The short preambles I write before starting the links are starting to feel more and more like the documentation of my much-beleaguered laptop. This time I’m writing on a Thursday evening, to schedule the post for later on, when my laptop will be holed up in the operating room at the Apple store in Covent Garden. So my apologies if I’ve missed some more timely weekend links, but here were the best things I clicked this week before I relinquished my laptop to the Mac doctors.
Everybody knows about one form of competition among newspaper reporters, the so-called scoop competition. Scoop reporters competed with their counterparts on other newspapers, or wire services, to see who could get a story first and write it fastest; the bigger the story—i.e., the more it had to do with matters of power or catastrophe—the better. In short, they were concerned with the main business of the newspaper. But there was this other lot of reporters as well … They tended to be what is known as “feature writers.” What they had in common was that they all regarded the newspaper as a motel you checked into overnight on the road to the final triumph. The idea was to get a job on a newspaper, keep body and soul together, pay the rent, get to know “the world,” accumulate “experience,” perhaps work some of the fat off your style—then, at some point, quit cold, say goodbye to journalism, move into a shack somewhere, work night and day for six months, and light up the sky with the final triumph. The final triumph was known as The Novel.
I wrote this personal essay a little over a year ago as part of my MA final project, and I never did anything with it after submitting, so now it’s going here. It’s about, as the glossy-mag-type standfirst up there tells you, how I found my feet in London and in my wardrobe, with a little help from the London Review Bookshop, Joan Didion and a £20 camel coat.
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“The pictures do not lie, but neither do they tell the whole story. They are merely a record of time passing, the outward evidence.”
― Paul Auster, Travels in the Scriptorium
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it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our cancelled plans
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our ignored voicemails
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our bi-annual trips home
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our over-drafted bank account
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of these fancy cocktails
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our late night phone minutes with exes
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our lazy cab rides home
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our half-read longreads and full-read horoscopes
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our dry-clean only shirts
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our Marked Unread emails
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our Twitter drafts
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our missed calls from Mom
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our broker’s fee
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our Likes
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our mostly walked morning run
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our cancelled plans
How is it Sunday already? And how is it March?
From the archives, The Paris Review meets Edna O’Brien, Summer 1984:
"Nowadays there are too many writers, and I think one of the reasons for the deterioration of language and literature in the last forty years has been the spawning of inferior novels. Everybody writes novels—journalists, broadcasters, tv announcers … it is a free-for-all! But writing is a vocation, like being a nun or a priest. I work at my writing as an athlete does at his training, taking it very seriously. Whether a novel is autobiographical or not does not matter. What is important is the truth in it and the way that truth is expressed. I think a casual or frivolous attitude is pernicious."
This week felt like a long one. But I should say hello! to all new readers who found their way here via Image.ie, where I talked to Jean this week about reading and linkblogging and all that jazz. Your kind words are appreciated! A lot read this week, notably one novels offline - after 6 weeks I finally finished the astounding Mating by Norman Rush, an exercise in the female protagonist, and I would so highly recommend it to anyone looking for a chunky, absorbing big novel. In the meantime, some links to click:
From the archives: If you haven’t read it yet, now might be the time. The Suspects Wore Louboutins, by Nancy Jo Sales, Vanity Fair March 2010
“I’m a firm believer in Karma,” she said, “and I think this situation was attracted into my life because it was supposed to be a huge learning lesson for me to grow and expand as a spiritual human being. I see myself being like an Angelina Jolie,” she said, “but even stronger, pushing even harder for the universe and for peace and for the health of our planet.” She was sounding almost like a real celebrity. “God didn’t give me these talents and looks to just sit around being a model or being famous. I want to lead a huge charity organization. I want to lead a country, for all I know.”
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There’s a new issue of Bon International! And it might be my favourite yet. This season our theme is freedom, interpreted less in the New Libertarian way and more in the ‘fluid sexualities / new identities’ kind of way. A while ago I met an ed from a big fashion indie mag and when I said I worked at Bon he kind of wrinkled his nose and said, “Bon? Isn’t that like… a feminist magazine?” We all had a giggle at that when making this issue. In short, I guess it is. Feminism certainly comes up enough, and not even just explicitly but also as an underlying idea that informs so much of what happens in the magazine. It’s a way of looking at the world with more open, questioning eyes, maybe, which can be very bloody hard in fashion at times. Fashion thinks it is a lot of things, but I am not sure if it knows how close-minded, restrictive and rigid it can be when it comes to ideas.
Anyway, that might be a discussion for another day. Bon S/S 2014 is available now and features interviews with Maison Martin Margiela (!), Cory Arcangel, Neneh Cherry and Siobhan Davies, to name a couple. I talked to journalist Laurie Penny for this one, as well as grilling Italian designer Fausto Puglisi on bondage and beauty. But there’s so much in it, including beautiful Cora Emmanuel on the cover, which I adore, so do pick it up if you’re interested. It’s only £6. If you’re still not interested: well, we tried. But either way working for my favourite magazine continues to be a fascinating and so edifying job.
it’s the weekend, here are your reads. Here in London it’s fashion week, and I’m unwell and under a rug on the couch and watching Sex and the City and I plan on staying here until I feel better. In the meantime, here are some things for you to read.
For the weekend that’s in it, from the archives: The full text of Twenty-One Love Poems, by Adrienne Rich.
— “Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with purer joy?
did I lean from my window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen with nerves tuned for your ring?”
I hope that your week has been good and that you’re almost ready to welcome the spring with open arms.
From the archives:
Interview with Gay Talese, The Art of Nonfiction - The Paris Review, 2009. A masterclass in style in more ways than one from the tour de force who celebrated his 82nd birthday this week.
"Few writers research as thoroughly or ardently as Talese, who gives nine or ten years of his life to a book. He has records of every day—where he was, who he saw, and how he felt. The photographs will be correlated with those records and placed into files, organized by year. As one can tell by the collages decorating the file boxes, the record keeping is more than just boxes of notes; it’s the creative act itself."
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