Category: "writing"

wishes

08/18/17 08:24

A poet friend of mine recently sent birthday cards to two poems of his that have been sitting at a magazine for a year.

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing

This week I received an email from an editor to whom I had recently submitted a piece. “This is a wonderful essay,” he wrote, “brilliantly evocative of a time and a place and a state of mind. … But, once again, we simply don't have space to publish essays of this sort these days, as we need to keep more squarely focused on events of the moment.”

I very much appreciated the editor’s thoughtfulness. Many, when they’re not interested in your submission, don’t even bother to tell you. But as gratifying as his comments were personally, they were distressing professionally. I blame the Internet and brute capitalism. In an age when readers can be counted, and views equal revenues, the most popular subjects push out everything else. And the most popular, inevitably, are the most topical. The ultimate goal of the writer – to produce work that is timeless – is now being sabotaged by the dictatorship of the timely.

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing

Woe to the writer working without a platform from a position of privilege.

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing

I arrived home yesterday from a few days up in Pennsylvania to find a large envelope from Major League Baseball. Inside were three copies of the All-Star Game’s official program with my guide to Miami – which I thought had been commissioned for the website – on page 102. Watching the game a few hours later I had the strange and pleasant feeling of being a part of it. And it occurred to me that, even more than a prestigious magazine or quarterly, an All-Star Game program is saved for future generations.  

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing

Yesterday I read an entertaining story by Curtis Sittenfeld in the New Yorker’s summer fiction issue about students in a writing program in the mid-West. Having never studied writing, I’m intrigued by stories of MFA programs. At prestigious ones like the Iowa Writers Workshop (which may have been the disguised setting of this story) gifted people are taught by some of the best practitioners in their genres, not unlike, say, at MIT. In a highly competitive atmosphere, they learn and grow and graduate extremely well-trained. But I can’t help but feel that something is missing due to their years spent in school with people very much like themselves instead of out in the world, with all its variety. Of course I would, wouldn’t I? But much more than science, writing is dependent on human experience.

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing

Writing a memoir I sometimes worry about living in the past, so I was thrilled to learn about the men working to bring back the woolly mammoth.

By Thomas Swick • Category: writing