Posts Tagged ‘Letters of Note’
September 28, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Mike Davis was an artist, and the irate company-wide memorandum was his canvas. Few in the history of humankind have recognized the savage beauty of this lowliest of media. But Davis—the erstwhile head of Tiger Oil Company, and now dead at eighty-five—shattered the limits of the form with routine ease, showing us just how big an asshole one man could be to his employees. Consider his memos a spin-off of the Theater of Cruelty: “ ‘There will be no more birthday celebrations, birthday cakes, levity or celebrations of any kind within the office,’ the boss wrote on Feb. 8, 1978. ‘This is a business office. If you have to celebrate, do it after office hours on your own time.’ … ‘Do not speak to me when you see me,’ the man had ordered in a memo the month before. ‘If I want to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don’t want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you.’ ”
- It’s hard enough to get a human being to pay to read your book. Now robots are refusing to pony up, too. Google has just “fed” some eleven thousand books to its artificial intelligence, hoping to teach it how to talk like a real boy. But even though they’re rolling in the dough, Google didn’t pay any of the authors of these books, Richard Lea writes: “After feeding these books into a neural network, the system was able to generate fluent, natural-sounding sentences. According to a Google spokesman—who didn’t want to be named—products such as the Google app will be ‘much more useful if they can capture the nuance of language better’ … ‘The research in question uses these novels for the exact purpose intended by their authors—to be read,’ [Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger] argues. ‘It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a machine or a human doing the copying and reading, especially when behind the machine stands a multibillion dollar corporation which has time and again bent over backwards devising ways to monetize creative content without compensating the creators of that content.’ ”
October 23, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
- “An assignment from a stationery retailer didn’t, at first, appear much better: they wanted an article related to writing paraphernalia for their website. But then I had an idea: what if I put something together about famous letters from history?” The story behind the wonderful Letters of Note.
- Courtney Love’s memoir is set for an early 2014 release. Talking about her influences to Rolling Stone in June, Love said, “I’m reading Just Kids again because I know [Patti Smith] wrote that by herself, and My Booky Wook by Russell Brand, which I think is a great book in terms of just his voice. And then I found an old Tallulah Bankhead book where she is very fabulous. So it’s a combination of those three books. [Keith Richards’] Life was just so bloody long, I didn’t even finish it.”
- Speaking of musician tell-alls! Morrissey’s Autobiography is number one in the UK.
- “Cole and Sarah stayed to see the two grooms off. Waiting until the last guest was out the door, he walked up to her. Even though they’d gone on with the reception as planned, he knew the paparazzi raid was uppermost in both their minds.” Speaking of coauthoring books! A (tame) excerpt from Jenna Jameson’s erotic novel, Sugar.
January 3, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
In honor of January 3, enjoy this illustrated Christmas letter that the author drew for his son: a twenty-year tradition in the Tolkien home.
[Via Letters of Note.]
July 24, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
In 1961, a thirty-three-year-old Maurice Sendak wrote his editor, Harper & Row’s Ursula Nordstrom, about his self-doubts as a writer. Letters of Note presents her response. It is full of great advice, but we especially love this:
The great Russians and Melville and Balzac etc. wrote in another time, in leisure, to be read in leisure. I know what you mean about those long detailed rich novels—my god the authors knew all about war, and agriculture, and politics. But that is one type of writing, for a more leisurely time than ours. You have your own note to sound, and you are sounding it with greater power and beauty all the time. Yes, Moby Dick is great, but honestly don't you see great gobs of it that could come out? Does that offend you, coming from a presumptuous editor? I remember lines of the most piercing beauty (after he made a friend there was something beautiful about “no more would my splintered hand and shattered heart be turned against the wolfish world.”) But there are many passages which could have been cut.
Presciently, she added:
33 is still young for an artist with your potentialities. I mean, you may not do your deepest, fullest, richest work until you are in your forties. You are growing and getting better all the time.
No kidding: Sendak would write Where the Wild Things Are two years later, and the rest is children’s book history!