Is it just a kind of literary Stockholm Syndrome? This essay from Electric Literature explores why writing students idolize such horrible mentors. For more on what it means to be a mentor, here’s an essay from The Millions.
“Even after I realize that we are being robbed, that bullets can shatter glass, that being locked in is no help in this situation, I still feel a vague resentment at having to hand the laptop over. It’s mine. It contains my work, a week of writing, a month or more of photography, personal information. I have hesitated only a few seconds but feel as though I have just woken from a trance: briefly, I imagined myself with a bullet in my thigh, imagined myself bleeding out in traffic in Ojota.” At Granta, Teju Cole writes about living in Lagos.
We’ve been discussing the changing nature of the English language a lot here this week (from the rise of public English to the acceptance of “like”), but if there is one thing that’s consistent in language, it’s the word “huh.” Linguists have studied 31 languages that all contain the interjection, making it one of the first universal words.
“Kill ‘Em and Leave is [James] McBride’s own testament to [James] Brown’s philosophy. It’s a stunningly unorthodox book, indifferent to the conventions of biographical nonfiction … The book is a hybrid of forms, largely a telling of Brown’s life story and partly a telling of McBride’s search for that story, with digressions about the author’s own life, essayistic ruminations on Brown and his music, and free, looping riffs that have the energy of improvisation.” On James McBride’s unusual, unorthodox biography of the unusual, unorthodox James Brown.
Sara Nović writes for The Believer about the deaf protagonist of Stephen King’s The Stand. As she explains it, “This is the plight of the average deaf character: to be plagued by the hearing author’s own discomfort with the idea of silence.” Pair with Lydia Kiesling’s Millions essay on King.
“There needs to be a literary Juneteenth. We can’t rely on publications and presses that have, through the actions and complicity of their leadership, proven oppressive. For history to avoid repeating itself, we need to define sustainability for ourselves. This could mean expanding existing infrastructure, forming new platforms, or simply self-publishing. None of those things are as easy as plugging into what already exists, but given the state of the field, there needs to be a deep interrogation of what already exists to see if it truly values us, sees us.” Casey Rocheteau on the restorative justice of publishing, over at The Offing.