James Fox: On Ghostwriting

James Fox is a British journalist and ghostwriter. His books include Life — Keith Richard; Look Again — David Bailey; Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia, about the exploites of aristocratic siblings in the early 20th century; and White Mischief , a hybrid of nonfiction and fiction about an unsolved murder. But it’s as a ghostwriter, especially […]

A Short Short History of the Typewriter

In the mid-1900s, Christopher Latham Sholes, a journalist and politician, along with mechanic Carlos S. Glidden and printer Samuel W. Soule, came up with a design for a typewriter. It wasn’t the first; in the 1600s, for example, an Italian printmaker invented a device to put letters onto paper and in the 18th century a […]

Still Pictures: Memory, Memoir, & Photography

Janet Malcolm’s writing, in The New Yorker and elsewhere, has always been characterized by her ability to expose the self-delusions of others, reveal the true selves behind carefully-constructed personas. In Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory, she turns her briery eye on herself, producing what could almost be called an anti-memoir. A serious journalist, she […]

Robert Caro on Truth, Facts, and Nonfiction

“While I am aware that there is no Truth, no objective truth, no single truth, no truth simple or unsimple, either; no verity, eternal or otherwise; no Truth about anything, there are Facts, objective facts, discernible and verifiable. And the more facts you accumulate, the closer you come to whatever truth there is.”   …from Robert Caro’s […]

Typewriter by Wendy Chidester

Wendy Chidester’s artist’s statement (http://www.wendychidester.com/): My work depicts a history of objects and machines that have been lost in the advancement of technology and time. My still life paintings of obsolete machines, worn and outdated luggage without wheels, used books and tried and true toys are filled with reverence, reverence for the human ingenuity they […]

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Meet-&-Greets, University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction & Fiction

University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction (& in Fiction) As many of you know, I’m one of the mentors in the Univ of King’s College’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction. It’s a great program, all of the students working on books ranging from memoirs to investigative journalism. (The average age in the Creative Nonfiction […]

Memory into Memoir

Beginnings are always difficult, vexing, frustrating. Where to begin? Anyone starting a memoir will see roiling before their eyes a thicket of people, a tangle of events, many befogged, some befuddled. How to reconstruct the past? Do you, as a writer, address it as a series of events, like falling dominos, one event leading inexorably […]

Ocean Vuong on Curiosity

“When I’m lost in the work, I’m curious. I don’t know if curiosity is a balm, because it often gets me in trouble, but it gives me control. It becomes fuel, and it brings me out of myself and into the world, even if I’ve just been sitting at my desk and thinking about spirals, […]

The Groundbreaking Blickensderfer Electric

If you say “electric typewriter,” most people probably think of the legendary, and much admired, IBM Selectric. But, at the turn of the 20th century, when electrical transmission hadn’t even been standarized so voltages changed from town to town, the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Co. of Stamford, Conn. built the first electric typewriter. George Blickensderfer even invented […]