Saturday, June 16, 2012

Something Akin to Beef Jerky

Write, write, write. Read, read, read.


We hear that rejection preys upon and depends upon the writer's ego; seemingly informed people tell us that successful writers appropriate rejection and use it as fuel, that they co-opt the editor's or agent's malice, stupidity, or worst of all, indifference, and they cure it until it becomes a kind of treat, something akin to beef jerky. And we hear that those who reject our work are not rejecting us, they're not rejecting our souls because if we could get our souls on the page, we wouldn't get rejected at all; instead we'd get flown first-class to Sweden to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature. They say this because most writers, especially beginning or unpublished writers, freak out over rejection. To the good men and women offering this consolation and advice, I say, okay, yes, sure, but you've obviously never ridden a skateboard.

-Bret Anthony Johnson's "On Rejection; or, Dear Author, After Careful Consideration," an essay that originally appeared in Shenandoah


-This essay by Jeffrey Levine got my cogs turning.


This is the story of a leash, a law and a city’s dueling definitions of compassion. It is a story of limits tested and stretched; of strife, threats and, possibly, compromise.

NY Times


-Fascinating interview over at the The Awl with Trappist monks (who have taken a vow of silence)


Monday, June 4, 2012

Dreaming of Fields

Snowstorms bring in more customers, earlier, to pass the time and watch the cars slosh past on Roosevelt. The bartender will make you a boilermaker, a martini, or an espresso, whatever you like, and even if it isn’t cheaper than any of the other dozen fine bars and cafes in the neighborhood, it feels cheaper. Most everyone tips well. I usually just get drip coffee from the afterthought coffeemaker beside the very nice espresso machine, a machine that probably used to be a Vespa. Some days there are several fleets of scooters out front, parked closely like sheep at a trough. Often there is a dog, a small one on the counter, a larger one somewhere in the building, curled up, asleep and dreaming of fields.

-via NPR, Ed Skoog reflects on Cafe Racer before the tragic shootings of last week.


For Kim, our sunshine, our ray of light on a cloudy day, our girl with a heart of gold: Go to your favorite neighborhood bar, flash the bartender your prettiest, brightest smile, and order a Kimosa (that's champagne with cranberry and/or pineapple juice). Tell them that it's delicious (you won't be lying), and then talk to EVERYONE around you and do your level best to make them feel special. Again it's okay to cry, but try to smile; Kim had the best smile in the world, and now we need to pick up the slack.

For Don, our neighbor and friend, the all-around best guy that everyone should be lucky enough to know—the nicest, smartest man on the block: Order an Americano from your favorite cafe and proceed to tell the truest tall tales you can. Mean every single word of them. Try to shake everyone's hand and look them in the eye while you're doing it. Then make sure that everyone on your block knows and loves you, and that you know and love them right back. Also, learn the saxophone.
-via The Stranger, An Open Letter from Cafe Racer

-via Letters of Note, a letter from Steinbeck to his son.