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Writing Worth Reading

Heart Of The Emerald Triangle

A season among the marijuana growers of Humboldt County, California. “Ethan’s goal was to sell more pot than last year but not so much that the feds took notice. Minus overhead — labour costs, the note on his property, raw materials, equipment maintenance, fuel, food — Ethan stood to clear well over a million dollars. This for six months’ work, and for assuming the sort of risk that might win him half a lifetime in federal prison” (7,020 words)

“All Women Look Beautiful To Me Now.”

Interview with Gordon Wills, cinematographer who worked with Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola. “There was never a dull moment with Francis. They also used too much dynamite in the car when we blew up Apollonia. It put a crack down the side of the villa. It was never a good idea to turn your back and miss what was being said. Francis tended to make a different movie with whoever he was talking to” (2,910 words)

Interview: Chuck Palahniuk & Tom Spanbauer

Fight Club author discusses his writing, and his debt to Spanbauer, his writing coach: “I’m writing for a young audience whose only power is how they appear, their attractiveness, their youth, their energy. Their worst fear is being publicly humiliated. I wanted to explore humiliation as the greatest disaster that could befall a character, and then demonstrate the character living beyond that humiliation” (6,000 words)

The Immortal Horizon

On running the 100-mile Barkley Marathons in northern Tennessee. “What makes it so bad? No trail, for one. A cumulative elevation gain that’s nearly twice the height of Everest. Native flora called saw briars that can turn a man’s legs to raw meat in meters. The hills have names like Rat Jaw, Little Hell, Big Hell, Coffin Springs, Zip Line, and an uphill stretch, new this year, known simply as the Bad Thing” (6,880 words)

An Argument With A Fly Rod

Review of The Habit of Rivers, a “lush collection of essays” about trout fishing by Ted Leeson, “lifelong practitioner of fly fishing and a masterful writer of lyric nonfiction”. “To construct an ‘argument’ by fly fishing (by choosing what fly to use, where to cast it, how to control its drift, and so on) is to attempt to answer a fundamental question: as Leeson asks, ‘Have I accurately inferred and observed the principles by which the river works?’” (1,170 words)

Interview: Anne Enright

Mostly about writing. “It’s like getting a herd of sheep across a field. If you try to control them too much, they resist. It’s the same with a book. If you try to control it too much, the book is dead. You have to let it fall apart quite early on and let it start doing its own thing. And that takes nerve, not to panic that the book you were going to write is not the book you will have at the end of the day” (5,080 words)

Interview With Todd May, Philosopher

On the virtues of death as against those of eternal life. “Life is short, and if death were to be a good thing, it would be a better thing much further down the road than it is for human lives now.” But immortality is another matter: Imagine the boredom. So, if, like Indiana Jones, you can save someone from death only by giving them an elixir of eternal life, it’s a harder choice the more you think about it. Neither option is a good option (5,441 words)

Interview With Joe Sacco

Interview with cartoonist whose latest book is set in Gaza. “When you draw, you can always capture the moment. You can always have that exact moment when someone’s got the club raised. I realise now there’s a lot of power in that”

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