“When I think of rhubarb I think of those old Looney Tunes episodes where a woman shown only from the waist down would leave a pie on her windowsill to cool and some animal or hobo would come steal it. But anyway, don’t eat the rhubarb leaves because they are toxic!”—Everyone’s following Erin already, right? And everyone is receiving her incredible zine “You Taste Like Nachos!” in their mailboxes already, right? I’m just checking.
Does the world need another Robin Hood movie? Or does the world actually need a movie centered on an unapologetically badass Maid Marian? I don’t know the answer to the first question (although I lean towards no, knowing as I do that this exists), but my answer to the second is an unqualified yes. At times, it feels as if the filmmakers felt that way too, because we keep getting wonderful scenes in which Cate Blanchett is sassy and funny, scenes in which she stabs a would-be rapist in the back with a knife she hid in her boot, scenes in which she runs around a village brandishing a sword, and a scene in which she rides into the middle of a battle dressed in chain mail. Everything Maid Marian does in this movie is awesome, which is why it’s especially disappointing when Ridley Scott and Co. seem to remember that they’re not making a movie about her. The climactic scene of this movie (spoiler, obviously) makes it appear as though Maid Marian is the one who will take down the evil bald guy who has been making everyone miserable, but then she just kind of, I don’t know, falls down and lies in the ocean while the men take care of things. Let Maid Marian kill, I say!!
Also, this movie is loud. Also, you will wait so long to hear the dialogue, “I declare him to be an outLAWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!”
“Interspersed among the fiction, the new collection includes also a few of the sketches that Jackson drew from her life and originally published in—of all places—Good Housekeeping. In one of these, “The Third Baby’s the Easiest,” a clerk asks Jackson, who is checking into the hospital to deliver her third child, what her occupation is. “Writer,” Jackson answers. “Housewife,” the clerk supplies. “Writer,” Jackson repeats. “I’ll just put down housewife,” the clerk tells her.”—Shirley Jackson was, technically, a stay-at-home mom.
“Meaning, I think, comes from doing a full accounting of your limitations and assets, your passions and your weaknesses, your belief system and your fears, and then rubbing up against the things that cause you to panic, like an allergy skin scratch test, and find out what your reactions are. Once you figure out how you can contribute to the greater good, once you’re able even to define that, you take that information and pour yourself into one direction. Regardless of discomfort or regrets or what-ifs. (And then doing that over and over again, until death.) That does not fit on a T-shirt.”—Jessa Crispin
For the last two weeks, I’ve been writing a rambling and ridiculous plot summary of the first three chapters of this novel I am writing (it’s mostly me asking myself “Does this make sense?” all the time and noting actors who can play key characters in the inevitable movie adaptation in my head [Jon Hamm, Helen Mirren]). I’m starting to realize that I’m having trouble actually getting started because I haven’t attempted the first necessary step in any process at all, which is to eradicate all the crazy-person voices from my brain.
God. These voices. I have to assume that we all have them, but since I write, they come to me in the form of the New Yorker's forthcoming 20 under 40 list (“This is a list you will never be on, realistically,” my brain says) or this interview with John McNally, author of a probably-too-insidery MFA program novel (“I don’t think having an MFA means much of anything,” says John McNally, and he says some other things too which are far more encouraging, but sentences like that make me want to lie down for a while), or, most often, they come from the imaginary versions of real people I keep stocked in my head for the purposes of masochism. “This is boring. There is nothing at stake here. This is too much like The Face on the Milk Carton. I don’t want to read this. I would much rather be reading Modelland,” say all these imaginary people.
I’ve never tried to be anything but a writer, so I don’t know what it’s like for other “professions” (those are sarcastic quotation marks for obvious reasons). But this whole year, I’ve ricocheted back and forth from supreme and unerring confidence to head-in-the-oven hopelessness, and while some of that is the fault of my seriously unhinged mental state, I think a lot of it stems from the fact that writers love to talk about how seriously impossible it is to be a successful writer. Why do we do this to each other? Everyone acts like they’re warning you, like they’re letting you in on the enormous well-kept secret that nobody reads books of short stories anymore and nobody will ever want to pay you for the one thing you do well. But I know this already, of course, because I have stood inside bookstores, scanned the Facebook interests of my peers, had conversations, been alive for the last twenty-three years. I know this, and I still want to do it.
So. Shut up, everybody. Here’s what I’ve been thinking: I don’t have any actual interest in being published by the New Yorker. Really. I don’t think we’d get along, because I am interested in mythological creatures and they are interested in sad people and divorce. I am happy that I am getting an MFA, even though it is expensive and useless. I get to sit around and write silly things all day for three years. IT’S GREAT. And the imaginary voices in my head can suck it, because they are not real and I am, and The Face on the Milk Carton is freaking awesome and “whatever I write will be undeniably superior to Modelland” (catchphrase TM Katie Coyle May 2010). I am going to find a way to do what I want with my life. It will probably consist mainly of young adult novels, short stories one can download directly onto one’s iPad, and complete and total obscurity. But it will be overflowing with happiness.
“The King had a daughter who was very beautiful, but she was also very strange. She had made a vow to take no one as her lord and husband who did not promise to let himself be buried alive with her if she died first. “If he loves me with all his heart,” said she, “of what use will life be to him afterwards?”—“The Three Snake-Leaves,” Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (via thebooksimreading)
Why do I spend so much time wallowing in insecurity about my book-in-progress (i.e., does this sound too much like X-Men? Does the protagonist’s name have too many syllables?), when I should be basking in the irrefutable fact of my unwritten novel’s superiority over Tyra Banks’s unwritten Modelland?
It’s enough that I just wrote “WHATEVER YOU WRITE WILL BE UNDENIABLY SUPERIOR TO MODELLAND” on a Post-It note and affixed it above my desk. THERE IS JUST NO WAY YOU ARE WRONG IN THIS ASSUMPTION, SELF.
Model and television host Tyra Banks…has followed a new celebrity trend, landing a three-book deal with Delacorte Press for a YA fantasy series entitled Modelland.
According to Variety, the deal was negotiated by Bankable Enterprises, the company behind Banks’ popular show, America’s Next Top Model. The book is scheduled for a summer 2011 release. In recent months, everybody from Hilary Duff to Harlan Coben have decided to write for this hot genre.
Here’s more about the deal: “In a concept that marries Top Model and Harry Potter, Modelland centers on a teen who manages to get into an exclusive academy for ‘Intoxibel las’ — who are the most exceptional models known to humankind and harbor unknown powers. Once there, she finds herself competing to be accepted as part of that world.”
Children of America, please tell me that you want no part of this.
All aspiring writers should read Stephenie Meyer’s Wikipedia page weekly. It is filled with precious gems of wisdom and insight.
She also says that her writing is strongly influenced by music, and she posts “playlists” (from Playlist.com) on her website of songs which specifically inspired her books. Bands included most often in her playlists are Muse, Blue October, My Chemical Romance, Coldplay, and Linkin Park.
Sam Rockwell should be cast in every movie, ever, because I have never seen him give a bad performance, not even in whichever Charlie’s Angels movie he’s in, and I thought he was particularly good in Iron Man 2, like, why even bother with Mickey Rourke, you know? Not really, but seriously, Hollywood, Sam Rockwell. You’ve got something really good on your hands with that guy. Watch him dance.
Also on the last day I worked at the video store I used to work at, the boss I hated the most said “Let’s put on Confessions of Dangerous Mind and see if Sam Rockwell comes in” and I was like “Whatever, dude,” but then Sam Rockwell did come in! And my boss had wandered away, as he was wont to do! So it was just me, watching the movie! And it was sort of embarrassing, until I was like, “My boss wanted to cosmically call you here using one of your own movies,” and Sam Rockwell was like, “Yikes.”
“Underneath that angry young woman exterior is a slightly less angry young woman, just dying to bake me something. You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A Twinkie.”—Veronica Mars, Season One, Episode 1.
“But it’s come to the point where the only reliable person I can depend on is myself, which is a feminist idea in and of itself. Of course this is easier said than done. The essential problem is that most girls need role models because they can’t come up with all the answers on their own. Plus, girls my age are trained so thoroughly to hate themselves that sadly, it’s probably harder for them to be their own role models than to find one in the vast, global populace.”—Beautiful post by 17-year-old Julie Zeilinger on Jezebel.
“Don’t use wit as a way to keep the reader at arm’s length.”—This is some advice that my professor, Cathy Day, gave me on my last story, but which I really wish someone had given me in general at the age of, oh, say, 12. But having replaced “the reader” with “the rest of humanity” first.
I don’t know quite how to express in words how it feels to wake up on a beautiful bright Pittsburgh day with one-third of your MFA in Fiction completed and a whole summer ahead of you to write young adult novels and read whatever goddamn books you please. But the Fifth Dimension captures it pretty well right here.
"All the Characters on Mad Men are Assholes": A Series of Photos of the Characters on Mad Men Who Are Assholes
Has a secret life which he hides in a box in a locked drawer. Asshole.
One time she stuffed her daughter in a closet.
Really mean to Peggy all the time.
Totally over this chick.
Joan’s husband is such an asshole that I feel bad about calling Joan an asshole. He is the worst. He is a wife-rapist and he deserves every vase-in-the-head that he gets. Clearly he is going to die in Vietnam but FRANKLY THAT IS NOT GOING TO COME SOON ENOUGH FOR ME.
Grandpa Gene resembles John McCain too closely not to be an asshole. Honorable Mention goes to this new Bobby. Not as good as the old Bobby.
Not even going to get into it with these two. I almost left Roger off this list because he is so classy at being an asshole, but then I remembered that time he sang in blackface.