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the writing life

The Creative Process

In this delightful segment from a 1970 interview with the ever-charming Dick Cavett, Paul Simon reveals how he came to + more

Our Ever-Evolving Language

I learned a new word today. (Don’t get excited—I’m usually the last one to learn anything, so y’all are probably + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

It brings me no pleasure to point out others’ failings. Really, it doesn’t. (Well…maybe a little.) Either there’s someone named + more

Quote of the Day

NPR host Scott Simon: I interviewed Elmore [Leonard] at a Tucson book festival in 2010. Just before going onstage we + more

Get to Know Your Punctuation

“The semi-colon is a funny fellow,” writes Tom Hogkinson in his review of Claire Cock-Starkey’s forthcoming Hyphens and Hashtags: The + more

True Artistry

Journalists call it a lede; normal, less pretentious folk simply call it an opening paragraph. Either way, Caitlin Flanagan is + more

Quote of the Day

“I have no taste for either poverty or honest labor, so writing is the only recourse left for me.” Hunter + more

Advice for Aspiring Writers

A new, “compulsively readable” biography of Philip Roth contains, according to reviewer Christian Lorentzen, “a blueprint for enduring literary stardom”: + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

“Omit needless words.” That’s Rule 13 in my copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style (second edition), and + more

I Me Mine

Forget all the social and political baggage associated with pronouns these days: Bryan Garner has some thoughts on the subject + more

At the End of the Day, It Is What It Is

The results from a 2019 GetResponse survey, which polled 1,000 employees to determine the worse offenders in the category of + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

Good news: “Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for an + more

Stop! Grammar Time!

It’s been nearly ten years since I patiently explained that one doesn’t “hone in on” anything. And yet somehow none + more

Enough Already!

In “The Man Who Found Forrest Fenn’s Treasure,” Daniel Barbarisi uses the word solve five times. And in four of + more

Mistakes Were Made

“People who have not published books are often appalled at typos,” writes Alan Jacobs, “because they think their presence means + more

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