“Here’s my life,” writes Ann Bauer on Salon. “My husband and I get up each morning at 7 o’clock and he showers while I make coffee. By the time he’s dressed I’m already sitting at my desk writing. He kisses me goodbye then leaves for the job where he makes good money, draws excellent benefits and gets many perks, such as travel, catered lunches and full reimbursement for the gym where I attend yoga midday. His career has allowed me to work only sporadically, as a consultant, in a field I enjoy.” Bauer admits that this admission might be considered “crass,” but she’s calling for more honesty like this in her piece, entitled “‘Sponsored’ By My Husband: Why It’s A Problem That Writers Never Talk About Where Their Money Comes From.” Keep reading »
VICE wrote up a cool panel discussion at Bard on the subject of politically engaged art today, but it was lacking an answer to the question it posed: Can art be a form of political activism?
The obvious answer is, well, yes, of course. I mean, look at Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat,” or practically any of the paintings that he finished during the French Revolution: It’s basically all political propaganda, and very effective political propaganda, at that (Marat was a revolutionary writer who was assassinated; David’s painting institutionalized him as a martyr of the revolution). Manet’s “Olympia” was a political challenge to the art world, its aesthetics and values, inasmuch as it very clearly depicted a prostitute who, rather than having an idealized body and rather than existing for the aesthetic pleasure of the viewer was painted with an imperfect, human body and a confrontational expression. In the 1970s, Mierle Ukeles challenged the art world on its class and gender politics by publicly performing “low” or “women’s” work at the Wadsworth Atheneum, cleaning the museum and washing its front steps as a way of pointing out all the things that must be done to support museums and keep them physically viable. Their boards of directors, their curators, and the artists displayed might get the public attention, but museums couldn’t function without maintenance work. Keep reading »
Ever wondered what corner of Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s brain Green Eggs and Ham came from? As it turns out, it came from the part that takes dares. The iconic book was conceived after a dare to write a book containing 50 words or less (it comes in at 50 exactly).
In this video, the chief curator of the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UC San Diego, Lynda Claassen, walks through Geisel’s writing and illustration process, using his working notes and illustrations for Green Eggs and Ham. Check it out! [h/t BOOOOOOOM!]
I am by no means a prude, but I’m more than happy to admit that reading sex scenes in fiction (or nonfiction, for that matter) skeeves me out a little. OK, a lot. I’m more on the “exhibitionist” end of the spectrum than the “voyeur” end, I guess.
Anyway, if you’re like me, get ready to cringe at the passage that won Ben Okri’s The Age of Magic the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award from Britain’s Literary Review: Keep reading »
Over the weekend, my boyfriend Michael visited his mom and his sister, who was home from school for the weekend, out in the burbs. He told them he was going to propose to me soon, and his sister said she already knew that because she reads my work. Whoops! I’m so glad I don’t talk much about our sex life here.
The reality of working as a writer, and specifically as a woman writer, while in a relationship comes with a few problems. I can’t say anything too specific about Michael, and I’m glad he has such a common first name, because it makes him hard to identify. Part of that gladness stems from the fact that there are nutso predators on the Internet who might take issue with what I have to say and decide to make my life worse by making life worse for the people I love. The other part of it is that I am an unconventional woman with strong, non-mainstream opinions, and I don’t want them to be attached to my boyfriend’s public persona. Dating someone doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or believe, after all. My job in terms of his career is to show up at the annual holiday party and be charming. His bosses don’t need to know anything else about me lest they start believing that because I’m unconventional, Michael is also less conventional than they’ve been led to believe (he is less conventional than he comes off, but not in the leftist/feminist/sex positive/gender nonconformist/takes clothes off on the Internet sort of way). Keep reading »