We need rituals

Every morning, I array my tools — lotions, liquids, powders, brushes. I darken my eyes, shadow and line. Some days I sing softly, some days I work in steely silence. I call it my war paint. The ordeal is part of my ritual, the morning routine that separates my time at home to my time in the real world. The shower, the clothes, the meditative time standing over the stove — all a liminal time between those two worlds. Read More

The Bible, the Detective Novel

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Raymond Chandler co-created the beginning of a new sub-genre of writing: the hard boiled American detective novel. At one point he wrote some rules for writers working in his wake: you can read his Ten Commandments For Writing a Detective Novel here. I will circle back to Chandler’s Commandments in a moment, but I want to say I wish someone would write some thoughtful rules for reading a detective novel. I know that does sound spurious, or just silly, especially when detective fiction is so often a guilty pleasure for serious readers or literature students of all stripes. I wish it though, because I’m more and more curious about both sides of this wonderful, terrifying, transcendent mystery we are caught up in: how to write and how to read. Read More

“Can We Guess Who You Are in 20 Questions?”

“Here is our best guess at who you are: 1. You are male. [I’m female.] 2. You are still a teenager, but won’t be one for very much longer. [I wish!] 3. Your future worries you more than you’d like to admit. [Nope.] 4. You have beautiful, silky brown hair and big eyes. [I don’t even want silky brown hair!] So, how did we do? How many of these did we get right? Tell us in the comments!” Read More