Is It the End or the Beginning of California Literature Now?

East Coastians would likely balk at the term “California literature” as being an oxymoron. And yet, that’s precisely what Joan Didion carved out for herself as a genre. Yes, there were others who had written about California before her—John Steinbeck and Nathanael West come to mind (even Raymond Chandler, for the less hoity-toity)—and all just as negatively through the guise of “poetic darkness.” But none … Continue reading Is It the End or the Beginning of California Literature Now?

“Is That the Blue You’re Using?”: Eve Babitz and the Undermining of the “Didion Approach” to California

There aren’t many authors left whose long-awaited work you can continue to yearn for while they promise that “maybe” “one day” it will come. All of these types of writers hailed from the twentieth century (including J. D. Salinger, half-taunting his readers with the prospect of releasing his next Glass family saga every so often before finally kicking the bucket). Whereas a writer trying to … Continue reading “Is That the Blue You’re Using?”: Eve Babitz and the Undermining of the “Didion Approach” to California

The Bitch Who Stole Christmas Shades Print Magazines, While Also Showing Reverence for Them as They Exist in the Hallmark Version of the Present

While there are so many unexpected aspects of The Bitch Who Stole Christmas–namely, that it exists at all–maybe the most unexpected is what a quiet (if not eviscerating) champion it is for print magazines. All, of course, while mocking the shit out of how antiquated it is to even try to run one. As a writer for Gorge Magazine (ah yes, always the innuendo with … Continue reading The Bitch Who Stole Christmas Shades Print Magazines, While Also Showing Reverence for Them as They Exist in the Hallmark Version of the Present

How a Women’s Magazine Fortified the Myth of Thanksgiving and Its Absurd Menu

“He who loves not his country, can love nothing.” This quote from Lord Byron is how Sarah J. Hale, perhaps known more in the present for penning “Mary Had a Little Lamb” than being the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” commences Northwood: A Tale of New England, Vol. 1. Lord Byron’s words are a strong indication of just how much Hale was responsible for the white-washing of Thanksgiving under … Continue reading How a Women’s Magazine Fortified the Myth of Thanksgiving and Its Absurd Menu

“Try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose”: The French Dispatch is a Bittersweet Reminder of the Bygone Era That Fortified Writers Through Literary Magazines

Edgar Wright might be of the belief that the notion of there being “better days” is a fallacy, but that really doesn’t seem to be true when it comes to literary magazines. An enterprise that long ago achieved its heyday, never to really do so again. For it is a decidedly antiquated medium that is difficult to make “sexy” to anyone except pretentious East Coast … Continue reading “Try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose”: The French Dispatch is a Bittersweet Reminder of the Bygone Era That Fortified Writers Through Literary Magazines

Irony Overload: Grimes Reading The Communist Manifesto

People do all sorts of things to cope after a breakup. Get drunk, take drugs, have sex with random strangers—anything to numb the pain and forget about the ex in question, even just for a little while. But one coping mechanism that few engage in (except in a highly specific scenario such as Grimes’) is the decision to read The Communist Manifesto. Or “read” it, more accurately. Obviously … Continue reading Irony Overload: Grimes Reading The Communist Manifesto

Valeria’s Self-Publishing Journey Is the Type of Schlock That Encourages Naïve Dreams of Author Grandeur

There are all of about three truly “noteworthy” and “recent” self-publishing success stories: Legally Blonde, Fifty Shades of Grey and Diary of an Oxygen Thief (each book being decidedly diverse in content). There have been others, of course, even from the more “old school” authors, like Proust, Woolf, Austen and Hawthorne. And their work was perhaps more “viral” at the time precisely because we didn’t then use terms like “viral” … Continue reading Valeria’s Self-Publishing Journey Is the Type of Schlock That Encourages Naïve Dreams of Author Grandeur

On the Subversiveness of the Act of Reading in The White Lotus

Reading, in general, feels like an “anomalous” act. Particularly if it’s tangible literature. For “screen methods” have made it easy for “regulars” and vacationers alike to download as many books (a truly odious phrase) as they want to without worrying about the extra bulk it might cause in their suitcase or carry-on. Thus, the subversiveness of “analog” reading is taken to a new level within … Continue reading On the Subversiveness of the Act of Reading in The White Lotus

De Sade’s Reanimation in the Sex Book

Madonna’s still-underrated literary masterpiece, Sex, was arguably the last time a massive audience got truly excited—titillated—about a book. Coffee table or not. And, balk at the prose all you will (including, “My pussy has nine lives”)—it still got people talking about sex in a way they never had as a result of literature since the era of Marquis de Sade’s reign over erotic content. Madonna was … Continue reading De Sade’s Reanimation in the Sex Book

Tarantino Petty: On Not Forgiving Those Who Piss On Your Dreams (Particularly Your Parents)

While promoting his recent novelization of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino confessed freely to Brian Koppelman on his The Moment podcast that the second his mother belittled his aspirations of becoming a writer, he vowed never to give her a “penny” from the eventual fruits of his labor.  The revelation/solemn vow popped into his head when Tarantino was getting a verbal lashing for working on … Continue reading Tarantino Petty: On Not Forgiving Those Who Piss On Your Dreams (Particularly Your Parents)