At the New York Times Magazine, poet Victoria Chang discusses with Malia Wollan the art of the obituary poem, as seen in her newest collection, Obit, a memorial to the dead and a reflection on grief. “’There’s a lot of humor and oddity, strange tensions and funny stuff about people and the things they do together,’ Chang says. Obituaries, even simple ones, remind us of our briefness. After watching her mother die, Chang understood in a visceral way for the first time that she, too, would die. She thinks that if people spent more time acknowledging their mortality they’d live differently — kinder, more present. Writing an obituary can be a wake-up call. ‘This person is dead,” Chang says. “You’re alive.’”
From Lev Grossman’s blog, “A Brief Taxonomy of Writers”: “As far as I can tell there are two kinds of fiction writers: those who read no fiction while they write, and those who constantly read fiction while they write. Let’s have cute names for them. We’ll call them Soloists and Thieves.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? / Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long,” crooned Brian Wilson in The Beach Boys’ 1966 hit “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” The song went on to become the title of Wilson’s autobiography. Now, over half a century later, the crew is finally older, and fans hoping for a reunion won’t have to “wait so long” because the band’s officially announced an upcoming 50th anniversary tour.
“Did you know that alcohol originally meant eyeshadow, clouds were rocks or that a moment once lasted precisely 90 seconds?” From The Guardian, 10 words that no longer mean what they used to. And if you enjoy that trip down etymology lane, you’ll probably also dig this week’s piece about the curse words of Charles Dickens.