“People who take on complicated creative projects become lost at some point in the process.”
“C’mon. Give. What black art did they entangle you with? Satanism? Necromancy? Six Sigma?”
He leaned forward and whispered.
It’s time for “Grammarnoir” from John E. McIntyre
“Aren’t we all beginners when it comes to the heart, its four chambers never big enough to contain us, though we haven’t room for more? It takes so much work to get to the heart of the matter, a red fruit at the core of each conversation, little bonfires leaping between us when we kiss or hug or even just shake hands.”
“I’m stricken by the ricochet wonder of it all: the plain everythingness of everything, in cahoots with the everythingness of everything else.”
It was S.J. Perelman’s birthday yesterday. A passage introducing Al Hirschfeld, with whom Perelman would go on a ’round the world tour for a magazine:
Hirschfeld left for the States that night, just before the check arrived, and I did not see him for a spell. One day in New York, I ran into him… We had a stoup of kumiss together and renewed our friendship. Whether he stole the cufflinks I missed subsequently, I would prefer not to say, but it seemed more than coincidence. Nevertheless, I am one who forgives easily, and it was hardly more than eleven years before I found myself one morning telephoning him.
“I’ve got an idea for a musical comedy, old man,” I said directly (I rarely beat about the bush). “Meet me at the Lafayette Coffee Rooms at one o’clock.” Had Hirschfeld not met me at the Lafayette Coffee Rooms at one o’clock, this might never have been written. Another thing that might never have been written, if it gives twenty-three despondent investors any comfort, was a musical comedy named Sweet Bye and Bye, which closed in Philadelphia like a ten-cent mousetrap the day this story opens.
Ogden Nash, who wrote the lyrics of Sweet Bye and Bye, Vernon Duke, the tunesmith responsible for its airs, and Hirschfeld and I, who spawned the libretto, had been sequestered in a room in the Warwick Hotel there for nineteen hours administering extreme unction to the show. At length our efforts were unavailing; as the turkey lay cold and lifeless on the operating table before us, Nash retired to his room to hang himself with a dangling participle…
From Westward Ha!
“With our machines, we are augmented humans and prosthetic gods, though we’re remarkably blasé about that fact, like anything we’re used to.”
Tim Wu, “If a time traveller saw a smartphone” from The New Yorker “Elements” blog
I think that from now on I’ll just hand this piece out at the start of my editing classes:
I must also caution you from the outset that this course is appallingly, unrelievedly dull. A student from a previous term complained in the course evaluation that “he just did the same thing over and over day after day.” Exactly. So will you. Editing is done word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, and we will go over texts in class, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph. No one will hear you scream.
I’m going to turn my back for a minute so that anyone who wants to bolt can escape.