July 2009

Aw, c’mon, Blake. Let’s just dance. Let’s slow dance. Just the two of us.

Random / 16 Comments
July 31st, 2009 / 4:45 pm

Have you been following David Lynch’s Interview Project? Some pretty wonderful and compelling short films. Particularly just got brain ate by Kelly Eugene Guinn.

Fuck Books, It’s Friday, Let’s Get Weird & Good


Random / 32 Comments
July 31st, 2009 / 3:08 pm

If each person were only allowed to publish at most three books in his or her life, would you still be sending around that manuscript? This is a realistic question.

question about toilet paper

What is the correct way to hang a roll of toilet paper? I have seen it both ways. What do you prefer and why? Edited to add: Are there more creative ways of hanging toilet paper?



Random / 52 Comments
July 31st, 2009 / 1:38 pm

Christine Schutt on the NYFA Chalkboard

What a happy thing to stumble upon! Christine Schutt–NOON editor, 2009 Pulitzer prize finalist, all-around badass–has written a short essay for the New York Foundation for the Arts website, about her work as a creative writing teacher at the Nightingale-Bamford school for girls. It’s a great piece about teaching, but there’s also a highly informative craft essay tucked inside it.

Another gift afforded the writer in teaching is the opportunity to read aloud to students and thus discover the flat places in stories—what material a writer might have profitably cut out. Reading aloud to a room full of students, who are often hungry and tired, has made me acutely aware of what holds a reader’s attention. I read my own work aloud to myself, of course, and pay attention to the moments I rush through and dream past, for these should be deleted.

I’m in complete agreement with Christine on this. I think reading one’s own work aloud is an essential part of the writing process. When something has been through enough drafts, I print it out and do an edit by ear, while listening to myself. The rule is: if I can’t say it in the world the way I’m hearing it said in my head, then it’s not done being written yet. And as a teaching tool, it’s incredibly useful for any kind of writing. Last semester, about mid-way through the course, I started encouraging my 101 students at Rutgers start reading their comp papers aloud to themselves, and the ones that did it improved measurably in areas like grammar, syntax, and overall coherence. What happened, I think, was that they heard with their ears what they couldn’t hear with their eyes. Once they saw the spread between what they thought they’d written and what they’d actually produced, they were in a position to start working on how to close the gap. Plus, that work to re-write sonorously forced them to do another whole revision. I think next semester everyone will be forced to do it from the get-go. But enough about me. Go read Christine’s essay.

Author Spotlight & Craft Notes / 29 Comments
July 31st, 2009 / 12:42 pm

HTMLGIANT will now advertise things for money. We are only in it for the money now. Sorry.

Michael Kimball Interviewed on NPR


Unless you’re weird, you probably already listened to Giant amigo Michael Kimball’s interview on NPR. It’s about his project, Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (On a Postcard), which, unless you’re weird, you’re probably already hip to, too.

I thought the interview was great, that what he said was about more than his project, and more than a criticism of Facebook culture — that we’re all promoting ourselves but no one cares — but it was about a profound sort of other-centeredness, about Story and the importance of getting to know the story of other people’s lives.

I’d say more but I gotta go read some Levinas. What did you think of the interview?

Oh, and check out this video of Blaster Al Ackerman reading for the 60 Writers movie Michael’s making with Luca Dipierro (I know, Sam linked to one yesterday but what the heck, my man was just interviewed on NPR).

Author News & Author Spotlight / 4 Comments
July 31st, 2009 / 9:35 am

Martha Stewart’s Oral History

martha-500x942.jpgCourtesy of Bike Snob NYC, in an article in Martha Stewart’s Living about Maine’s Acadia National Park, the eponymous woman was quoted saying “Great Head takes about an hour and a half to complete.” She was referring to the trail Great Head, but what both concerns and elates me is how none of the editors caught it.


Or maybe the editors did catch it, taking extreme liberty in interpreting the trail path. It seemed too good to be true, and I just had to Google map the actual “Great Head” trail to see if it was indeed cock n’ ball shaped. It kinda is, though my bets are on the graphic topographer who took an opportunity to render the path more suggestively. Perhaps a shafted disgruntled employee? (See related Little Mermaid Phallus.) A forever fiend of choad? Or maybe just a guy with a sense of humor.

Google map version

Google map version

Speaking of guys with a sense of humor, I think God himself always has the last laugh. And for an atheist, that’s a huge compliment. In the photo essay, we see Martha and Co. walking around, walking around, smiling for the camera — until that one photo where there in the distance — wtf are those balls? I’ve been saying a post-Nietzschean “Gay is gay” since circa 1987 people. Someone call me prophetic.


Uncategorized / 8 Comments
July 31st, 2009 / 12:18 am


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