I have a new post up at Mental Floss: 8 Lovely Facts About The Secret Garden. I was surprised to learn that Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic book is basically an allegory for Christian Science. Weird.
Literary Hub mentioned my article in The Atlantic about literary journals charging reading fees to submitting writers among The 50 Biggest Literary Stories of the Year. It’s under number 31: Literary Journals Making Money Off Slush Piles. Check it out!
I wrote another Halloween-themed Mental Floss post: 9 Mournful Facts About Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”
Ravens can really talk. Here’s a video of a raven saying “nevermore.”
I’m excited to share an article I wrote for The Atlantic on literary journal reading fees. It looks into whether literary journals should charge writers fees to submit their writing, an important issue that needs more discussion.
Here are my latest Mental Floss articles. They are Halloween themed. Wooo (spooky noise).
The amount of death that happened around Mary Shelley during the writing and publication of Frankenstein is astounding. Three children, her half-sister, Percy Shelley’s first wife… the list goes on. No wonder she wrote about bringing the dead back to life.
There are so many interesting components that went into writing Dracula: Jack the Ripper, the painter Rossetti digging up his dead wife’s grave, the connection between English vampires and Frankenstein, and more.
I love owls.
I don’t know about you, but going through the Dust Bowl sounds like a much scarier nightmare than Frankenstein’s monster.
There’s a theory that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this book while on a three-day cocaine binge. It makes sense.
More Mental Floss articles that I wrote! Get ‘em while they’re hot!
Roald Dahl actually was a chocolate tester for a candy company when he was a kid. It stuck with him (so to speak) and inspired Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Did you know Thoreau started a 3,000-acre forest fire before going to live in the woods?
EB White was fascinated with spiders and even took her egg sack back to his New York apartment with him. He was delighted when it hatched and the baby spiders spun webs all over his room.
While Arthur Miller was writing his allegory for McCarthyism, he was having an affair with Marilyn Monroe. I can’t help but surmise this must have influenced the affair between Abigail and John Proctor.
I reviewed Felicia Day’s memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)for KQED, including thoughts on GamerGate. READ IT HERE.
Here’s a few recent articles:
L. Frank Baum was a fascinating person. I had no idea. He was a chicken farmer and a traveling salesman and went around the country performing a melodrama that he wrote himself. And he claimed he was going to start a Wizard of Oz theme park on a nonexistent island off the California coast. My new hero.
I was reading this book to Gideon and realized that it was an allegory for World War II. When I looked into it deeper, I realized that Horton Hears A Who was Dr. Seuss’s atonement for his racist actions against the Japanese during the war.
I gained respect for Jack London while writing this. I was able to confirm that it’s true he was rejected 664 times in the first five years of writing. He had a spindle with a needle on it on which he would impale his rejection letters. Eventually he had a column of rejection slips four feet high. That’s some major grit.
Did you catch my most recent article in Mental Floss? It’s 11 Dickensian Facts About ‘Great Expectations’. Did you know Estella may have been based on Charles Dickens’s mistress?
Also, remember the 1998 movie version with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke? It seemed like it was going to be so good, and then it was so bad.
Why doesn’t her shirt have buttons?
Did you know that The Sound of Music turned 50 years old this year? I recently re-watched it for my Mental Floss article 14 Things You Might Not Know About ‘The Sound of Music’. Now I really want to go to Austria.