The original handwritten manuscript of The Great Gatsby, from Princeton’s newly digitized archive of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscripts.
Pair with Fitzgerald on the secret of great writing.
(Source: , via latimes)
Jon Krakauer on how Chris McCandless died: http://nyr.kr/16nEj0A
“The debate over why McCandless perished, and the related question of whether he is worthy of admiration, has been smoldering, and occasionally flaring, for more than two decades now.”
Above: Chris McCandless’s final photo, a self-portrait holding his farewell note. Photograph courtesy the family of Chris McCandless.
The typewriter is, among things, an archetype of today’s computers. But while computers are increasingly products of our disposable consumer culture — assumed and built to be upgraded often — typewriters were built to last. While occasionally some innovation or another would pop up – a machine made noiseless or self-correcting or electric – the general idea remained the same. Fingers mashed down a key, the key drove a lever with the designated character on it toward an ink-saturated ribbon, and with a decisive clack the intended mark was made (provided the typist’s fingers were accurate). It was a physical interpretation of intention-meets-action, thought-meets-paper, and many users maintained an ongoing relationship with their typewriters for years.
So intense was this relationship between writers and their machines, that many people who made their careers out of writing never made the transition to computers; Hunter S. Thompson used a typewriter until his until his death in 2005. And Cormac McCarthy is still click-clacking away, after selling his Lettera 32, which he’d been writing on for close to 50 years, at a charity auction a few years back for $254,500 – and promptly receiving another of the same model from a friend for $20. It’s unsurprising that he’d stay committed to the heavy, clunky producer of words. Computers and other digital tools may have brought ease to writing; they don’t offer, however, the deliberation that typewriters do — the forethought required to avoid the particular punishment of a typer: a piece of correction ribbon or dab of White Out be required to eradicate an erroneous mark or misplaced musing.
Read more. [Image: James Joiner]
Joan Didion | excerpt from “Self-Respect" | Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 1968
It pains me to see an old woman fret over
A few small coins outside a grocery store—
How swiftly I forget her as my own grief
Finds me again—a friend at death’s door
And the memory of the night we spent together.
I had so much love in my heart afterward,
I could have run into the street naked,
Confident anyone I met would understand
My madness and my need to tell them
About life being both cruel and beautiful,
But I did not—despite the overwhelming evidence:
A crow bent over a dead squirrel in the road,
The lilac bushes flowering in some yard,
And the sight of a dog free from his chain
Searching through a neighbor’s trash can.
Richard Siken | excerpt from “You Are Jeff” | Crush | Yale University Press, 2005
Hold onto your voice. Hold onto your breath. Don’t make a noise,
don’t leave the room until I come back from the dead for you. I will
come back from the dead for you. This could be a city. This could be a
graveyard. This could be the basket of a big balloon. Leave the lights
on. Leave a trail of letters like those little knots of bread we used to
dream about. We used to dream about them. We used to do a lot of
things. Put your hand to the knob, your mouth to the hand, pick up the
bread and devour it. I’m in the hallway again, I’m in the hallway. The
radio’s playing my favorite song. Leave the lights on. Keep talking. I’ll
keep walking toward the sound of your voice.
– Richard Siken | “You Are Jeff" | Crush | Yale University, 2005