Do you ever wonder what lesbians do in the bedroom? So do all lesbians, apparently. That’s why Anna Pulley, a writer and sex columnist, wrote a book of haiku about contemporary lesbian relationships. With illustrations of cats, of course! We asked her a few questions.
Haiku seems to be the only poetic form that you can create almost by accident. You might say something and your friend goes, “Wait, that’s a haiku!” Whereas you would never say something and your friend goes, “Wait, that’s a Petrarchan sonnet!” How many of the haiku in your book were happy accidents?
Surprisingly, not very many! I think after the book was done, I had more of those moments, because my mind was operating in a very haiku-ish way (and still is).
But certain scenarios definitely lent themselves to easily becoming haiku. For instance, there’s one about how a lesbian says she can’t go out with you because she’s performing long-distance reiki on a cat. And that came about because a friend of mine actually did perform long-distance reiki on a cat. So in that instance, it was just about giving the haiku a slight modification and letting ‘er fly.
They’ve imagined nightmare-inducing horror stories, near-future dystopias, and untold misery caused by everything from childhood to marriage. But when it comes to Donald Trump, some of our favorite authors draw the line. According to the New York Times, more than 400 writers have signed a petition protesting his candidacy:
A group of more than 400 writers, including big names such as Stephen King, David Eggers, Amy Tan, Junot Díaz and Cheryl Strayed, released an online petition on Tuesday to express their opposition to Mr. Trump’s candidacy on the grounds that he is appealing to the darkest elements in American society.
“The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response,” they wrote.
Of course, that was yesterday. The number is now closer to 8,000 signatures. Continue reading
Patti Smith’s most recent memoir, M Train, was my amiable, occasionally absent-minded companion through the frigid first weeks of January in Berlin. Work commitments kept me apart from my husband for the early part of the year, and my solitude created an ideal state of mind to absorb M Train, which in large part is a meditation on being a woman alone in the world—and the search for a great cup of coffee.
Smith writes about her home life in New York City, which centers around a now-shuttered coffee shop, Café ’Ino, and Rockaway Beach, where she impulse-buys a modest bungalow she nicknames the Alamo. She takes us with her on her travels: French Guiana, London, Mexico, Japan, Yorkshire, Tangier, and, as luck would have it, Berlin. At loose ends one weekend while reading the book, I retraced her steps around the city.
Jorge Luis Borges writes in “The Argentine Writer and Tradition,”
For many years, in books now happily forgotten, I tried to copy down the flavor, the essence of the outlying suburbs of Buenos Aires. Of course, I abounded in local words; I did not omit such words as cuchilleros, milonga, tapia and others, and thus I wrote those forgettable and forgotten books. Then, about a year ago, I wrote a story called “Death and the Compass,” which is a kind of nightmare, a nightmare in which there are elements of Buenos Aires, deformed by the horror of the nightmare. […] There I think of the Paseo Colón and call it rue de Toulon; I think of the country houses of Adrogue and call them Triste-leRoy; when this story was published, my friends told me that at last they had found in what I wrote the flavor of the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Precisely because I had not set out to find that flavor, because I had abandoned myself to a dream, I was able to accomplish, after so many years, what I had previously sought in vain.
Sometimes admiration makes you chatty. How many people read Karl Ove Knausgaard and just have to tell you about him?
Other times, admiration strikes you dumb. This is one of those times.
Maybe one reason why I have very little to say about my admiration of The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is because I don’t often read graphic novels. In fact I’ve been kind of an asshole about them in the past. Which leaves me ill-equipped to articulate what’s so great about the ones that really grab me.
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is a 300-page graphic novel about the birth of the country of Malaysia, told through the biography of its greatest (fictional) comic book artist, using every style you can think of: sepia-toned realism, bright bursting Sunday newspaper panels, superhero action sequences, sketchbooks, painted portraits, political propaganda posters, etc. It seems that author Sonny Liew is fifteen different talents in one. This book is art. It’s history. It’s a slippery biography of a fascinatingly realistic character. Continue reading