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Posts Tagged ‘Maud Newton’

Writing Jobs; Literary Style Icons

August 26, 2011 | by

Hi Sadie,
I would like to know how to find jobs writing, as someone very new to the field. I am unsure where to start looking. Some ads just look like scams to me.
Thank you,

Dear Angela,

We received two queries on starting out as a writer this week, as it happens—maybe it’s the time of year? I always think of “back-to-school” as a much more logical starting point for new ventures than January 1, personally. But to answer your question, to the extent that that is possible in a few short paragraphs? First of all, the necessary warnings. Making your living as a writer is hard. Obvious, maybe, but it bears repeating. My parents—and for that matter, my grandfather—wrote for a living, and stable isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind when discussing my childhood. I often think that if I had any other marketable skills, I’d do something else. And keep in mind that many of the great writers in history have done so while holding down day jobs. I’m sure the structure of regular employment—not to mention the financial security—is a real help to many.

But if you are serious about writing professionally, in any capacity, the best advice anyone can give you is to write, and as much as possible. Which is not to say you should go for any “gig” advertised on Craigslist; you’re right to be wary. People have different views on blogs. In my case, I found keeping a personal blog to be useful both in developing a voice and in forcing myself to be accountable to a readership, even if that readership was just my grandmother. I’d add the caveat, though, that you want to be careful what you put out there—this writing, as much as anything in your clips file, will define you both professionally and personally. For the pitch, think of interesting takes on things that genuinely engage you. Don’t be shy. Familiarize yourself with publications and Web sites and get to know their tones. Not everyone can pay much; that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile clip. Ask questions. Go to readings. Talk to everyone you meet. Keep in mind that there’s no shame in striking out—and you will—and that no rejection feels as bad as the knowledge that you haven’t tried.

Dear Sadie,
What are some of your favorite author twitters?


I think we can all agree that the best writers don’t always make the best twitterers, and vice versa, but there are a few who have mastered both genres. (Is Twitter a genre? I’m afraid it might be.) Polymath Wil Wheaton—as one might expect from someone who exercises such economy of characters in the spelling of his own first name—is a Twitter star for a reason. Ditto the ever-entertaining Stephen Fry. Maud Newton is necessary reading for the reader. And Shakespeare (@WillShake) isn’t half-stepping, either.

Dear Sadie,
Who is your literary style icon?

Fictionally speaking, I’ve definitely gone through phases where certain characters exerted undue influence. I’m no particular lover of Hemingway, but who wouldn’t be seduced by this description of Lady Brett Ashley: “She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy’s. She started all that. She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.” Oh, and she also sports a fedora. (Not recommended for an undersized sixteen-year-old, in case the younger me is reading this.) If we’re talking literary figures beyond the page, the list gets even longer: Carson McCullers, Barbara Pym, and my personal inspiration for the years 2003 to 2005, Sylvia Beach.

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Staff Picks: Life, Summer, Candy

July 8, 2011 | by

I finally picked up Keith Richards’s Life the other week, and it’s all I want to read when I have a spare moment. —Thessaly La Force

Over the long weekend, I devoured Bella Pollen’s The Summer of the Bear—the story of a family moving to an island in the Hebrides following the death of the father, as well as the unraveling mystery of his life—and found it to be the perfect escape. —Sadie Stein

One of the perks of having a kid is making time for books I otherwise wouldn’t make time for, especially the classics. Right now, we’re working our way through one of my favorites, Black Beauty. A good excuse to dig out my old Breyer set of Black Beauty, Duchess, Ginger, and Merrylegs.Nicole Rudick

I spent the holiday with friends in New England, and we played many a round of what I’ve always called “The Book Game” and Dwight Garner calls “The Paperback Game” and, either way, is about the most entertaining game in existence. (Hint: don’t play it with Terry Southern’s Candy, which has a seventy-word opening sentence. I speak from experience.) —S. S.

Avi Steinberg on Mike Tyson. —T. L.

Thanks to Maud Newton’s nostalgia for the Lone Star state (and my own), I’m making nachos this weekend. —N. R.

If you haven’t already, read Jose Antonio Vargas’s personal confession of being an undocumented immigrant. “We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read.” —T. L.

Don’t let these creepy ads for Children’s Hospital scare you away—it really is one of the funniest shows on TV this summer. —Cody Wiewandt

The animal kingdom reacts to the Casey Anthony verdict. —Natalie Jacoby


Staff Picks: 60 Fotos, Maud Newton’s Rapture

May 20, 2011 | by

More looking than reading: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s 60 Fotos. Errata Editions has reprinted the entirety of the original 1930 book, a series of photographs, photograms, and photomontages. Truth be told, each image—geometric, abstract, fluid, distorted, and disquieting—requires as much reading as just looking. —Nicole Rudick

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but it’s not: soon, you may be able to take a blood test that can estimate how long you have to live. It may be too late, though, seeing as the Rapture is due to occur tomorrow. —Natalie Jacoby

Whether or not you believe the world is going to end tomorrow, read Maud Newton on having her fortieth birthday coincide with the Rapture. —Thessaly La Force

With a stunning and tragic Giro d’Italia in full swing in Europe and the Amgen Tour of California rolling closer to home, it’s been a good time to dig out The Rider, Tim Krabbé’s fictionalization of the 1977 Tour du Mont Aigoual race in southern France. The bikes are heavier and sprockets smaller than the feats of engineering raced today, but the raw drive to suffer and dominate that animates Krabbé’s lean staccato hasn’t aged a day. —Peter Conroy

In his recent Paris Review interview, Ray Bradbury claims to have modeled The Martian Chronicles after Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. I’m fond of Bradbury, and I’m fond of (and from) Ohio, and a friend recently passed Anderson’s short-story cycle along as suggested reading. It hit the mark for me, not least for its chilly evocations of claustrophobic, small-town America. —Stephen Andrew Hiltner

Rob Delaney really panders to my weird, should-I-open-this-URL-at-work sense of humor. Recently, I was very happy to learn he’ll be writing a new column for Vice magazine. I’ve never been more excited about feeling like I did something wrong or inappropriate, which is how I feel when I read his jokes. —N. J.


“Lit It Crowd” Lousy with Parisians

May 5, 2011 | by

Photography by Douglas Adesko.

At the risk of, um, tweeting our own horn, this month’s Paper Magazine singles out our own Thessaly La Force and Sadie Stein, plus Daily contributors Maud Newton and Emma Straub, as New York's most “influential, fun, and fabulous” Twitterers.

But you knew that ...


Philip Connors on ‘Fire Season’

April 15, 2011 | by

Photograph by Martha Connors.

To be a fire lookout, Norman Maclean once wrote, isn’t a matter of body or mind, but of soul. Philip Connors should know. He’s spent a third of each year for nearly a decade watching for smoke in the Gila National Forest. His new book, Fire Season, which started as a diary in The Paris Review, is at once a fascinating personal narrative, a history of "a vocation in its twilight,” and a poetic tribute to solitude and the natural world. Connors examines the wilderness and his experience of it by turns from a remove, dispassionately, and up close, with great feeling, and evokes a whole world in charming but disciplined prose. He’s funny but not self-indulgent. He’s plainspoken but not condescending or tinnily folksy. Without being didactic or blinkered, or even obvious about what he’s doing, he offers an impassioned defense of a life and place he loves.

Your lookout tower stands on a mountain that rises more than ten thousand feet. From it you can see the first wisps of smoke below, but you can alsowhen things are calm—write. How much of the book came into being up there in your seven-by-seven-foot glass box in the sky?

Once I signed the contract, I had romantic visions of feeding a giant roll of paper into my typewriter and cranking out a record of events as they happened that season in the lookout, writing it all down the way Kerouac wrote On the Road. Foolishness! As I sat there that summer, the thought of immortalizing my experience between hard covers paralyzed me. I couldn’t get started. So I developed strategies to generate raw material I could draw on later. The most successful of these involved typing long letters to my editor, Matt Weiland, about everything I was seeing, everything that was happening, and just trying to stay unself-conscious about the writing. On my days off I’d hike down with the letters, make a quick photocopy for my files, and drop them in the mail to New York. Anything that moved him or intrigued him eventually led me down a fruitful path. Anything that left him cold I abandoned. This meant that I didn’t start writing the book until fire season was over and I was back in town. I needed time to sift through what of the experience was worth recounting and what was not. The goal became to write a book about watching mountains that left out the boring parts—easier said than done.

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A Week in Culture: Maud Newton, Part 2

June 10, 2010 | by

This is the second installment of Maud Newton’s culture diary. Click here to read part 1.


8:07 A.M. I don’t work on Wednesdays, but I’m up early anyway, mildly hungover and with tea in hand, to write. The dinner scene looks clunkier now; commence line-edits.

9:30 A.M. Online grazing: Garrison Keillor publishes an infuriating death-of-publishing op-ed. Kingsley Amis argues that Keats isn’t a great poet. Graydon Carter says that Kingsley Amis was “an accomplished womanizer, drinker, and conversationalist” who was “funny and raffishly rude, and had the thinnest, whitest skin I’ve ever seen on a man—like a condom filled with skim milk.” The NYPL and the Brooklyn and Queens library systems are beginning major layoffs; protest by joining the postcard campaign.

10:30 A.M. More writing, further consultation of Memento Mori.

12:30 P.M. For lunch: bagel with tomato, onion, lox, and cream cheese. I’ve set aside a little time here because I’m excited to take a look at the galley for my friend Amitava Kumar’s A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, about the U.S. terrorism-detection machine/industry.

2:00 P.M. Back to work on my novel draft.

8:12 P.M. After six hours’ work, I’m feeling more optimistic about the way all the hullabaloo with the dogs leads into the dinner scene.

8:45 P.M. Sushi and drinks with Max. Lately when I drink gin, I’ve been doing it Kingsley Amis’s preferred way, with a little ice, lemon, and water. It’s growing on me. I don’t know why I’m drinking the things he and Muriel Spark did.

11:00 P.M. Time for another episode of Damages (second of Season Two).

1:23 A.M. Amis on owing to/due to: Never say “Due to lack of interest, the carol service has been cancelled"—only “Owing to...”  

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