Scientists confirmed recently that writers are more likely to struggle with mental illness (sometimes, as recently noted, due to syphilis). Since we’re so used to our alcoholic literary greats, and a smattering of suicidal ones (Plath, Woolf, Thompson, Wallace–and many more), this comes as no great surprise. On a happier note, a new study using fMRIs and MFA students has found that writers show different brain patterns than “normal people” just writing: in fact they resemble “expert” thinking patterns of all professionals doing what they’re best at–musicians, athletes, competitive Scrabble players. I don’t know if I’m happier to learn the fMRIs found no gaping black holes, or that MFAs do in fact teach you something.
“But poems are not poems if they make people feel dead. I want people to feel alive – even if it is alive with grief.” The Guardian profiles poet Danez Smith about poetry; race, gender, and queerness; and their poetry collection, Don’t Call Us Dead (a finalist for the National Book Award). Pair with: an essay on writing that gives shape and depth to victims of criminal injustice.
In an interview about her new book, The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name Is Jennifer Love Hewitt and I’m a Love-aholic, Jennifer Love had some rather startling advice for jilted young ladies: “After a breakup, a friend of mine Swarovski-crystalled my precious lady. It shined like a disco ball so I have a whole chapter in there on how women should vagazzle their vajayjays.”
Visual effects virtuoso Ray Harryhausen died this week at the age of 92. Harryhausen was first inspired to take up movie-making when he watched King Kong with his childhood friend Ray Bradbury, and his pioneering career spanned over forty years. Over at Vulture, you can check out a couple of his most well-known scenes. To my mind, though, his best work will always remain Galgo’s creepy, stretch-tastic wizard hand from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.