spliced comma

a blog about books and their desire to be loved

Tag: writing

The Letter Where Adrienne Rich Declines The National Medal

Over at Brain Pickings, they have reproduced Adrienne Rich’s letter to President Clinton and The National Endowment for the Arts, where she declines her National Medal for the Arts award. The letter is short, but has powerful paragraphs like this one:

There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice. But I do know that art—in my own case the art of poetry—means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage. The radical disparities of wealth and power in America are widening at a devastating rate. A President cannot meaningfully honor certain token artists while the people at large are so dishonored.

There is also audio of Rich reading the letter on Democracy Now‘s radio show.

Listening to Good Writing: The Case of Zinsser and This American Life

We can love a book for so many reasons, but one of them, maybe the essential one, is good writing. But good writing does not necessarily have to be printed in a book, and it does not even need to be read. William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, an acclaimed book that was mentioned in an earlier post, has come to learn this truth at the age of 90. The New York Times recently published an article about Zinsser, whose eyesight has now been significantly damaged from glaucoma. Although no longer able to read himself, Zinsser now meets writers in one-on-one sessions in order to listen to works in progress. Read the rest of this entry »

Reasons to Read The Works of Lewis Mumford

To me, Lewis Mumford is a lot like Stefan Zweig. When he was alive, Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular German language writers–his amazing autobiography, The World Of Yesterday, reads like a who’s who of early twentieth century European literature. Today, Zweig is relatively unknown. He is certainly not remembered and admired in the same way as Hermann Hesse, Gunter Grass or Thomas Mann (yes, a Nobel Prize is the common denominator of their lasting fame). Lewis Mumford, when he was alive, was prolific: he was a columnist for The New Yorker and he wrote over two dozen books, many of which are over four hundred pages in length. Mumford is today, in comparison to Herbert Marcuse and Marshal McLuhan, a lesser known theorist of technology and modern society. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

drunk irish

Sláinte

porter

 

From Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds:

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

When money’s tight and is hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say that you need a change,
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

In time of trouble and lousy strife,
You have still got a darlint plan,
You still can turn to a brighter life —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

Norm MacDonald’s Tip For Hopeful Writers

On the internet, there is no shortage of writing tips from established writers. Yet, few poke fun at the serious intensity through which the advice about writing is given. Here, to add some levity and playfulness,  is Norm MacDonald telling a story about him and the late Drake Sather:

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004)

cloud

While I don’t always follow it, I have a simple rule when choosing to read an unfamiliar novel. I will read an unfamiliar book if it has been independently recommended by two people. Like all rules, it has an arbitrary quality. Yet, I have to admit, by following this rule, I have had the good fortune of a long streak of good novels.* Read the rest of this entry »

Is It Bacon Day? Happy…Valentine’s Day!

lovelettertomarge

 

Take the time to write a sweet letter to your beloved.

Woodie Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions in 1942

  1. Work more and better
  2. Work by a schedule
  3. Wash teeth if any
  4. Shave
  5. Take bath
  6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
  7. Drink very scant if any
  8. Write a song a day
  9. Wear clean clothes — look good
  10. Shine shoes
  11. Change socks
  12. Change bed cloths often
  13. Read lots good books
  14. Listen to radio a lot
  15. Learn people better
  16. Keep rancho clean
  17. Dont get lonesome
  18. Stay glad
  19. Keep hoping machine running
  20. Dream good
  21. Bank all extra money
  22. Save dough
  23. Have company but dont waste time
  24. Send Mary and kids money
  25. Play and sing good
  26. Dance better
  27. Help win war — beat fascism
  28. Love mama
  29. Love papa
  30. Love Pete
  31. Love everybody
  32. Make up your mind
  33. Wake up and fight

– [via Brain Pickings]

Shortlist for Literary Review’s 2012 Bad Sex in Fiction Award

  • The Yips by Nicola Barker
  • The Adventuress by Nicholas Coleridge
  • Infrared by Nancy Huston
  • Rare Earth by Paul Mason
  • Noughties by Ben Masters
  • The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills
  • The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine
  • Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

I am torn between The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox

In seconds the duke had lowered his trousers and boxers and positioned himself across a leather steamer trunk, emblazoned with the royal arms of Hohenzollern Castle. ‘Give me no quarter,’ he commanded. ‘Lay it on with all your might.’

and Raine’s The Divine Comedy (certainly not to be confused for Dante’s version!)

And he came. Like a wubbering springboard. His ejaculate jumped the length of her arm. Eight diminishing gouts. The first too high for her to lick. Right on the shoulder.

You can read other excerpts here.

J. K. Rowling made the news for not appearing on the Review’s shortlist. Her first post-Harry Potter novel had this little gem:

He retained a memory of her bare pink vulva; it was as though Father Christmas had popped up in their midst… he forced his way inside her, determined to accomplish what he had come for… Krystal moaned a little. Her head thrown back, her nose became broad and snout-like.

Can there not be an honorable mention for putting vulva and Father Christmas in the same sentence?