Zeroes and Ones and Your Odds of Writing a Best-Seller

Did you ever suspect the runaway best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey was written by robots?  Well, somebody check E.L. James for vital signs because she might actually be an algorithm.  Check this out: Surely a human being would die of boredom before biting a lip in print forty-three times in one novel. Actually, I’m skewing…

Read More

And the Oxford Word of the Year is… Selfie

Must. Remind. Self..  The OED is not an arbiter of, but a chronicler of,  English language use. Every year, the Powers-That-Be lean over the windowsills located high atop their Ivory Towers and cock an ear towards the milling crowds below. When they hear a word they do not recognize being shouted often enough, they dip…

Read More

Writer Fight! Writer Fight! : William F. Buckley, Jr. v. Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer, that ever-so-macho author (The Armies of the Night, The Naked and the Dead) is almost as well-known for his physical fights as for his writing. He famously head-butted Gore Vidal in the green room before their mutual appearance on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971.  Once on set, the altercation turned menacingly verbal, with Cavett getting…

Read More

Tacos with Pynchon, Burgers with Hemingway

In between drinking (Hemingway) and hiding (Pynchon), these two iconic writers were known to procrastinate in the way that many of us who write do: by chowing down.  While stuffing our faces may partially delay the pain of composing, it’s not all duck-and-cover.  Writing often requires mulling. As Umberto Eco notes, “Writing doesn’t mean necessarily…

Read More

Don’t Have Any FOMO! The Complete List of New Words in the OED is Here

Don’t know what FOMO stands for? Yeah, me either. (Psst… old folks! It means, “Fear of Missing Out.”)  Good thing it is one of the sixty-five new entries in the venerable Oxford English Dictionary. As you will see, many of them are from the virtual world.  Among my favorites, which originated on Reddit, is TL;DR (Too long;…

Read More