“As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.”
This vile word concoction, penned by Cathy Bryant of Manchester, England, was officially crowned The Worst Sentence of 2012. Contestants who entered the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest were challenged to write the worst opening line to an imaginary novel. Congratulations Cathy, this is absolutely disgusting. The phrase “greasy sebum” might have just put me off food for the rest of the day. I wonder if the rest of her novel existed, if it would be a Harlequin horror where people in love were plagued to blindness by a rare breed of flesh-eating eyelash mites. That cold be fun, I’m totally entering this contest next year. There are too many good writers out there, the world needs more crappy ones. After the jump, some other worst sentence winners. Keep reading »
The death of Irish novelist Maeve Binchy earlier this week has inspired a lot of articles, most of them warm tributes to her kind heart, quick wit, and writing ability.
British novelist Amanda Craig took a different tack.
In a piece published today by The Telegraph, she wonders whether Binchy might have been a better writer if she had been a mother. The subtitle is even more blunt, asking: “Does a female novelist need to have experienced motherhood to truly understand human emotions?” Keep reading »
When I saw on Twitter on Tuesday night that the iconic writer Nora Ephron had passed away, I felt the sort of panic you feel when someone you know in real life is in trouble. Though I’d met Nora Ephron several times in the past few years at parties, I could hardly say I knew her. Yet through her books and articles, which I’d read throughout my 20s, I felt not only like I really knew her but like she was a guardian angel figure in my life, an older aunt or a mom’s best friend who was always there with quick wit and common sense. Moreso than other second-wave women I admire — Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, Jane Fonda, Joan Baez — I would ask myself in moments of career crisis, What did Nora Ephron do when she went through this same thing? Like me, Nora Ephron had feminist sensibilities, but didn’t run in strict feminist circles. Like me, she was ambitious and talented, but wanted a family life, too. And most importantly, like me, she’d worked as a newspaper reporter, but really blossomed writing about herself. Keep reading »
Mining my life for sexual material wasn’t entirely new. I’d written, after all, about my sex life in various publications and even penned an extremely graphic novel chapter about a guy masturbating to a picture of a girl he liked and read it at Rachel Kramer Bussel’s now-defunct reading series, “In The Flesh.”
But that scene was funny more than it was dirty. Besides, it wasn’t about me. Plus I’d abandoned that novel halfway through so it never saw the light of day.
In the books I’d published, I’d somehow avoided sex. My mother even commented at one point that the sex scenes in my books were more coitus interruptus than actual coitus. Keep reading »
It makes me feel better that my lady writer hero, Dorothy Parker, also suffered occasionally from writer’s block. She sent this telegram to her editor, Pascal Covici, because she was so ashamed she couldn’t even look him “in the voice.” What a fabulous line, by the way. I have a feeling what she wrote was probably amazing. Ah, the writer’s curse. Nowadays, if I’m suffering a brain freeze, I just send an apologetic email to Amelia about my “incompetence.” Maybe I should start sending telegrams instead. [Letters of Note] Keep reading »
“You are in danger of rushing something that needs to be taken slowly. Yes, okay, you may have slipped behind a bit in your schedule but is it really that important? Probably not. Take your time and get it right.” — My horoscope (Scorpio) on Sunday October 24th
I’m not always the most patient person. On Sunday, the day that I read the horoscope above — which I then photographed with my iPhone for safe keeping because it resonated that much — I made butternut squash soup and adapted the recipe to include caramelized onions. If you’ve ever attempted to make caramelized onions, you know they take an insane amount of patience. When you’ve gotten to the point where you think they’re done, that they’ve reached the ultimate level of sweet brown deliciousness, chances are, they need another 10 minutes more. I never ever give them enough time. Keep reading »
In the new Atlantic, a male author lampoons Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, “Two writers whose work is often referred to as chick lit,” for tweeting and commenting that white male literary darlings (like Jonathan Franzen) get all the good ink. Yet the only thing less fun than not being taken seriously by the big boys is not being taken anywhere at all. I know since I tried to sell out for decades when nobody was buying. Keep reading »
I feel bad for Emily Gould. Next week, the former editor of gossip blog Gawker.com will publish her first book, a collection of personal essays called And The Heart Says Whatever. And when I think about what’s going to happen to her, I just want to shield my eyes.
You see, almost two years ago exactly, Emily Gould landed on the cover of The New York Times Magazine for an article published in it, “Exposed: Blog Post Confidential.” If people hated her article (several thousand words about how her sometimes nasty blogging for Gawker complicated or ruined her personal relationships), they hated her cover photo even more: Gould lying on her bed in a tank top, staring up at the camera. The types of internet comments her piece provoked included cyberbullying-ish put-downs like “narcissists,” “narcissistic pipsqueak,” “immature,” “intellectual midget,” “navel-gazing,” “idiots with big mouths,” “undiagnosed psych disorder,” and “Now I understand the timeless appeal of public stoning.” Yeesh.
As another young female writer, watching this scared the crap out of me. I should probably be old enough to know better than to get rattled by all that haterade, but I worry about the young female writers in high schools across the country who see that and then learn, “This is what will happen if I write about myself.” Keep reading »
A lot of “new web sites” toddle into our line of vision and they’re largely forgettable. But SheWrites.com, a social networking site for women writers, is way cool. You can ask for help finding an agent, promote your books, articles and blog posts, or read interviews with beloved authors. And, of course, you can feel warm ‘n fuzzy inside about being part of community that truly sympathizes with the pain that comes from sitting too long with a warm laptop on your thighs!
I just joined and so did Amelia. If you’re a writer, won’t you join us? Keep reading »
Not sure if that mystery hottie messaging you on MySpace is really a cute guy or an old lonely woman with 50 cats that just likes to role-play? A new website program called the Gender Genie claims it can tell whether someone is a man or woman by their writing. Using algorithms developed by Moshe Koppel at Bar Ilan University and Shlomo Argamon from Illinois Institute of Technology, the site decodes any passage by any author and makes its determination instantly. Although I’ve always wanted a penis of my very own, when I checked my last blog post about Dick Cheney, it said I was a overwhelmingly a dude. Huh. This just further proves my theory that I’m actually a drag queen trapped in a woman’s body. [Gearlive]
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