You are viewing:

Cocktail Hour


Forgotten Moments in History

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: Comments Off on Forgotten Moments in History


hitler

Final Four Follow Up: Gessner vs. Plimpton, The Lost Footage

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: 2 comments


Not long ago we staged a final four tournament of the best literary magazines in the country.  The Paris Review and the upstart Ecotone both made the final four, but what we had forgotten was that some years ago there had already been a historic hoops battle between the two renowned magazines.   Now, after many hours of work on the part of the Bill and Dave research assistants, we have uncovered and retouched this lost footage of Paris Review Founding Editor George Plimpton playing Ecotone Founding Editor David Gessner in one-on-one.

Here it is:

http://youtu.be/jNjm5puz7rA?hd=1

 

 

Continue reading →

Things You Never Hear Writing Teachers Say

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: 33 comments


“Just write what comes into your head!”

“Too many specifics.”

“To hell with commas!”

“This piece needs more dialect.”

Continue reading →

Bad Advice Wednesday: Wally Stegner Chimes In

categories: bad advice / Cocktail Hour

comments: Comments Off on Bad Advice Wednesday: Wally Stegner Chimes In


steg-portraitI don’t know of any better bad advice for writers, and humans, than what follows, from an interview in the middle of On Teaching and Writing Fiction by WS (edited by Lynn Stegner):

 

Most artists are flawed; but they probably ought to make the effort not to be. But how do you teach people to enlarge themselves in order to enlarge their writing? It is a little like asking them to “commit experience” for literary purposes.

 

Largeness is a lifelong matter–sometimes a conscious goal, sometimes not. You enlarge yourself because that is the kind of individual you are. You grow because you are not content not to. You are like a beaver that chews constantly because if it doesn’t, its teeth grow long and lock. You grow because you are a grower; you’re large because you can’t stand to be small.

 

If you are a grower and writer as well, your writing should get better and larger and wiser. But how you teach that, the Lord knows.

I guess you can suggest the ideal of it, the notion that is is a good thing to be large and magnanimous and wise, that it is a better aim in life than pleasure or money or fame. By comparison, it seems to me, pleasure and money, and probably fame as well, are contemptible goals.

 

I would go so far as to say that to a class. but not all the class would believe me.

 

 

The Current Liberal Fantasy

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: Comments Off on The Current Liberal Fantasy


2016-11-15-10-49-32-01

Maybe we Shouldn’t Have Used Those Russian Voting Machines

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: Comments Off on Maybe we Shouldn’t Have Used Those Russian Voting Machines


putin

Lundgren’s Lounge: “Everybody’s Fool” by Richard Russo

categories: Cocktail Hour / Guest Columns / Reading Under the Influence

comments: Comments Off on Lundgren’s Lounge: “Everybody’s Fool” by Richard Russo


russo_richard_940_529_72

Over the course of a rich and varied reading life, I find myself returning to the pleasures of an engaging story, well-told, again and again. Excursions to the academic and literary fringes (and too often, the fiction pages of the New Yorker) reveals a miasma of intellectual postmodern tomfoolery that leads this reader, unfulfilled, back to the power of a simple story, offered up by the hands of a master story-teller. Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to the much loved Nobody’s Fool, by Richard Russo, is the quintessential example of just such a story and just such a writer.

Continue reading →

Last Trump Blasts

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: 1 comment


Okay, so it’s not the most sophisticated political cartoon in the world, but it passed an important test: it made Hadley laugh out loud. (And I finally got around the whole problem of his face being too much of a caricature to draw a caricature of…)

trumpangry

 

Lundgren’s Lounge: “Unknown Caller,” by Debra Spark

categories: Cocktail Hour / Guest Columns / Reading Under the Influence

comments: Comments Off on Lundgren’s Lounge: “Unknown Caller,” by Debra Spark


debra-spark

Debra Spark’s recently published fourth novel, Unknown Caller, might be superficially characterized as a mystery, for it is certainly mysterious. From the opening (“It is two in the morning when the phone rings… When the phone rings at 2:00 a.m. at their house, it is always her calling.”), author Spark is inviting her readers to interrogate the reliability of their assumptions. An early morning phone call is ALWAYS a portent of disaster, right? And when the caller on the other end of the line rarely speaks, it weaves an almost claustrophobic sense of impending doom. But this beguiling novel is far more than mere mystery. At the heart of this riveting, non-chronological narrative, riven as it with myriad twists and turns and somersaults and flips, lies an examination of the very nature of perception. Continue reading →

Stop Me Before I Trump Again

categories: Cocktail Hour

comments: Comments Off on Stop Me Before I Trump Again


2016-10-11-08-50-30-01