Did you know most seaweed is edible? And that it’s a natural thickener? And a source of protein? And MSG? AND that seaweed isn’t even a plant, but algae? Interesting stuff, I tell you.
Over at the Superstition Review, check out my essay On Sondheim and Whether Lyrics Are Poetry.
I wrote about why I don’t think Bob Dylan should have won a Nobel Prize in Literature, using Sondheim–another great storyteller through lyrics and music–as an example. An excerpt:
When people equate lyric writing with poetry, they’re often trying to express how meaningful they found a song. The word “poetry” is associated with depth, so to call something poetic is to say it’s beautiful, eloquent, or profound. Thus, songwriters who are adept at language are called poets despite the fact that they aren’t actually writing poetry.
But to say that lyrics and poetry are the same is to discount the role music plays in a song. Song lyrics, no matter how lovely, are meant to work with music. When you separate one from the other, you’re getting only part of a whole. On the other hand, a poem, as poet Paul Muldoon said, “brings its own music with it.”
I have an essay on Parent.co today! It’s about 3D printing, something I talk about a lot on here. In particular, it’s about 3D printing toys for our son Gideon. Right now, we’re printing him stocking stuffers for Christmas.
Here’s more about that: Read The Joy and Frustration of 3D Printing Your Kids’ Toys
I have an op-ed up on Vice! Check out How Reality TV Made Donald Trump President.
We should learn from this election. It’s imperative that we look at who and what we’re elevating in the form of harmless entertainment. Even when television seems silly and trite, the images and messages it sends to viewers are influential. We need to question whether we want the entertainment we put on TV to become, over time, mirrors of our society as a whole. I, for one, don’t want to live in a nation of Real Housewives.
I have a new book review up on KQED. This time I’m looking at The Mothers, a debut novel by Brit Bennett. Check it out here!
In June I went to the Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency. It was the first year they had the residency, which was located on Cuttyhunk Island, near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. I’d never heard of it before.
Along with 14 other writers, I studied with the author Paul Harding. I also wrote about 50 pages in my new book. We stayed at The Avalon, a lovely old inn. Here’s a picture:
The residency was a new experience for me. It made me think a lot about class and how its intersection with literary fiction fundamentally blocks our ability to achieve diversity in literature. Part of my reaction was due to the fact that Cuttyhunk Island is so clearly a place for rich people. Of course, it’s a beautiful place.
I didn’t get a decent picture of my room, so here’s one from the Avalon website.
My room had a balcony where I did a lot of writing. The view from the balcony was also great.
One night, there was a double rainbow.
The beaches are rocky and loaded with wild roses.
East Coast insects hate me. I was stung by a wasp, bitten by spiders, and devoured by mosquitoes. This never happens in California.
There were ticks everywhere. I went down this path, and when I came out the other side, seven ticks were crawling up my legs.
I keep thinking I want to move to New England, but it’s really not for me. It was nice to visit though.
Back in New Bedford, I went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where Herman Melville set part of Moby-Dick. It was a fascinating, weird place. I took pictures with my phone. This is my favorite.
The horrified face of a northern fur seal once it realizes it must spend eternity as taxidermy in a whaling museum. pic.twitter.com/zw5QnqQfez
— Joy Lanzendorfer (@JoyLanzendorfer) June 15, 2016
I was lucky enough to be on another beer panel for All About Beer magazine. I got to taste beer and say what I thought of the nuances and flavors. Nice work if you can get it. Check out the July issue to see which beers we liked the best.