Essay of the week: Toni Morrison’s vision

This was a beautifully written profile: The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison – NYTimes.com by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. Have you read any of Morrison’s books? I am ashamed to say that I have not, but Beloved is sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to give it my full attention.

Essay of the week: You do you

How ‘You Do You’ Perfectly Captures Our Narcissistic Culture – NYTimes.com by Colson Whitehead — a fascinating look at pernicious phrases like “you do you” and “it is what it is.”

Popeye’s “I yam what I yam,” however, remains what it has always been — the pathetic ravings of a man who claims superstrength, when it is obvious to everyone else in the room that spinach merely ameliorates the symptoms of an undiagnosed vitamin deficiency. A scurvy dog, indeed.

Margaret Atwood, Game of Thrones superfan…

Read this and had to share: Margaret Atwood on Game of Thrones: ‘Real people, every murderous one’. Well, if George pops off before the series is done, maybe she can finish it for him. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Essay of the Week: Telling family stories

Raising Teenagers: The Mother of All Problems – NYTimes.com by Rachel Cusk. Ignore the headline–this is an amazing essay about the stories we invent for ourselves and our families. We are all storytellers. Sometimes we forget that our children our storytellers too, and have the right to tell their own stories of their lives, rather than abide by ours. 

Essay of the week: Childless by choice

Childless by Choice – NYTimes.com by Michele Huneven.

Huneven is the author of JameslandThis was a moving essay on her decision not to have children.

Essay of the week: The Vast Realm of ‘If’

There is beauty in our dreams of change, our constant what ifs. Days begin in the realm of solemn undertakings — to eat less, to exercise more, to work harder, or to go gentler. They end with wobbles into compromise, or collapses into indulgence, with the perennial solace of the prospect of another day. The good-intentions dinner, a salad with a couple of slivers of chicken, turns into a Burrito with cheese and avocado and salsa and chicken. That’s human.

via The Vast Realm of ‘If’ – NYTimes.com.

Essay of the week: About MFA Writing Programs

Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One – Books – The Stranger by James Yamasaki.

Well, this was a controversial essay, to say the least. He divides aspiring writers into three groups:

I had a handful of students whose work changed my life. The vast majority of my students were hardworking, thoughtful people devoted to improving their craft despite having nothing interesting to express and no interesting way to express it. My hope for them was that they would become better readers. And then there were students whose work was so awful that it literally put me to sleep.

Tough truths, but after spending several months now reading and reviewing “indie books” (and having yet to run across the “real deal”), I tend to agree.