A new magazine celebrating long-form writing about the Midwest takes flight, and The Economist
launches a new style guide (without bylines, of course).
Also, take a photo of your writing space, learn how your family may have affected your writing career, and discover why Cormac McCarthy excises semicolons.
The Chicagoan is back.
Midwestern writers take note, a magazine you've likely never heard of has returned. The Chicagoan
, a New Yorker
-style arts and culture magazine in circulation in the 1920s and ‘30s, has been resurrected by former Stop Smiling
magazine editor J.C. Gabel. The first of two bi-annual issues hit shelves in Chicago this week (the magazine will mostly live online). Gabel writes in an editor's note on the magazine's website that the idea to reestablish the brand came in response to a question: "Where can one publish a substantive essay or article about the Midwest that won’t languish in an obscure academic or literary journal?" He's calling it the Oxford American or Texas Monthly for the Midwest. Read about the magazine here
The Economist style guide, too.
For the first time in years, The Economist
style guide appeared online this week in a "newly browsable" format, according to the magazine's language blog
. Not too surprisingly, the philosophy behind the guide appears to stem from George Orwell's six commands in his "Politics and The English Language" essay. It especially highlights Orwell's qualities of "a scrupulous writer" in the guide's introduction, concluding, "scrupulous writers will also notice that their copy is edited only lightly and is likely to be used. It may even be read." Read an introduction to the style guide here
Cormac McCarthy, physics editor.
It's no surprise that certain authors look for an editing project for extra cash once in a while. But a man considered one of America's greatest living novelists is not supposed to do that. Especially when the editing project is a biography of a quantum physics professor. But that's what Cormac McCarthy, a regarded science buff, took on recently when he edited "Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science," a biography of physicist Richard Feynman by Lawrence Krauss. The Chronicle of Higher Education
quotes Krauss on McCarthy's editing: “He made me promise he could excise all exclamation points and semicolons, both of which he said have no place in literature.” Read the story here
Where do you write? Take a photo.
The staff at The Millions
decided this week to show the world where they write. You've likely seen spaces like this before, and you probably work in one. But it's always interesting to see the spaces that inspire writing, or at least allow the pounding of keys to take place. These spaces include windows, pictures of children, a typewriter, a knife, keyboard grime and several cats. They're also inviting other writers to share photos of their spaces via the Twitter hashtag #writespace
Writers and their families.
How much does a writer's upbringing influence his or her career choice? Writer Colm Toibin explores the topic in this audio interview about his new book on writers' relationships with their families, "New Ways to Kill Your Mother." Toibin explains how difficult relationships with parents gave some famous writers, such as Thomas Mann and W.B. Yeats, more inspiration to write. He also discusses the similar stories and writing styles of James Baldwin and Barack Obama. Listen to the interview here
Evan Peterson is a writer and communications pro in Chicago who has written speeches for executives and presidential cabinet members. His writing has appeared in
The Christian Science Monitor,
Politico, and other publications.