our consideration of Twain’s self-deprecating travelogue The Innocents Abroad.
All of us have particular words that we use a little too often. Writers tend to be embarrassed about their predilections for certain turns of phrase. At Slate, Matthew J.X. Malady reacts to the news that he uses iteration too much, and delves into the ways our verbal habits spread to others.