17 Famous Writers' New Year's Resolutions
A Buzzfeed post from 2015 by Chloe Laversuch
Of Anaïs Nin, Laversuch reveals:
When she is sixteen years old, on December 31st 1919, Nin actually wrote her diary entry in the moments running up to the New Year:
"Many people generally spend the few hours before midnight making resolutions and promises. I promise nothing; I have such a weak character that I can’t promise to be better.”
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“'I want to be a writer,’ I said out loud, maybe for the first time.”
Missoulian Stephanie Land’s essay in The New York Review of Books, Portrait of the Artist as a Single Mom, gets into the heart of social issues, single momness, school and writing when everything in life says you shouldn’t, or can’t.
Nobody wanted to hire someone who needed to work during daycare hours—not even the coffee shops I applied to, thinking I’d get at least an afternoon shift with my ten years’ experience. When I said the hours I could work were limited, their eyes lowered. That was the end of the interview. Going back to school, to get some kind of degree beyond high school, turned into my only option. I could take classes online at first, doing homework late into the night after Mia went to bed. Slowly, I chipped away at the list of required core credits while working a day job as a maid.
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“The older we get, the more culturally invisible we become, as writers, as people. But you have your words.”
Roxane Gay in The New York Times DEC. 30, 2017
What I wish I could have told myself when I was hopeless about my writing prospects is that I should have defined artistic success in ways that weren’t shaped by forces beyond my control. Sometimes, success is getting a handful of words you don’t totally hate on the page. Sometimes success is working a full-time job to support your family and raising your kids and finding a way, over several years, to write and finish a novel. Sometimes it’s selling a book to a small press for 25 copies of your book and a vague promise of royalties you may never see. And sometimes, if you are very lucky, artistic success is marked by the glittery things so many of us yearn for — the big money deals, the critical accolades, the multicity book tours, the movie options.
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DEAR SUGAR, Resistance Edition: The Power of ‘Me Too’
by Cheryl Strayed
How do writers have an impact on the world around them? Can literature be political without being partisan or ideological?
Writer in Las Vegas
Sug's response, in part:
I don’t know why we chose a misogynistic, racist, scam artist demagogue who also happens to be an internet troll to lead our nation, Writer in Las Vegas. But I do know we have seen the likes of him before and we will see the likes of him again. I do know he has a story. I know he has wounds and fears and memories and desires. I know the face he presents to the world is connected to his innermost humanity, as mine does, and yours does too.
[ … ]
And most importantly, I know art will exist beyond him and us. Literature, unlike elections, is a long game. Nobody wins or loses in a day.
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21 Literary Quotes on Beginnings, Middles, and Endings, from Amanda Patterson at Writers Write.
My favorite of those listed is number 3:
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
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Notes from Molly Gray, CutBank’s Reviews Editor extraordinaire:
- Emily Wilson just came out with a SUPER interesting translation of The Odyssey. She's the first woman to have published a translation. She wrote a piece on LitHub about its construction. Rumor has it that Wilson faced much backlash and ostracism from her colleagues when they found out she was working on her translation. More power to her.
- Khaty Xiong (UM Poetry MFA alumna) got plugged in Buzzfeed for "Six Hmong Poets You Need to Read Right Now." She's a 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellow and is there in the woods right now. Learn more about Khaty and her work at https://khatyxiong.com/.
- This article from The Atlantic on museums and dealing with natural disasters.
“’For people going back in their own homes after disasters, they’re looking for those irreplaceable items that stand for their personal and their family’s identities, their memories, their hope for recovery in the future. Scale that up to whole communities and countries.’”
Have a review to pitch? Contact Molly at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A sampling of online awesomeness to kick off 2018.
Click them, please and thank you. You’ll be happier for it.
Jody Kennedy, a CutBank Online contributor, has a new piece up at Diagram. I love this one, and can’t decide whether it affects me more like tendrils of strong smoke in the nervous system, or with the tingling combination of pain and relief that comes when your fingers warm slowly from the cold. Check it out.
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A nominee for Best Small Fictions from formercactus:
“GIRL IN PIECES” by Cathy Ulrich
She is more robot than person when she comes back to school. Glares at the freshmen who get too close. They scatter, like maybe lasers will come out of her eyes. We all hope lasers will come out of her eyes, but they never do.
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And some you may not have heard of. Now you have no excuse to miss out.
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From the days before Bono decided “girly” was a thing, or a problem, or up to him to decide...