Just Slap Something On It

The Paris Review blog has a wonderful, tiny little excerpt from Vincent Van Gogh’s letters about what to do when the blank canvas (or page or whatever) is staring back at you menacingly: Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility. You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from [Read More...]

The Great Diagram

Just for fun: a poster of sentence diagrams of the first sentences of famous novels made the rounds on the Internet last week, and the Paris Review decided to take a look at the history of sentence diagrams: As a pedagogical device, sentence diagrams have fallen out of fashion; I never had to draw them (if that’s [Read More...]

Those Dandy Selfies

We often think of the “selfie” (the practice of taking self-portraits and posting them to the Internet on social media like Facebook and Instagram) as a sort of postmodern phenomenon for teenagers. But over at the Paris Review blog, Tara Isabella Burton suggests that the origins of the selfie can be traced to nineteenth-century dandyism — [Read More...]


Over at the Paris Review blog, Casey N. Cep writes about cathedrals in Europe, and Ray Carver, and other things – and it’s lovely. They continue, when moments later Robert says, “Close your eyes now.” Now both blind, they keep moving across the paper, adding features of the cathedral silently. The catharsis of the encounter, rendered as [Read More...]