Two Posts on Israel-Gaza

Sexy for Soldiers

It’s no surprise that women on both ends of the modesty spectrum — who might be ideologically opposed in many ways — would be encouraged to focus on their bodies as a way to influence the outcome of a conflict abroad, or shore up a sense of national character on the “home front.” It’s the way of war.


Those Boys on Gaza Beach Remind Me of My Brother

When I saw the footage of those lanky boys running on the beach, and their parents’ stricken faces when they learned their boys had fallen at the hands of Israeli shelling, I totally lost it.

They could be my family. They are my family. I see myself, my loved ones in them.

The Writers’ Retreat

The Writers’ Retreat

(Source: The New York Times)

Pickup in NPR’s Code Switch

The Burden Of Rules

So what is the solution? xoJane writer Sarah Seltzer suggests: “A writing workshop should always begin with this addition to the rules: ‘If you approach a word, a phrase, an idea or a cultural reference that is unfamiliar to you, it’s your job as a reader to figure it out from context or look it up.’ … The reader’s unschooled ignorance becomes the burden, not the writer’s ‘exotic’ references.” I wonder. Even as an instructor, I have had the experience of having to tread carefully around race.

"When Defending Your Writing Becomes Defending Yourself"—NPR Code Switch, July 20, 2014

"It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them—hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful."

The Problem with Esquire’s Praise of 42-Year-Old Women & Amy Poehler | New Republic
Words of wisdom from Rebecca Traister.

"Don’t think about how your characters sound, but how they see. Watch the world through their eyes—study the extraordinary and the mundane through their particular perspective. Walk around the block with them, stroll the rooms they live in, figure out what objects on the cluttered dining room table they would inevitably stare at the longest, and then learn why."

5 Writing Tips: Dinaw Mengestu

"If I had a staff of even one person, or could tolerate a small amphetamine habit, or entertain the possibility of weekly blood transfusions, or had been married to Vera Nabokov, or had a housespouse of even minimal abilities, a literary life would be easier to bring about. (In my mind I see all your male readers rolling their eyes. But your female ones—what is that? Are they nodding in agreement? Are their fists in the air?)"

Lorrie Moore on the Difficulties of Constructing a Writing Life | Longreads