Category Archives: Blogs

National Paragraph Writing Month

The Millions is launching a new initiative in coordination with National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo).

We are launching #NaGrafWriMo in recognition of all the writers with jobs and family obligations, and those who just spend an ungodly amount of time on the Internet, who find it hard to read a whole book in a month, much less write one. But we are also embarking on this new program because we have found that, for most writers, it can take more talent, determination, and hard work to write one good paragraph than an entire lousy book.

Here, here to more good paragraphs and fewer lousy books.

Writers on the Internet

Sean Minogue writes about writers using social media for better or for worse.

Unreachability and self-seriousness used to define many of our best-known authors, but the public appetite for writerly swagger in both old and new media is at an all-time low. Jonathan Franzen, for example, continues to spark minor firestorms with his pooh-poohing of Twitter: “I see people who ought to be spending time developing their craft […] making nothing and feeling absolutely coerced into this constant self-promotion,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today program. Franzen is behind the curve, but not because he doesn’t like Twitter. It’s his fundamental misunderstanding of social media that makes his opinions so quaint.

In the end, social media are just other platforms for authors to speak or ignore as they wish.

Dusty cobwebbed old underwood typewriter

You’ll eat it and you’ll like it!

Author Cedar Sanderson approached me a while back about contributing to a series of posts on her blog. The theme is “Eat This While You Read That.” The idea was that I would recommend a recent book of mine, along with a meal to eat with it. Then she would prepare the meal, photograph it, sample it, and report.

So (somewhat shamefacedly) I recommended Death’s Doors and the most memorable meal in my recent memory, an unusually good hot beef sandwich (also known as a commercial, or a Manhattan, apparently).

It all came out better than I deserve. You can read it here.

‘The American Culture’

One of our oldest friends in the blogging world is S. T. Karnick’s The American Culture blog. I’ve been a participant there, though I’ve had to cut it back severely in the last couple years, due to my educational schedule. You may have noticed that the operation moved to the Liberty 21 Institute for a while. That association has ended.

If, like me, you’ve had a little trouble finding TAC again, it’s back at its old digs here.

This has been a public service announcement.

Don’t Interrupt Me

Who first said, “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it”? Is it an old Chinese proverb or more recent American maxim?

The Quote Investigator works it over and decides he doesn’t know, but there’s this:

One instance appeared on March 7, 1903 in a periodical called “The Public” based in Chicago, Illinois. An acknowledgment to the humor magazine “Puck” was appended.

Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.—Puck.

We Are What We Read

Rosaria Butterfield describes her rejection of lesbianism, three heresies related to homosexuality, and the importance of what and how we read to our worldview.

In short, we honor God with our reading diligence. We honor God with our reading sacrifice. If you watch two hours of TV and surf the internet for three, what would happen if you abandoned these habits for reading the Bible and the Puritans? For real. Could the best solution to the sin that enslaves us be just that simple and difficult all at the same time? We create Christian communities that are safe places to struggle because we know sin is also “lurking at [our] door.” God tells us that sin’s “desire is for you, but you shall have mastery over it” (Gen. 4:7). Sin isn’t a matter of knowing better, it isn’t (only) a series of bad choices—and if it were, we wouldn’t need a Savior, just need a new app on our iPhone.

Bertrand: Let Me Design a Bible

Gutenberg BibleThe Bible Exchange labels J. Mark Bertrand “the most interesting man in the (Bible) world” as a way to soften him up before peppering him with questions. What’s his favorite Bible? The ESV Reader’s Bible, though possibly not the edition I’ve linked to. Is this the Bible he’d want if he were to be stranded on a dessert-ladened island surrounded by cakes and coffees… I mean, a desert island with only a shade weed and a view of Nineveh? No. He’d want “one that doesn’t yet exist.

“Every so often people will ask me, ‘Why don’t you design your own Bible?’ I’d really like to. I’ve gone so far as to create the proposal to see whether any publishers are interested in the project. Meanwhile I am staying away from boats and airplanes for fear of being prematurely stranded.”

Shameless quid pro quo

Yesterday I linked to Anthony Sacramone’s announcement of a new edition of the Intercollegiate Review, over at Strange Herring.

Today, entirely by coincidence, he links to my interview at Issues, Etc.

Oh, who am I kidding? He goes into the Norman history of his Sicilian ancestors, and we Sicilians are all about scratching each other’s backs.

That’s a nice photo of me at the top of the blog post, too.

I review ‘Saint Odd’ at The American Culture

I’ve got a review of Saint Odd, the final Odd Thomas book, over at Liberty 21’s The American Culture blog today.

If you’ve read the novels (and for heaven’s sake, if you haven’t read them, don’t start with this one. Start with Odd Thomas, and read them in order), you know what I mean. We all knew it was coming. There is no surprise in it.

But be comforted. All is well. All will be well.