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Showing posts from April 1, 2018

advice for writers

The writer no more creates writing than the electrician creates electricity. Invisible currents move at their own speed, out there, among unknown elements – and the writer merely captures a bit of that invisible world in the poor conductors available to him, and measures it and deludes others – though not himself – that he made the conductor, the current, the speeds and fluctuations.  New, yes, to our science, but not to that invisible world itself. Nothing is new or old, there. 

the economists and the plutocrats

Economists have really missed some chances in the last decade. For instance, where is the model that shows the way that the wealthy will, quite rationally, spend money on other than productive ventures to remain wealthy?  And since the wealth we are talking about was accumulated under the paradox of its not really being useful per se to the wealthy - once you have five hundred million dollars, it is unlikely your lifestyle is going to get better with another 100 million dollars - the amounts involved can be seen as pure instruments of prestige.  This is an area that the economists never venture into, because, of course, it is at the intersection of economics and politics. In fact, it is the proper subject of the political economy, which until the twentieth century was where the study of economcs was located. As it ejected itself from this category, economics became technocratic - and pretended to become non-political. But of course that is nonsense.  What the plutocrats do is not s

The unacknowledged father of YA - Dostoevsky

"On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation towards K. bridge. He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on the staircase." Prophetic words, I thought. A whole future suddenly seemed possible to me. And I was fourteen. My favorite young adult novel is Crime and Punishment. I read this before I read any of Dostoevsky’s other novels. I read it when I was in the ninth grade. It transfixed me. It did what I expect a novel to do, on the highest level: it became part of my inner equipment. I read the translation by Constance Garnett. It was in the Clarkston High School library, which, looking back, was surprisingly well stocked. This was undoubtedly the result of the influx of suburbanites into Dekalb County in the 1960s, when Atlanta was still swanning it as the “capital” of the “New South”. My family had moved, like so many others, from New York