Summary of “Excerpt: ‘Generation Friends’ by Saul Austerlitz”

The Friends writers’ room was simultaneously a party room and a prison cell, a wild daily gathering whose participants, like the dinner guests in Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel, could never leave.
Participants were thrilled to be granted the privilege of being a part of the work of writing Friends.
The remarkable thing about the Friends writers’ room, Chase believed, was its complete allergy to compromise.
The sheer volume of polished material that the writers of Friends had to come up with placed inordinate pressure on the writers’ room to work in sync and to pick up each other’s slack.
The Friends writers’ room was, as some of its participants described it, a remarkable feat of alchemy, in which a dozen talented individuals transformed into a team that was far greater than the sum of its parts.
Being in the Friends writers’ room, Sikowitz thought, was like an emotional stock market.
The Friends characters were the writers’ stand-ins and doppelgangers, their adventures and discoveries simultaneously reflections of the writers’ own lives and romanticized versions of their more humdrum existences.
Kauffman notwithstanding, the Friends writers’ room was, at the outset, an exceedingly male place, its tastes and interests formed by the concerns of funny young men.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Remembering Nüshu, the 19th-Century Chinese Script Only Women Could Write”

Nüshu, a script written only by women in a small region of Jiangyong County in China, has mysterious origins that continue to stump historians.
Yi was one of the last remaining writers of Nüshu, a fading script that only women knew how to write and read. Stemming from the southwestern Hunan Province county of Jiangyong, a small group of women in the 19th and 20th centuries practiced this special script that no man could read or write.
The writing system allowed these women to keep autobiographies, write poetry and stories, and communicate with “Sworn sisters,” bonds between women who were not biologically related.
In the middle of the 20th century, it wasn’t uncommon for Chinese women of higher socioeconomic classes to write songs, ballads, complaints, or stories, as Wilt Idema details in the book Heroines of Jiangyong: Chinese Narrative Ballads in Women’s Script.
Today, the texts that have survived give researchers such as Silber the opportunity to peer into the daily lives of Chinese women throughout this period of history.
Men mostly just didn’t care to learn how to write in women’s script.
The first definite record of Nüshu dates to 1931, but Silber and most academics reason women likely began writing it in the early years of the 19th century.
Traditionally, women would use a sharpened bamboo stylus dipped in ink, and write verse on paper, cloth, and fans.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How ‘smart’ email could change the way we talk”

Predictive text algorithms, which use what we have typed in the past to suggest the next words in a sentence as we write, already feature on most smartphones.
One study found that secondary school children who used predictive text on their mobile phones made more spelling errors than non-users.
One year-long study found that secondary school children who used predictive text on their mobile phones made more spelling errors than non-users, but university students who used the technological writing aid made fewer grammatical errors.
A predictive text system that has been trained using text from positive online reviews might tend to suggest words that are more positive as a result.
“Predictive text systems are starting to offer suggestions that are longer, more coherent, and more contextual than ever before,” says Ken Arnold, a researcher at at Harvard’s school of engineering and applied sciences who was involved in the study.
“It’s exciting to think about how predictive text systems of the future might help people become far more effective writers, but we also need transparency and accountability to protect against suggestions that may be biased or manipulated.”
“For children whose reading may be stronger than their spelling ability, autosuggest will facilitate their ability to communicate effectively online, thereby opening up texting to a younger age group, or to children who may be struggling with more conventional literacy.”
Others are using the technology which underpins predictive text to write new forms of fiction.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Fleabag’ Creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge on Writing Bond 25 and Her Secret New Movie”

As the creator and star of Fleabag, Waller-Bridge has herself become synonymous with cool among the creative class, subverting taboos with audacity and chain-smoking over two six-episode seasons of her BBC and Amazon Studios show.
The tally includes three for Waller-Bridge – for lead actress, writing and comedy series.
Waller-Bridge, ready to engage in fresh Fleabag analysis, is markedly more intrigued when conversation veers off of anticipated terrain and into random facts about elephant psychology, the “Shakespearean” drama of Love Island or, a real favorite, death.
Divulging no sign of Middle Child Syndrome, Waller-Bridge describes a sibling rapport more akin to the harmony of The Partridge Family than the discord of Fleabag.
Network president Sarah Barnett had lost her bid on Fleabag to Amazon when the BBC initially courted U.S. partners, so Waller-Bridge was the exec’s top pick to adapt the cat-and-mouse story of a British intelligence desk jockey and an irreverently psychotic assassin.
In March and April, while Waller-Bridge was in New York for nightly performances of Fleabag – Anna Wintour and Adam Driver were among those spotted at the sold-out run – she was secretly polishing the script on the still-untitled Bond 25, said to be Daniel Craig’s final turn in the role.
Waller-Bridge’s real Fleabag follow-up, she insists, is a feature she’s writing with the intent to direct: “The day I wrapped Fleabag, I went to bed thinking, ‘I’m never going to have another idea again. Oh shit.’ I woke up with the vision of this film.” Of three things she appears to be certain: She won’t take the project to market until it’s finished, she needs a meaningful theatrical release and she will not be cajoled into appearing on camera – though the third requirement could prove unrealistic.
Waller-Bridge says expectations, for more Fleabag or anything else she does, will pass.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ta-Nehisi Coates Talks to Jesmyn Ward About Writing Fiction, Reparations, and the Legacy of Slavery”

One of the things Coates must now do is figure out how to balance the two: how to write nonfiction and fiction, how to juggle his renown with his calling.
A few weeks after our meeting, Coates is called to testify before members of Congress for H.R. 40, a proposed bit of legislation that would study the issue of reparations.
Coates has been so persuasive in his writing about the issue that even those on the other side of the political divide, like conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, agree with him.
Invested because Coates is one of the first to testify, directly after Senator Cory Booker.
Coates immediately does this brilliant thing where he insists our very conception of ourselves as a nation and a democratic republic is based on embracing our legacy, embracing the more honorable figures and aspects of our past.
“If I agree to pay taxes, if I agree to fealty to a government, and you give me a different level of resources out of that tax pool, if you give me a different level of protection, you have effectively stolen from me. If you deny my ability to vote, and to participate in the political process, to decide how those resources are used, you have effectively stolen from me.” Coates goes on to establish the wealth gap that Julianne Malveaux, an economist on the panel, attributes to that theft that spans almost 350 years, from 1619 to 1968-“Conservatively.” Then Coates finishes with steady assurance.
I believe The Water Dancer will not be the last novel you read by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
“I could write slavery fiction all day,” he says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Our Editors

We’ll take our cue from the author herself and ignore the 1915 chapbook The Book of Repulsive Women-an “Idiotic” title, Barnes said, and she torched copies to keep them out of the public’s hands-leaving the modernist’s semi-autobiographical novel Ryder as her first true work.
His first book, Windy McPherson’s Son, came out three years earlier, when Anderson was only 39.
William S. Burroughs of Naked Lunch fame, published his first book, Junky, at age 40.
Although a prolific writer, Angelou did not publish her first book until 1969, when she was 41.
While working as an actor’s manager, Bram Stoker, who would later inaugurate the modern-day vampire craze with his book Dracula, published his first book, The Snake’s Pass, when he was 43.
Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Most famous for his 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Haley published his first book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, in 1965, when he was 44.
Her first book, Seven Gothic Tales, won praise when it was first published in the United States in 1934, when Blixen was 49.
Art historian Bridget Quinn published scholarly articles, but she didn’t publish her first book, Broad Strokes-which highlights overlooked female artists-until 2017.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Randy Newman on Chance the Rapper, ‘Toy Story,’ Trump, and Mike Trout”

Randy Newman has been writing songs since the early 1960s, but he’s still playing to young audiences: His 1983 song “Same Girl” was used on Euphoria earlier this month, and he’s featured on “5 Year Plan,” a new track from Chance the Rapper’s about-to-be no.
Has getting older helped or hurt your ability to put yourself in the place of other people and write songs from their perspective?
I’ve got a song called “Real Emotional Girl,” and in my opinion, the narrator of the song is sort of a bad guy.
They told me the story and that there was a great deal of-they sort of think at Pixar, I think, that I’m a specialist in emotion, which actually is what music does, is the best thing it can do.
You know, “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2, that song Jessie had. That was pretty good, and they animated to it.
People who saw Toy Story as kids are taking their kids to see Toy Story 4.
It’s going to be songs that I’m going be remembered for, I think, along with maybe Toy Story also.
You said you wrote a song about Donald Trump for Dark Matter, but you didn’t release it, in part because it felt too easy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds”

A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise.
The 2018 book, The Writer’s Map, contains dozens of the magical maps writers have drawn or that have been made by others to illustrate the places they’ve created.
“For some writers making a map is absolutely central to the craft of shaping and telling their tale.”
The book includes the map from Thomas More’s Utopia, which when published in 1516 contained the first fantasy map in a work of fiction, as far as anyone can tell.
There are more private treasures here, too: J.R.R. Tolkien’s own sketch of Mordor, on graph paper; C.S. Lewis’s sketches; unpublished maps from the notebooks of David Mitchell, who uses them to help imagine the worlds of his books, such as The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; Jack Kerouac’s own route in On the Road. Map of Walden Pond from Walden; or Life, in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau.
In one essay, Cressida Cowell, the author of How to Train Your Dragon, writes of being inspired by maps drawn by the Brontës as children, “In tiny, beautiful books that were in themselves a fascination, for the writing was as small as if created by mice.”
Philip Pullman: “Writing is a matter of sullen toil. Drawing is pure joy. Drawing a map to go with a story is messing around, with the added fun of coloring in.”
A map helps shape a reader’s or a writer’s idea of a fictional place, but ultimately its boundaries are limited only by their joint imaginations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Matthew Cox: The True-Crime Writer in the Prison Yard”

Updated on July 19, 2019 at 5:05 p.m. ET.Last April, I received an odd email from a man named Matthew Cox.
It called Cox and Hauck “The Bonnie and Clyde of mortgage fraud,” deemed Cox “a master con artist,” and detailed his and Hauck’s “Six-state crime spree.” As he read on, the story grew uglier.
The self-published book, Once a Gun Runner, has been the subject of protracted legal battles among all three men, with Cox suing Diveroli and Reback, Reback and Diveroli suing Cox, and all of them suing Warner Bros.
Once word got out that there was a writer in cellblock B4, other guys would sidle up to Cox in the yard, urging him to tell their story, or their buddy’s story.
They’d meet in the library, or in the prison yard, or over tater tots in the chow hall, and Cox would ask probing questions, taking notes in his own ersatz version of a reporter’s notebook: a sheaf of loose-leaf paper stapled to a rectangle of cardboard.
Cox could conduct phone interviews only in the 15-minute increments the prison system allowed, and then only if the person accepted his collect call.
At the 2013 sentence-reduction hearing, Cox’s public defender said that Cox had “Done more, given more information to the government, than any case that I have ever had in 20 years.” He’d cooperated with the FBI; given newspaper interviews about his dealings with a corrupt member of the Tampa city council; and contributed to a fraud course that was used to help mortgage brokers and loan officers spot criminal activity.
“There’s all these girls on YouTube that have done literally 45-minute videos on their favorite podcasts about true crime,” Cox told me, his eyes widening.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Are We Obsessed With Other People’s Daily Habits?”

When Mason Currey’s first book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, came out in 2013, it seemed inevitable that it would be a hit.
Now Currey has produced a follow-up volume called Daily Rituals: Women at Work, published in March, which he introduces as “a sequel, and a corrective” to its predecessor’s “Major flaw” of having included just 27 women among the original 161 artist profiles.
How to Not Always Be Working is a kind of manifesto crossed with a workbook for the confused, burned-out, phone-addicted creative who just wants to know where life ends and work begins.
In the book – with chapters like “What Is My Work?”; “What Is Not My Work?”; and “How to Not Work When You’re Not Working,” Grace does not position herself as a guru.
Grace’s relationship to work is openly confused: “There is no real answer, it’s all work,” she writes.
Finding your artistic way may sound like a spiritual pilgrimage, but isn’t the point of such a sojourn away from worldly demands ultimately to return to the playing field with better work? And are any of us capable of doing good work without longing to be recognized or rewarded for it? I’m starting to think that even the gentlest, most self-caring versions of creative habit formation – something I enthusiastically give myself to all the time – still show trace quantities of competitive edge-seeking.
Now, corporate America has coopted creativity into a marketable identity for both workers and jobs, and yet our economic system fails to sustain the vast majority of people who actually create things.
Of course someone asked the usual questions about art and life, art and parenting, art and work: How does it all fit it all together? How do you do it? What’s your advice?

The orginal article.