Summary of “The comeback of cursive: A new generation finds the tactile joys of an old-school art”

Francesca Curatilo attended three camps this summer: wilderness, martial arts and – in the final days before the start of school – cursive.
In the classroom pantheon of Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, cursive was the writing.
In the early 20th century, cursive was sometimes taught for an hour each day, and all the way through high school, as an almost military exercise.
Because cursive required a level of fine-motor skills not typically accessible before third grade, printing was embraced as a way to get younger children to express themselves through writing.
Campers seemed to luxuriate in the tactile activities, the way cursive allowed them to rarely raise their pens from paper, an entire word recorded in a few swooping strokes.
Johnson isn’t required to teach cursive during the school year but sometimes adds it to the curriculum after she’s met the state testing requirements.
“Society has gotten nervous about deviating from what is the norm,” she said, and cursive “Tends to make a comeback when conformity is threatened.”
“Where is cursive really, really big? Christian home schooling and places like Louisiana.” But also the New York City schools, which last year encouraged, but didn’t mandate, teaching script.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Susan Brownmiller on How The Village Voice Made Her a Writer”

The Village Voice, closed down yesterday after 63 years in business, was where I learned to write.
The Voice, of course, was full of “I,” but I’d spent two years as a fact-checker at Newsweek where it was a no-no, and the habit was hard for me to break.
My good friend Jack Newfield was at the Voice by then.
I pulled all-nighters and staggered into the Voice the following morning with my not-so-neatly typed copy.
As Newfield used to say, Dan’s job was to orchestrate his writers’ obsessions; he didn’t like ‘professional’ writers.
I have to admit that my first pieces for the Voice were awfully stilted, but eventually I improved – and I got comfortable with the “I” word, like everyone else at The Village Voice.
Even though I could be an aggressive reporter, I was shy when it came to socializing, and anyway the Voice was never one big happy family.
Dan’s opinion was that the Voice was the best showcase in town for emerging writers, and of course he was right about that.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ask Polly: ‘Should I Quit My Day Job to Write a Book?'”

I’m terrified of becoming one of those people who never succeed with their art, so all they’re left with is the day job they hate.
Writing a first book tends to be a letdown for most people: It’s just very hard to feel it, particularly if you’re a little panicked or too much is riding on it or you hate your day job or you haven’t learned to connect with the work while you’re writing it.
That’s not to mention how extensively people with “Just a day job” tend to talk about how much they loathe their day jobs.
The other problem with the day job is that people tend to pick one that pays reasonably well immediately – it’s just a day job, after all – but has no growth potential.
Never take a job for the pay alone if you know you’ll hate yourself for having that job a decade from now.
You can write and also pursue a version of your career that feels less like a day job.
Your first job is to ENJOY YOUR DAY. Enjoying your day means feeling good about how you spend your time.
So that’s your to-do list: Upgrade the day job and upgrade the dream and speed up the publication schedule.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Songwriting Camps Where Pop’s Biggest Hits Get Crafted”

Songwriting camps have convened since the early ’90s, when Police manager and I.R.S. Records chief Miles Copeland invited heavy hitters such as Cher and Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook to his French château.
For Rihanna’s 2009 album Rated R, Def Jam Records chief Antonio “L.A.” Reid hosted what John Seabrook, in his book The Song Machine, called “The mother of all song camps.” Camps have multiplied since then: In June, Alicia Keys held an all-female retreat, called She Is the Music, at Jungle City Studios overlooking the Manhattan skyline; publishing giant Warner/Chappell Music invited 45 writers to Las Vegas; and independent label and publishing company Concord Music Group held one with 87 songwriters in Nashville to create music for movies, ads, trailers, promos, and TV shows.
“If you’ve got a huge song coming out of the camp, it’s definitely paid for the camp and probably beyond that,” says Kara DioGuardi, who has written hits for Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, and others and recently purchased a Nashville building to hold camps and other music-business events.
The camps, or at least the collaborative songwriting process, have fundamentally changed the way pop music sounds – Beyoncé’s Lemonade was a strikingly personal album, full of scorned-lover songs, but it was conceived by teams of writers.
Madonna, who tends to collaborate with one or two producers at a time, recently complained on Instagram that she wanted to be “Allowed to be a visionary and not have to go to song writing camps where No one can sit still for more than 15 minutes”; Oasis’s Noel Gallagher piled on Ed Sheeran and “The little fella from One Direction” for collaborating with numerous songwriters at a time.
Madonna and Gallagher are missing the central point of the camps – they’re not corporate factory farms where major labels crunch songwriting parts together and come out with chicken nuggets; they’re just another way to find that elusive spark, just as combos of jazzmen do onstage, or John Lennon and Paul McCartney once did when they stumbled onto the B7 chord in “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” DioGuardi compares them to the Brill Building, which housed songwriters like Carole King and Neil Diamond in the ’50s and ’60s. And Longstreth says, “When people look at things like that – ‘Oh my gosh, there’s 17 writers, what is music?’ – it’s a little bit misleading.”
Ress told me afterward she had a love-hate relationship with songwriting camps because she felt like she was sometimes writing for new artists who didn’t have a musical identity and relied on songwriters to establish it for them.
Pop songwriting has been moving in a more collaborative direction for years, leading behind-the-scenes creators to scramble for credits – production duo Cool & Dre told Billboard that collaborating on an instrumental loop on the Carters’ Everything Is Love was “Life-changing.” Drake’s “Nice for What” and Cardi B’s “Be Careful” list 16 and 17 writers, respectively.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Charli XCX’s Path to Becoming Pop’s Preeminent Hook Maker”

Three of them are her big hits, though only one of them – her opener, 2014’s “Boom Clap” – is technically a Charli XCX song.
Aspiring pop stars are warned never to let a song become bigger than themselves, but Charli seems to have made her peace with it.
There’s the performer Charli XCX you get on the tour.
Then there’s what you could call her day job as a songwriter-for-hire, responsible for tracks like Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love.” Together, these allow Charli the artistic and financial freedom for her other identity, the voice and creative force behind a wave of new tracks Pitchfork has called “An uninhibited, anti-algorithm vision of what pop music could be.”
Talking to Charli about her recent stuff, two names keep coming up: A. G. Cook, head of enigmatic pop collective PC Music, and Sophie, the Scottish musician-slash-producer-slash-DJ. The pair’s non-Charli work is marked by a proudly synthetic approach to pop music, and they’ve been the pivotal collaborators on her evolution from Next Gwen Stefani to digital deconstructionist.
In her songwriting, Charli loves extremes, like “Taking the most shiny, formula-educated pop producer and putting them with someone underground.” Her favorite vibe is what she calls “Happy-sad,” where “The chords are major, but there’s something very sad about it.” She has mixed feelings about key changes, as well as the word gold, her placeholder lyric when she gets stuck.
The show is intended as an antidote to what its organizers say is Chicago’s overwhelmingly male gay scene, and the lineup includes the queer pop artist Dorian Electra, who’s dressed as a “Femme bot”; Cae Monae, a visual artist and musician whose latest release is a “Transsexual amateur sextape” called DICKGIRL; and drag queen Lucy Stoole, “Chicago’s black bearded lady,” who lip-syncs an early Charli song.
The difference is a good illustration of what you could call star power, like how Selena Gomez brought all the weight of dating Justin Bieber to “Same Old Love,” or how Rihanna made “Work” a hit despite the song having only, Charli says in awe, “One fucking word.” This is not Charli XCX’s mode of pop stardom.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Previously On: How Recaps Changed the Way We Watch Television”

The recap, as it’s now known, starts from a simple, user-friendly premise: What if, instead of simply telling viewers whether or not they should spend their time on a show before it even airs, a writer tracked a program’s ups and downs for the people who’d already made that commitment? It’s an intuitive idea – deceptively so, given the recap’s enormous impact on how we watch, discuss, and think about television.
A product so of its time is especially vulnerable to change, and both television and the internet have changed considerably since the recap’s heyday in the mid-aughts.
As the old saying goes, journalism is the first draft of history, recaps are the first draft of an updated understanding of TV. Part of the reason now-classic episodes like Mad Men’s “The Suitcase,” Breaking Bad’s “Ozymandias,” or The Sopranos’ finale are remembered as such is because recappers were there to register their amazement and enumerate the reasons why those hours had the power to shock and surprise.
A third epicenter of what came to be known as “Recap culture” – the diverse ecosystem of writers and commenters that flourished across a constellation of sites – arose in 2007, when Chicago-based site The A.V. Club, an offshoot of The Onion focused on arts and culture, started running its own series of recaps collectively branded TV Club.
“Which was, if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna have to do it in a way that excites me or interests me or is just me. Engaging the text of the show with my personality and my geeky lenses was a way to do that.” It was also a way of drawing a like-minded readership, a textbook case of what became one of the fundamental laws of recapping: The voice of the recapper could be an attraction in and of itself, earning devotees that echoed the recappers’ own interest in their chosen show.
As a grassroots internet phenomenon, recaps were often an entry point for demographics who wouldn’t otherwise find their way into TV criticism, and part of what’s lost along with them is the opportunity to read about television from different perspectives than the default.
Recaps are past their peak, but they’re also far from dead. No less august an entity than The New York Times now runs recaps of a whole slate of shows, affording a legitimacy it would have been impossible to conceive of in the days of Usenet groups and Dawson’s Wrap.
At Vulture, recaps are “Still a very big part of what we do, but I also think it’s now just one part of what we do. It’s one part of a coverage plan, and that can include explainers, think pieces, what are the biggest questions asked after this episode of Westworld.” Recaps were just one expression of an idea that still holds sway over the internet, and how audiences talk about TV in general: essentially, that it’s worth talking about – publicly, rigorously, and joyfully.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”Write a Sentence as Clean as a Bone” And Other Advice from James Baldwin”

Ninety-four years after his birth James Baldwin remains an intellectual, moral, and creative touchstone for many Americans-whether writers, critics, or simply people trying to live well in the world.
Baldwin was an accomplished novelist, a legendary essayist, and an important civil rights activist-and most importantly for our purposes here, the man knew how to write a great sentence.
The story of what can happen to an American Negro writer in Europe simply illustrates, in some relief, what can happen to any American writer there.
If there is no moral question, there is no reason to write.
I’m an old‐fashioned writer and, despite the odds, I want to change the world.
I don’t try to be prophetic, as I don’t sit down to write literature.
The bottom line is this: You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world.
If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Stop Procrastinating and Finish a Big Project”

For writing projects specifically, her advice was to “Write fast, edit slow.” She aims to write a chapter every week, and within that week, to write the bulk of the chapter on Monday and Tuesday.
The key is to write a really crappy first draft, then take extra care in rewriting it.
“When you write a lot you know that the first thing you write is not going to be perfect,” she said.
“You’re going to be writing all sorts of stuff that won’t be in the final draft, including writing ‘insert this thing here’ in brackets. You will make it better, but it’s so much easier to turn something into something better than to turn nothing into something.”
The ugly sentences I see on my screen aren’t really my writing, they’re my little book embryos, with flipper hands and a tail.
Sometimes I clean because I feel like I’m not in the right “Mood” to write.
Mood is meaningless when it comes to getting things done, as Timothy Pychyl, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, told The Washington Post in 2016.
The famously productive business writer and Wharton professor Adam Grant says he’ll even use the eight minutes between meetings to get started on a project.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Know thyself by writing your first novel”

There is no reason in the world why you can’t write a novel and the only thing stopping you from doing so is yourself.
Writing is about claiming ownership of yourself in order to become the person you know you can be.
No matter how well you plan a novel beforehand, it is in the act of writing itself that the best ideas usually present themselves.
You must protect yourself and your space, because writing your first novel is a very precious process.
The first person you are writing for has to be yourself.
When you are in the middle of writing your first draft, it’s like standing in a stream.
In my experience, finishing a first draft is the hardest part of writing a novel, so that moment is a huge achievement for anyone who manages it.
Best of all, in finishing a first draft, you will have given yourself permission to call yourself a writer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Crime Comes for the Crime Writer”

All week long, Vulture is exploring the many ways true crime has become one of the most dominant genres in popular culture.
What if, I thought, as crime novelists often do, what if someone showed up now and claimed to be one of the sisters? What would happen? If she’s telling the truth, then where is the other sister and why has she waited so long to resurface? If she’s lying, what’s the endgame?
There was a problem with my personal ethics policy: It was steeped in the hubris of a crime writer who had little firsthand experience with crime.
Can I literally imagine what his wife, Maria, and his three grown children are going through now? Or his brother, the celebrated comic crime novelist Carl Hiaasen? Before June 28, I would have insisted that I could use my imagination and empathy to do just that.
What is it about the genre, why are so many readers drawn to it, why do you write it? It’s old hat to argue that today’s crime novels function much like the social novels of the early-to-mid 20th century.
A violent crime lays bare things that a community is trying to hide: Race, class, sexism, income inequality, the horrible things that families do to their own.
A lot of crime novelists working now are very clever about sneaking issues into their work.
Crime fiction has long been a conservative genre, made up of stories in which a dogged investigator – usually a cisgender white male – makes the world safe again.

The orginal article.