“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it?What is true for writing and for love relationships is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know where it will end.”—Michel Foucault, via Ryu, and that is true because through writing (and love) we get to look back on how far we’ve progressed.
“In memoir, you have to be the person put down on a specific landscape making your way without benefit of hindsight. You also have to be a wiser narrator, but not such a wise narrator that you’re standing on the cliffs of old age throwing rocks at the kid running across the plain. That’s a tricky balance. But it’s the requirement of writing memoir, to try to be all of that. Try not to take it so seriously. So that you assume it’s not the last utterance in a life; it’s just another utterance, and there will be more.”—Bill Ayers on The Rumpus.
“I reminded myself that incessant potential catastrophe is the human condition, is in fact the price of possessing consciousness, and I determined to live with greater ease from now on, and not to let anyone scare me about the future, because the truth is, the worst thing that could ever happen to you is death, and that’s going to happen despite all your worry and effort, so it’s simply irrational not to say fuck it. I’m not saying start chain-smoking cloves and have unprotected sex with seaport trannie bar girls, though neither am I saying to abjure those things if they’re what make you feel most alive. I’m just saying, take courage. That and pretty much that alone is never the incorrect thing to do. And these thoughts were so edifying to me, and I really looked forward to sharing them with you, hoping they might lighten your load along the road.”—From John Jeremiah Sullivan's “Violence of the Lambs” from Pulphead, pg. 311.
As the chorus of women speaking out about sexual harassment in comics grows louder and louder, one of the most frequent – and heartening – responses I’ve heard from men is that they’re concerned about this issue and want to do more, but don’t know exactly where to start.
“The SuperMOOC² should start around January. We will at least have everything in motion by then. It’s a super-massive open online comics community, a bit different than the regular MOOCs that are taught. It’s not a course as much as an online comic book club with an academic approach. We are taking all the good things we learned from the original MOOC and incorporating them into a bigger, better project. There is no affiliation with any university. We are hoping to have a lot of comic book stores around the country participate by carrying the three monthly books and giving those involved in the class one night a month to get together and have a roundtable discussion about the topic of the month.”—
By now, fans and industry watchers will all have heard about cartoonist Tess Fowler’s accusations of sexual harassment against acclaimed author Brian Wood—accusations that are part of a much broader (and very fraught) conversation about gender in comics. This is something I care deeply about, so…
Here, everyone, is today’s required reading, because Willow is someone I look up to and adore every aspect of her work. I strongly recommend Alif the Unseen.
Rumpus:It seems like writing was a vehicle for upward social mobility for you. For a lot of people, it goes the other direction.
Boyle:I’ve never thought of it in those terms, but yeah. I’m a product of state schools. I had a working-class family. We had no books. I was the first to go to college. But I didn’t really think about it, or about making money. I was just going to be an artist, and I’ve been fortunate. I’ve never had to work for anybody nor have I had to write for money. Maybe that’s another reason that I’ve been able to be productive. I haven’t had to use my writing to make a living.
Jesus, this was a piece. This is probably experimental literature to end all pieces of experimental literature. It’s actually a piece of critical analysis for a film that probably gave the Paranormal Activity people their idea. This piece of analysis is footnoted by a tattoo parlor worker filled in with his creepy experiences after reading the book proper after his old neighbor, named Zapano, passed away. Here’s a creepy bit:
To get a better idea try this: focus on these words, and whatever you do don’t let your eyes wander past the perimeter of this page. Now imagine just beyond your peripheral vision, maybe right behind you, maybe to the side of you, maybe even in front of you, but right where you can’t see it, something is quietly closing in on you, so quiet in fact you can only it as silence. Find those pockets without sound. That’s where it is. Right at this moment. But don’t look. Keep your eyes here. Now take a deep breath. Go ahead take an even deeper one. Only this time as you start to exhale try ot imagine how fast it will happen, how hard it’s gonna hit you, how many times it will stab your jugular with its teeth or are they nails?, don’t worry, that particular detail doesn’t matter, because before you have time to even process that you should be moving, you should be running, you should at the very least be flinging up your arms—you sure as hell should be getting rid of this book—you won’t have time to even scream.
Of course I looked.
Yeah, at this point I knew I was either too freaked out to continue or that I absolutely had to, and that was really what made me love this book. There’s no point in trying to make sense of it, but just receiving it creates a whole new level of appreciation for what literature can do.
I read this in manuscript form, but one of the many things I enjoy about these characters is the family perspective. That’s one of the things I like about Tim and it’s a thing that doesn’t come out in his previous writing at all is how great a family man he is. With Melvin Cooper we see what it feels like to be a single dad, and how things change when that single dad brings a partner into that relationship. That’s a unique perspective and that’s why I think Melvin is probably Tim’s best character.
Boy, was this a beautiful memoir. Karr’s background in poetry definitely shines here in the sense that she refuses to map it in a prose writer’s style of memoir. Like the uber-memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, is very different from Karr’s style and I’m not sure which I prefer. I think because Karr is a poet she has the talent at making every sentence count as something to ponder over. This is probably why I’m not a poet, I’m too neurotic to just let it go and let the words fall where they may.
I interrupt your daily posts with another semi-nonsense one. As always, I was thinking and daydreaming, and thought, how awesome would it be if somehow Tom Hiddleston submitted a piece of work to The Medical Chronicles? I mean he’s into charity, and he can sing, dance, act, quote poetry/literature, so perhaps he does some writing himself! Or even draws.
While organizing our Fundraiser Talent Show, a group member once joked that I need celebrity endorsement in order to get a large attendance - but jeez imagine if he did submit, sales on the print copy for that issue of The Medical Chronicles would go off the charts! And I could donate all that money to Doctors Without Borders!
…yeah ok. Anyway, all of you are always welcome to submit (and then you can direct your friends and family to buying the magazine for a good cause), and remember that the deadline for the next issue is December 11.
Reminder: you now have one month until the submission deadline! The Medical Chronicles Volume 3 Issue 1 is coming out near the end of December. Send your work via the submit page or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to include whether you’d like to stay anonymous and use your Tumblr name, or would like to use your real name (and I of course do not bite nor give away identities).
The magazine is open to all works - writing, illustrations, etc that you feel falls at the intersection of medicine and the humanities.
panic happens for good reason. From the ages of 5 to 22, most of us live what I call a “checkbox life,” one where our big-picture choices are made for us with the short-term focus of checking off the next box. We’re going to school, graduating college, and getting a job. Check, check, check.”
But I’d like to offer a different mindset: those who are “aimless” have the right idea. The short-term thinking enabled by a checkbox life usually ends in what economist David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs.” Jobs you take “just because.” Jobs that seem to exist for the sole purpose of keeping us working. Jobs where we end up frustrated because we aren’t doing them for ourselves, we’re doing them to ease the expectations of those around us. We’re doing them to check boxes. As society gets more productive and technology advances, it is these jobs that will be the first to go. As young people, the rest of our lives will be spent outrunning automation and outsourcing. Going our own way isn’t just nice, it’s required.
If you find yourself without many obligations and unsure of what’s next, celebrate. Revel in the chance to zig when everyone around you zags. It’s likely the only time when we’re not shackled by obligation. To feel pressured by others and run away is a massive waste of an opportunity. Worse, not taking a swing at what’s important to you defeats the purpose of this whole career thing.
What I enjoy about this is exactly what I went through in the seven years in New York. There was no way I knew what the fuck I was meant to do other than write when I graduated from college and, let’s be straight, I didn’t know a thing about what I was actually trying to do as a writer until I was thirty. Now it seems like I’m looking for the next hurdle, and really what I’ve realized in these three semesters is that I learn best when someone throws me into the pool and I start swimming. I tell my class this all the time: I was a person who refused, absolutely hated, speaking in class, would avoid it all costs, so somehow I’m now standing in front of a class and doing most of the talking. Why? I have no idea, but I think it’s probably because I am a late-bloomer. Didn’t really figure out what the hell I could do until I was literally out of options.
Naturalism always frustrated me as a theoretical framework. I love what it has to say, but I found the perspective it offers to be limiting. Why is it your favorite form of criticism?
I find it to be the most natural form of literary criticism, and as a theory is one I’ve held since high school english. I just didn’t know it was naturalism.
You know how high school English teachers love using New Criticism to make us care about Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby and liked saying abstract things like the green light means money and other things, and Holden’s red hat means death and that is supposed to make us appreciate a work of literature when in reality it just made us hate the book more. New Criticism is fantastic at creating total bullshit, which—as English teachers—is kind of our job. We’re brilliant bullshit artists, but that’s an oversimplification.
No, I’ve also felt that the closest form of realism in a book is making a character that is influenced by their heredity and their social environment, and that’s naturalism. That’s what shapes us all outside the world of books and, for me, is the one form of literary criticism that is closest to how life actually is.
“Hunter (December 1962): “When a fresh-faced guy in a Chevy offered him a lift, Parker told him to go to hell.”
The Man With the Getaway Face (March 1963): “When the bandages came off, Parker looked in the mirror at a stranger.”
The Outfit (September 1963): “When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed.”
The Mourner (December 1963): “When the guy with the asthma finally came in from the fire escape, Parker rabbit-punched him and took his gun away.”
The Score (July 1964): “When the bellboy left, Parker went over to the house phone and made his call.”
The Jugger (July 1965): “When the knock came at the door, Parker was just turning to the obituary page.”
The Handle (February 1966): “When the engine stopped, Parker came up on deck for a look around.”
The Seventh (March 1966): “When he didn’t get any answer the second time he knocked, Parker kicked the door in.”
The Rare Coin Score (1967): “Parker spent two weeks on the white sand beach at Biloxi, and on a white sandy bitch named Belle, but he was restless, and one day without thinking about it he checked out and sent a forwarding address to Handy McKay and moved on to New Orleans.”
The Green Eagle Score (1967): “Parker looked in at the beach and there was a guy in a black suit standing there, surrounded by all the bodies in bathing suits.”
The Black Ice Score (1968): “Parker walked into his hotel room, and there was a guy in there going through his suitcase laid out on his bed.”
The Sour Lemon Score (1969): “Parker put the revolver away and looked out the windshield.”
Deadly Edge (1971): “Up here, the music was just a throbbing under the feet, a distant pulse.”
Slayground (1971): “Parker jumped out of the Ford with a gun in one hand and the packet of explosive in the other.”
Plunder Squad (1972): “Hearing the click behind him, Parker threw his glass straight back over his right shoulder, and dove off his chair to the left.”
Butcher’s Moon (1974): “Running toward the light, Parker fired twice over his left shoulder, not caring whether he hit anything or not.”
Comeback (1997): “When the angel opened the door, Parker stepped first past the threshold into the darkness of the cinder block corridor beneath the stage.”
Backflash (1998): “When the car stopped rolling, Parker kicked out the rest of the windshield and crawled through onto the wrinkled hood, Glock first.”
Flashfire (2000): “When the dashboard clock read 2:40, Parker drove out of the drugstore parking lot and across the sunlit road to the convenience store/gas station.”
Firebreak (2001): “When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.”
Breakout (2002) : “When the alarm went off, Parker and Armiston were far to the rear of the warehouse, Armiston with the clipboard, checking off the boxes they’d want.”
Nobody Runs Forever (2004): “When he saw that the one called Harbin was wearing a wire, Parker said, ‘Deal me out a hand,’ and got to his feet.”
Ask the Parrot (2006): “When the helicopter swept northward and lifted out of sight over the top of the hill, Parker stepped away from the tree he’d waited beside and continued his climb.”
Dirty Money (2008): “When the silver Toyota Avalon bumped down the dirt road out of the woods and across the railroad tracks, Parker put the Infiniti into low and stepped out onto the gravel.”—dumblr: The first line of every Parker novel (via mattfractionblog)
“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who rest assured are not dumb and are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV Spring Break on Primary Day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”—
"you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote"