Category Archives: writing

Lydia Davis’s Twitter Feed

Friend of clusterflock Mike Topp retweeted a Lydia Davis tweet yesterday, which prompted me to hope she was a regular on Twitter. Alas, this is the entirety of her Twitter feed:

Of course, there are other ways to read Lydia Davis.

once upon a time

I started dreaming there were empty rooms — an unknown space that suddenly existed at the turn in the stairs, or if you crouched beneath the mantel of the fireplace. I also dreamed my mother wore a mask, and if you reached to take it off, another one appeared. The empty rooms came back. There’s a gap between at least of twenty years. I feel the potential now of waking up and they’ll still be there, an extension of the default.

Fictionaut: Cooper Renner

I am almost envious of the simplicity of living that long time flocker, Cooper Renner, describes:

What is it like living sparely and simply, something you have mentioned to me, having a simple life as a creative person in all the ways that you do…

I wish I could live even more simply. I guess it all started twenty years ago when I started getting geographically restless. Moving lots of things around gets really boring (not to mention heavy and time-consuming), so I started divesting. About five years later I bought and moved into a travel trailer for the first time and started living in RV parks. One simply can’t pile up a lot of stuff if one has only 200 square feet to live in. And then several years after that I switched to a trailer with less than 100 square feet, so… Having a Nook helps in the book area, and using an iPod helps musically. I’ve long since gotten to the point that things feel like a terrible burden to me, something to care for and worry about. If a university somewhere would give me an office to work out of, then I would almost certainly let books start piling up again, even against my own will, in that office, and still keep my living space light. I tend toward the thought, though I haven’t quite attained the reality of it, that I don’t want to own anything that anybody would want to steal from me.

Cooper, however, mostly talks about his writing with a rather nice hat tip to clusterflock’s creator, Deron Bauman:

Because I didn’t go through the MFA (or any comparable) system, most of my learning about writing has come through reading (mostly older) writers and from contacts with editors (generally writers themselves) who published my poems, notably Gordon Lish and Deron Bauman. I also had long and encouraging correspondences with Donald Hall and Guy Davenport, though we didn’t necessarily discuss my work all that much. We wrote about books, writers, all sorts of things.

Tim Tebow & Why Faith Makes Us Nervous

If you all haven’t already happened upon it, Chuck Klosterman wrote an absolutely fascinating essay for Grantland describing the significance of Tim Tebow and why he seems to be so polarizing as a professional football player. It’s mostly about Tebow and football, except that it’s not – it’s about so much more than that:

I doubt many Christians believe that God is unfairly helping Tebow win games in the AFC West. I’m sure a few hardcores might, but not many. However, I get the impression that especially antagonistic secularists assume this assumption infiltrates every aspect of Tebow’s celebrity, and that explains why he’s so beloved by strangers they cannot relate to. Their negative belief is that penitent, conservative Americans look at Tebow and see a man being “rewarded” for his faith, which validates the idea that believing in something abstract is more important than understanding something real. And this makes them worried about the future, because they see that thinking everywhere. It seems like the thinking that ran this country into the ground.

I don’t think I’ve read such a straight-forward and correct explanation for why I get so nervous in a culture preoccupied more with feeling something than knowing anything. Also, I’m fairly convinced that some of the best writing happening today is on Grantland, the little sports website that could.

The New Breed of Writers

It’s chock full of gold:

The biggest shock to their increasingly delicate systems occurs when they actually see Big Name Writer’s copy emerge from the hands of an editor. How disillusioning to discover that BNW’s article doesn’t arrive in perfect form, that thoughts may be muddy, that insights may be unobserved … and that an editor actually pushes the writer to think, to make the changes, or wades in and makes the changes on his/her own, usually after discussion with said BNW. It is a bruising business, and only the highly articulate need apply. The goal, after all, is to say something worth killing a tree for.


Don’t eat so much. You don’t have to keep going until everything is gone. The Clean Plate Club is not looking for new members. You are already full, so why do you continue eating? You taste nothing.

Review your hardware-store shopping list. Arrange the items in two categories: things that must be fixed before they break something else, and parts for projects you will never start. Stop choosing tools based on whether you think they will outlast your span of years. Do not synthesize memories and likely scenarios as you did last time.

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Yelping with Cormac

And so. This is how the uprising began. How in the towns of that country under the cobalt vault of the sky impassive and immutable the villagers took to arms under the banner of the halfeaten taco. What was to come was not man’s doing but of some celestial machinery. Who are we to ask why? For once the taco was eaten it could not be uneaten nor could the tragedy looming be diverted or waylaid.

Excerpt from “Taco Bell, 2nd Review”, Yelping with Cormac

(via Coudal)