Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Best of the Best

A few of my favorite posts from the past week.

Maybe my favorite post this year, by Steve Almond:

Our job, then, is two-fold: to focus on our own failings as writers. But also to speak more forcefully as advocates for literature. Books are a powerful antidote for loneliness, for the moral purposelessness of the leisure class. It’s our job to convince the 95 percent of people who don’t read books, who instead medicate themselves in front of screens, that literary art isn’t some esoteric tradition, but a direct path to meaning, to an understanding of the terror that lives beneath our consumptive ennui. It’s hard to make this case, though, if all we do is squabble with each other and lament our obscurity.


By Honoree Fantone Jeffers:

For now, though, it’s really about a time lost. I was a girl then, a very young (minded) almost-twenty nine, and that first Cave Canem was the only time in my entire life where I felt truly loved and accepted by other Black people—or people, period. I was completely wrapped up in joy. I know it sounds silly, but that week seemed like one of those sunlit scenes from a film, out of time and place. A scene you hope will go on and on.


By Doug Holder:

I was once writing an article about Robert Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate of the United States. He said the problem most young writers have is that they are afraid to appear stupid. To compensate they use big words, and high-toned rhetoric that sounds pretentious and stilted. Don’t afraid to be stupid. Success is built from failure. They are opposite sides of the coin, but they are still part of the same coin.


By Collin Kelley:

C. Dale had alluded to NER charging earlier in the summer when he posted a poll on his blog asking what readers would be willing to pay for online submissions. The majority said they would not pay. I was one of them. Since then, I've had a change of heart. Here's why.


Thank you, all!


Jennifer Jean said...

steve almond's whole post blew me away--and you posted the exact core of that "manifesto" (as you rightly called it on the rumpus comments thread).

glad to have read honoree's blog as well! i've been thinking a lot about how it's necessary for writers to have intensely felt peer time (and mentor time, and student time) as sustenance to develop our writerly selves/souls/craft.

as for pinsky's comment about fear of stupid-seeming...yup. been there, done that (or is it: am there, do that?) :)

mariegauthier said...

Loved Steve Almond's post. He's always so good at cutting through the brouhaha to the heart of the matter.

And I'm still with you on submission fees. I love journals, subscribe to more than I can really afford, but I will not pay to submit, for all the reasons you've outlined, I've outlined, and more.

(word ver: sworm -- seems apropos...)


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