Summary of “Do Jails Kill People?”

Reporters have virtually no access to the jails on Rikers Island for many years, Venters had a rare vantage point from which to observe its inner workings.
The culture clash between guards and medical staff on Rikers was apparent even in the way that the two groups spoke about the people confined there: guards called them “Inmates,” while medical workers called them “Patients.” At times, medical staff found themselves caught in an ethical dilemma: Was their primary loyalty to their patients or to the system in which they work? This conundrum is known as “Dual loyalty,” and Venters writes that, on Rikers, the “Most dramatic and tortured aspect of dual loyalty” involves the role that medical staff play in sending people to solitary confinement.
Venters describes receiving a call one day from a doctor who reported that guards had just beaten a patient in a waiting area at a clinic and that “The patient had been dragged away without receiving care and had not been seen since.” Venters went searching for him.
Even more haunting is a story Venters recounts about a night, in December, 2012, when officers attacked incarcerated people inside a clinic.
As a result, “Medical, mental health, pharmacy, and nursing staff” would be forced “To roam the halls of the jails every day physically looking for their patients.” Jail officials have begun trying to track inmates with wristbands, but the paper logbooks are still in use, and, in Venters’ view, this “Archaic paper-based approach to information management. . . may be the single greatest contributor to abuse and neglect in the jails.”
“The medical infirmary was literally the DOC bus garage before they decided to upgrade their bus fleet to another site and hand the space over to us for our sickest patients,” Venters writes.
In the end, Venters places the blame for the “Slow-rolling disaster” of the city’s jails at the very top, with City Hall.
“Having led the health service across two mayoral administrations, one a centrist Republican and the other a progressive Democrat,” Venter writes, “I have seen remarkable consistency in how the incompetence of the correctional service was not only tolerated but also supported.” Now, with “Life and Death in Rikers Island,” Venters reveals the true human cost of these colossal management failures.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Do We Write Differently on a Screen?”

I noticed at once that the time passed differently when writing a story.
You sent the story, by post, to a magazine, and it came back, months later, with a rejection and perhaps some suggestions how to improve it.
Now you could write an article for The Guardian or the New York Times as easily as you could write it for L’Arena di Verona.
You write the first chapter of a book and send it at once to four or five friends.
It’s impossible to exaggerate how exciting this was, at first, and how harmful to the spirit.
Hours after publication, you could know how many people were reading the piece.
So should you change the way you write accordingly? Have you already changed, unwittingly?
You have learned how compulsive you are, how fragile your identity, how important it is to cultivate a little distance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Toni Morrison Fostered a Generation of Black Writers”

How Toni Morrison fostered a generation of black writers.
Morrison had on a white shirt over a black leotard, black trousers, and a pair of high-heeled alligator sandals.
Morrison positioned the white world at the periphery; black life was at the center, and black females were at the center of that.
Morrison’s view of contemporary black literature transcended the limitations of the “Down with honky” school of black nationalism popularized by writers like Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson.
Situating herself inside the black world, Morrison undermined the myth of black cohesiveness.
“I really liked that book,” one black woman told Morrison after reading “The Bluest Eye.” “But I was frustrated and angry, because I didn’t want you to expose us in our lives.” Morrison replied, “Well, how can I reach you if I don’t expose it to the world?” Others, myself included, accused her of perpetuating rather than dismantling the myth of the indomitable black woman, long-suffering and oversexed.
With the deaths of Wright and Baldwin, Morrison became both mother and father to black writers of my generation-a delicate situation.
In 1978, “Song of Solomon” won the National Book Critics Circle Award, beating out Joan Didion’s “A Book of Common Prayer” and John Cheever’s “Falconer.” It was chosen as a main selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club-the first by a black since Wright’s “Native Son.” When “Tar Baby” came out, four years later, Morrison was on the cover of Newsweek, the first black woman to appear on the cover of a national magazine since Zora Neale Hurston in 1943.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Benjamin Dreyer: Writing well is an act of resistance”

Spend more than a few minutes in the word business – I’ve spent going on 30 years in it, as a proofreader, copy editor, publishing-house copy chief and, recently, the author of a guide to writing style – and you’ll quickly learn that the English language, to say nothing of its practitioners, is irrational, irregular and anarchic.
Possibly you had it drilled into your head that sentences cannot begin with “And” or “But.” But of course they can, as good writers, and others, have been demonstrating for centuries.
English that clearly, strongly and unambiguously – unless you’ve a penchant for ambiguity – conveys from writers’ brains through their typing fingers and onward to the imaginations of their readers what it is that writers are attempting to communicate.
I might also urge you to kondo your prose of what I call the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers® – the “Very”s and “Quite”s and “Rather”s and “Actually”s in which many of us bury our writing like so many packing peanuts.
My chief interest is to help writers express themselves, to help them make their writing the best possible version of itself that it can be.
I’ve found myself lately asking: Are people less interested in good writing than they used to be? Anything but, I reply to myself.
People – at least the self-selecting group who place themselves in my sight, or who read articles about copy editing – seem to me to be increasingly, acutely interested in good writing.
I couldn’t, a few years ago, have ever imagined that respect for language, a desire to write well, could become an act of resistance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Underground Worlds of Haruki Murakami”

I’m a writer, and I’m writing, but at the same time I feel as though I were reading some exciting, interesting book.
I go deeper and deeper, as I concentrate on writing, into a kind of underground.
You’ve told the story many times about how, forty years ago, at a baseball game, you suddenly thought, I can write a novel, though you hadn’t even tried to write before that.
To write one book is not so difficult, but to keep writing for many years is very close to impossible.
Some writers try to do something completely different in every book, and some writers tend to hone the approach they’re best at.
So many writers write small, shallow things in a complicated, difficult style.
If you are a reader and I’m a writer, I don’t know you, but in the underground world of fiction there is a secret passageway between us: we can send messages to each other subconsciously.
I’m a writer, and to write in my study is my privilege.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is Line Editing a Lost Art?”

Line editing is the ultimate union of writer and editor; the line-edit means we cede control, and the pen, to someone else.
George Witte, editor-in-chief at St. Martin’s Press, has said “Many copyeditors do the work that line editors should have done.” Often copyediting is done from a distance, but as with Erskine and Ellison, Gottlieb and Heller, line editors have a direct relationship with the writer.
In a pair of essays for The Guardian, Blake Morrison and Alex Clark struck elegiac notes about such personal line editing.
Instead of thinking about line editing as a forgotten art, one callously consumed by the book business, we should consider it a privilege-a gift-enjoyed by some writers, but not most.
Rust Hills-the fiction editor at Esquire before, and after, Gordon Lish-said that “Teaching fiction writing and editing magazine fiction have many odd differences,” but “They do have the same rather odd ultimate purpose in common: trying to get someone else to produce a fine short story.” Line editor as teacher and guide feels like a useful metaphor-and one that I’ve experienced myself.
“I look at a line and know pretty much immediately what changes, deletions, movements of phrase, would make it better, stronger, tighter. Clarity, meaning, sense, as Frank Conroy told his grad students. It’s harder of course to edit oneself, but I can’t help reading even published writing as a line editor.”
Her method brings me back to her office in Newark, where I learned that editing is not something we do to writing; editing is writing.
“Intention can make for an interesting conversation, but it doesn’t write a book. So often, the writing is sparking, throwing off sounds, smells, glows, meant to draw us deeper in as writers-but we enter through the line itself, always.” When I got back my manuscripts from Jayne Anne, the pages were warped with marks; they felt heavier, worn.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Three Writing Rules to Disregard”

Certain prose rules are essentially inarguable-­that a sentence’s subject and its verb should agree in number, for instance.
I swear to you, a well-­constructed sentence sounds better.
A good sentence, I find myself saying frequently, is one that the reader can follow from beginning to end, no matter how long it is, without having to double back in confusion because the writer misused or omitted a key piece of punctuation, chose a vague or misleading pronoun, or in some other way engaged in inadvertent misdirection.
No, do begin a sentence with “And” or “But,” if it strikes your fancy to do so.
You may find that your “And” or “But” sentence might easily attach to its predecessor sentence with either a comma or a semicolon.
One thing to add: Writers who are not so adept at linking their sentences habitually toss in a “But” or a “However” to create the illusion that a second thought contradicts a first thought when it doesn’t do any such thing.
Let me say this about this: Ending a sentence with a preposition isn’t always such a hot idea, mostly because a sentence should, when it can, aim for a powerful finale and not simply dribble off like an old man’s unhappy micturition.
To tie a sentence into a strangling knot to avoid a prepositional conclusion is unhelpful and unnatural, and it’s something no good writer should attempt and no eager reader should have to contend with.

The orginal article.

Summary of “YA Twitter Forces Rising Star Author to Self-Cancel”

Zhao matched with her agent, Park Literary’s Peter Knapp, during a Twitter pitching event for marginalized creators.
Over the course of the past year, Zhao emerged as an active and outspoken participant in the YA community – not just the author of a buzzworthy debut but an enthusiastic, effective communicator who was deeply engaged with issues of diversity and knew how to make herself heard.
A scroll through her Twitter history shows that Zhao generally followed her own advice in the year after she sold her book, boosting fellow authors and writing about the issues she faced as part of YA’s nonwhite minority.
Although LegallyPaige declined to offer proof of Zhao’s alleged screenshotting-with-intent, her thread now looks a bit like the opening salvo in a larger campaign to sabotage the debut author.
In a tweet thread that did not name or tag Zhao but was clearly about her, well-known author Ellen Oh wrote, “Dear POC writers, You are not immune to charges of racism just because you are POC.”.
It’s worth noting here that the role of Asian women within YA’s writers of color contingent has been a flashpoint for conflict before – one that led Zhao to butt heads with YA queen bee Justina Ireland in May 2018.
Amélie Wen Zhao May 12, 2018 It’s impossible to say whether this eight-month-old beef helped spark a retaliatory campaign by Ireland’s supporters, or perhaps primed critics to focus on Zhao’s alleged insensitivity to the history of African-American slavery.
Some lauded Zhao for her bravery, others derided her for cowardice, and many wondered aloud if the author had self-censored voluntarily out of fear of a mob that would hound her until publication and beyond.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Marlon James Decided to Write an African “Game of Thrones””

Fifteen years ago, when Marlon James was working on his first novel, he requested an exorcism.
After winning the Booker, James told an interviewer that he was going to “Geek the fuck out” and write an “African Game of Thrones.” The first installment of what he calls the Dark Star trilogy, “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” comes out in February.
The show has not yet been green-lighted, but James is optimistically attempting to write a part for Grace Jones, who was born one town over from Portmore and is one of his idols-a print of her “Island Life” record cover hangs behind his dinner table in Minnesota.
James had wanted to write a “Noirish, magical-realist fable” about Jamaican rural life, he told me-a story that wouldn’t idealize its pastoral setting.
James had wanted to write about the impossibly brutal and volatile period in Jamaica when enslaved Africans outnumbered their white owners by more than ten to one.
James’s brothers-he has seven brothers and sisters, four of them half siblings, though James speaks of them all simply as siblings-had discussed the possibility that James was gay, Richard told me, speaking on the phone from a barbershop, above the metallic hum of clippers.
At the bar, there was a hand-lettered sign atop a little table that read “Reserved for Marlon James.” “I should have worn tights underneath this dress,” James said, as we sat down.
Backstage, Shears embraced James and demanded a copy of “Black Leopard.” As we were leaving, James glanced at the “Reserved for Marlon James” sign on our table.

The orginal article.

Summary of “On the Experience of Entering a Bookstore in Your Forties”

There aren’t just books to read but books I’ve already read. Lives I’ve lived.
No one reads everything, nor even all the books they’d like to.
John Muir’s famous quote about ecology might as well have been about choosing what books to buy: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” The bookstore is a liminal space.
Entering a bookstore now, at 44, with the benefit of hindsight, the choices I made as a young writer seem almost inevitable.
As luck would have it, the story of that half-year became my first published book, and the book helped me land a teaching job in Massachusetts.
There waiting in an inconspicuous bookstore in Concord, Massachusetts, in a glossy oversized coffee table book, was a glassy-green piece of my heart, a glimpse of a life I couldn’t get back.
As my father so eloquently reminded me last year when I mentioned I’d been shoveling snow: “Be careful, Bud: You’re in the heart-attack zone.” How many books do I have left to read?
How does reading evolve? Are books to us as leaves are to trees, feeding us while we hold them, then decomposing and feeding us again after we’ve let them go? I’m heartened by my elders.

The orginal article.