This goes for journalistic writing as well as for fiction.
This goes for journalistic writing as well as for fiction.
Fantastic advice for writers, especially the parts about considering the reader (and the editor, who is also a reader, not just a butcher — and I mean butcher in the best craftsperson sense).
Do take the time to read these various but connected musings on the value of ‘nothingness’, of removal from the noise and bustle of life — and the demands of Work with a capital W — for deeper reflection, within and without, to exist. It's cut with an endearing wit, as per her observation on birdwatching: “Actually, I’ve always found it weird that it’s called birdwatching, because half if not more of birdwatching is actually birdlistening. I personally think they should just rename it birdnoticing.”
Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler has the answer (at least for North America). I lucked out with ‘air guitar’.
And that’s why we (English-speakers in Ireland and Britain alike) say ‘garage’ to rhyme with ‘carriage’ rather than ‘barrage’. See also: the related concept of Received Pronunciation.
In case I’m ever stuck for which one to use.
Beguiling, reality-warping short fiction that resonates despite my not having any specific frame of reference.
It’s a trap I’ve fallen into myself, which is ridiculous because what am I if not working class? Also, like McInerney I wouldn’t articulate any distinction between the working class and the ‘lumpenproletariat’, since there’s as much if not more absence of consciousness to be found in the middle and upper classes.
I detect a hint of inspiration from the Cathriona White tragedy in this short story of a wayward Irish woman’s relationship with a comedian in the US.
‘Complicated’ is putting it mildly. [c/o LinkMachineGo]
I really like Saunders’ short stories, but was wary of the prospect of his new novel, till I read this and remembered how self-effacing he is about his writing and his process. See also: the Chekhov–Saunders Humanity Kit, a sort of web-based riff on Saunders’ short fiction MFA class at Syracuse.
How writing appears is integral to its function. It’s depressing how many people can’t grasp that, even so-called ‘writers’.
A professional book critic recognises that the honest opinions of readers can and do often cut through a lot of the bullshit of canon and critical consensus and what have you. [c/o Infovore]
Irish writers but universal themes. 'The Visit' was the winner, though my pick would’ve been Jane Casey’s discomfiting tale of everyday horror.
Filing this for future reference.
The wry title makes things pretty clear: the book is about Kim Gordon, not the band that made her name, and rightly so.
For sure, Sonic Youth was an enormous part of her life, but she’s as multifaceted as any person, and she doesn’t shy away from her struggles in defining herself as an individual distinct from that all-consuming identity. Identity, image, marketing: between her unconventional adolescence, her complicated relationship with her older brother, and her adult life in the venn diagram of creative worlds, these concepts loom large, constantly intersecting and blurring lines. Gordon’s clear, candid writing cuts through a lot of it, unapologetic as she is about being an artist, a creator, a woman in a man’s world.
Good advice for writing in general.
Pro wrestling is the background to what’s really a neo-noir pitting a retired grappler against real-world heels in the criminal underground. If these first five issues are anything to go by, Ringside will keep me gripped for a while to come.
After the set-up in the first trade, the story, characters, the whole shebang really kick into gear in this compilation. Looking forward to Volume 3.
Can't add any more to what Tim Carmody says here.
Haven't been in the headspace for ideas this intersectional and transcendent for a long time, but this is worth linking for when I am.
Good advice, here, for this perennial procrastinator.
Here's one of those weird quirks of English that still get me. 'Span' sounds more natural to me than 'spun', and it's funny that it was apparently the original form.
I can’t get enough of these behind-the-curtain exposes of the politics of US television, and this one comes with the added dimension of being a clash of cultures, in a fashion, between the established but shopworn success story and the edgier underdog getting his due. Granted I think you’d have to be a fan of Conan – or the machinations of late night TV – to get behind the thrust of what Bill Carter has crafted here, but I am so it’s like catnip to me.
An initially engrossing report of the tawdry goings-on behind the curtain in the big-time pro wrestling business, Sex, Lies and Headlocks is let down by poor copyediting and shoddy fact-checking that undermines even those stories already widely known to be true (or true-ish, at least). Still, as it’s written with the brisk pace typical of experienced newspaper and magazine hands, it passes as pulpy dirt-dishing entertainment for wrestling fans with a suitable appetite.
It seems a bit unfair to review what’s essentially a reference guide to and prospectus for New Japan Pro Wrestling. But it would be just as unfair not to recognise the Voices of Wrestling crew for their tireless, quality work in assembling this multi-purpose yearbook, at once a ‘who’s who’ guide for newbies and a deep-dive nerd-out for hardcore fans.
It’s as exhaustive a report on NJPW as you’re gonna find, even if I think applying statistical analysis to wrestling is a bit much (adopts Kevin Nash voice You know this shit’s fake, right?). It only really loses marks for the formatting: a serif font at a standard size (swapping out to a different book requires resizing the text) would be easier to read.
Clever wrestling references, now? And not just superficial ones, either? Vaughan and Staples know just what I like.
Some of these I don't mind (I mean, who gets nitpicky about histrionic terms when hyperbole's always been a thing?) but overall this is sharp, cutting stuff.
Might be a good exercise to fire up that dangerous writing app and see what I can do when the pressure's on.
I've been trying to write a thing (a story, I guess?) for a while now but I've been too hung up on the names. Gah!
“Now – I’m not down on wrestling fans, but fans don’t know what they want. They shouldn’t know. That’s not their job. Their job is to come and be entertained – and hopefully be tricked – so they’re elated with adrenaline rushing through their body.”
Now there’s a distinct whiff of bullshit from many of Gary Hart’s words in this memoir of his life and times as a wrestling manager in the territory days, and later in the Crockett/Turner NWA. It’s impossible to escape the notion that the reader is constantly being worked, as he contradicts himself from page to page as the circumstances demand.
But every now and then there’s a glimpse of wisdom that stands out for its crystal clarity. And it’s those, as well as the general entertainment value of reading Hart tell his stories no matter how much he might be kayfabing you, that make this worth seeking out for any dyed-in-the-wool wrestling fan.
Alright! This is great stuff, even if it's permissive of misheard word-manglings that annoy me so. But perhaps the bigger takeaway is that so much grammar pedantry seems to revolve around a general misapprehension of the concept of metaphors, or satire (take 'guesstimate', which I've always taken to be poking fun at the puffed-up, self-delusional business-world redefinition of a 'guess', whether educated or not, as an 'estimate', with all the mental labour rigour that implies.)
Decent advice here. See also: Plotto; A New Method of Plot Suggestion for Writers of Creative Fiction (from 1928!)
This is great stuff. But one cannot talk about the British short story without also mentioning its Irish cousin.
Worldbuilding Stack Exchange "is a question and answer site for writers/artists using science, geography and culture to construct imaginary worlds and settings." A golden resource for fiction writers/creators, here.
Be sure to read to the end; that's the real kicker. [c/o Kottke]
Useful motivation tips, here.
Save your groans, pun-haters!
This is great stuff here, even if it's a little too accepting of how laziness and ignorance are shaping language (I'm thinking of things like 'alot', or 'of' when people mean 'have', not dialectic differences like 'ax' for 'ask').
I've said it before and I'll say it again: you have to know the rules (whether useful for clarity, or bullshit class-enforcing myths) before you can break them.
Worth bearing in mind for film criticism, too.
"Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel." Ugh, it's basically everything I hated about Cline's previous. Safe to assume the new one is similarly unimaginative, propped up by the same try-hard yet lazy-ass references. Fuck off already!
Another one for the reading pile, probably when I get back into Banks' oeuvre.
This is fantastic: a graphic biography of the Village Voice co-founder that's been running since 2012, with chapters posted occasionally at Boing Boing.
Power Slam is truly missed – I never missed an issue from number 14 till the end last summer – and this compendium of editor/writer Findlay Martin’s insights on what was happening in wrestling’s major (and almost major) leagues over the last two decades beings back all those fond memories of poring over my monthly mag. I’m not sure if it’s appealing to anyone unfamiliar with Power Slam, as Martin also delves a fair amount into the nuts and bolts of production of the mag, but for me it’s like Christmas come early.
Like Jason Kottke, I too have only read Underworld; I'm guessing I should give White Noise a go sometime.
Yes! is a curiously slight volume considering Daniel Bryan’s storied career in the pro wrestling business, but being a WWE-sanctioned book it was bound to be fed through their filter, and cast his many years on the indie circuit and in Japan as mere preparatory work before hitting the ‘big time’. Sure, he’s allowed some leeway in his interpretation of events, because otherwise would make the exercise entirely pointless, but he’s an avowedly private and guarded individual, which doesn’t leave much space for a revelatory memoir on a par with Mick Foley’s Have A Nice Day. That’s not helped by a structure that interweaves Bryan’s memories leading up to WrestleMania XXX with WWE.com editor Craig Tello’s laboured ‘PR pretending to be a literary sportswriter’ prose, waffling on the behind-the-scenes happenings at that very event. With a more encouraging editor, there’s a better book in Bryan, I’m sure.
"[Once] a thing is said, even if it is taken back immediately, it can’t be unsaid: the impression it makes on an audience remains, undiminished." So there.
Is there an Irish equivalent? Certainly we have our own folklore and cultural history, but stories of mischievous faeries and the like don't really compare to the dread inspired by the ghosts of England's heritage. The closest local connection I can make is the music (and presentation) of From the Bogs of Aughiska but I'm probably missing the blindingly obvious.