I have gathered a number of lessons that I offer here to spare other freelance writers some pain and annoyance. My comments are specifically about the process of writing — sometimes with a contract, and preferably for pay — for editors at established print and online publications aimed at a general audience.
I am about to set a timer and write, when I notice someone is wrong on the internet. They have linked to an article without looking at its source. They looked at its source but did not see the logical flaws in the article. They pulled out the quote they agreed with and didn’t see or didn’t care how wrong the rest of it was. I must help them see this. I must stop the culture of online misinformation.
In the early decades of the 11th century, a man called Warner who lived in Normandy wrote a very dirty Latin poem. Addressed to Archbishop Robert of Rouen, it relates the adventures of an Irish grammarian called Moriuht, who has a series of graphic and often disturbing sexual encounters while searching for his wife, who has been kidnapped.
Ellen O’Connell Whittet was nineteen years old and on her way to a professional career in ballet when a fall during a rehearsal fractured her spine. The accident forced a reckoning: had she not been starving herself for months, her body might have been cushioned. She had long ago adopted the dancer’s soldier-like attitude to injury, wearing a back brace to make it through day-long classes, having Novocain injected into her swollen foot to make it through one more show.
Pointless meetings, fraught commutes and whiffy shared fridges are mercifully off limits during the coronavirus lockdown. But what else are faculty glad to be rid of? And what are they pining to return to? Seven academics let us know
“About time to read the Decameron”, people tweet. I find such reactions puzzling. Just as strange are those lists of “plague” books, almost inevitably featuring Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year and Albert Camus’s La Peste. Why would someone want to read about plague during an actual plague?
Try to describe Isadora Duncan and the clichés come tumbling out. She was a pathbreaker, a tragic figure, larger than life and cursed in love. She helped burnish that myth herself in her memoir My Life, written shortly before her freakish death by strangulation in 1927.
Mary Beard’s recent admission that she is a ‘mug’ who works 100 hours a week caused a Twitter storm. But how hard is it reasonable for academics to work? Who should decide? And should the mugs be obliged to keep quiet? Seven academics have their say
Tyll Ulenspiegel first appeared as an impish swindler and tightrope walker at the end of the Middle Ages, became a Protestant hero in the 19th century and lent his name to magazines, films, operas and the first American B.D.S.M. organization in the 20th.
Reflections on the culinary and the literary
“Only stupid people like to cook.” A mother’s thoughtless insult, perhaps real, perhaps imagined, launches Maryse Condé’s latest memoir, Of Morsels and Marvels, first published in French as Mets et merveilles, in 2015, now translated by Condé’s husband Richard Philcox. The clever youngest child of a well-to-do Guadeloupean family, the Boucolons, little Maryse is not expected to have anything to do with the kitchen. One of the servants sometimes let...
Translation of my essay, "The Things We Take, the Things We Leave Behind," originally published in the Southwest Review