I'm excited about going to Chicago in March. Mainly because I'll get to stay in a hotel, eat deep dish pizza, and see old friends.
In much the way that a minister will build a sermon upon a selected biblical text, I am today going to deliver what might be called a secular sermon or meditation on a sentence by Edgar Allan Poe from his essay "Peter Snook"—not the actual sentence, mind you, but an inaccurate version I quoted to Erin Pope, one of my students, the other day while we were discussing the way writing is written. I'll tell you what Poe actually wrote a bit later, but here is the sentence as I misquoted it at the time: "To originate is carefully, patiently, and lovingly to combine." I would like to use that newly minted (or recombined) Poe sentence to talk to you a bit this morning about the mysterious process of writing, reading, and the creation of meaning by writing and reading.
-R.H.W. Dillard's "Going Out Into the Crazy" from Blackbird
"Relict organisms," Naskrecki writes in the introduction, "which I prefer to call simply 'relics' ... are often the last carriers of genes that have otherwise disappeared from the world's gene pool."
This week, Brian Joseph Davis launched The Composites, a Tumblr that imagines the appearance of literary characters using both the text that describes them ... and composite sketch-rendering software used mostly by law enforcement. The resulting mugshots are as creepy and incredible as you might imagine -- IQ84 meets CSI.
-via The Atlantic
Reading Didion was a revolution to me not only because of the beauty and depth of her prose, but because it also opened up the idea that I could be something more than what I was — a white girl from suburbia who had done nothing in college (or life) beyond pledging a sorority and getting drunk at frat parties. During my time at one of the most famous universities in the world, I had joined no causes, protested nothing. For this, I was deeply ashamed. Then I discovered that Didion and I had a few things in common. She was a self-proclaimed nobody from Sacramento. She pledged the Tri-Deltas at Cal and wasn’t sure what else to do with herself there. She famously writes that when she started reporting, she was so small and quiet, people forgot she was in the room. I wasn’t small or quiet, but I felt just as invisible most of the time. Reading Didion hinted at the possibility that I was perhaps more interesting than I realized, that eventually I might have something to say. It would take me years to manifest this idea, but in the meantime, I spent many afternoons staring out my bedroom window of my sorority at the Tri-Delt house across the street. I used to imagine Didion there, back she was lost and still a girl. I could almost see her hiding behind her signature sunglasses on the front porch, smoking cigarettes while absentmindedly smoothing out the wrinkles of her pale pink shift dress, waiting for the rest of her life to happen.
-The Rumpus (and a beautiful Didion essay, here)