Category Archives: Moment of Zen

You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape

I don’t imagine everyone dreams exclusively of a full-time job doing whatever it is they love best. There are probably plenty of artists who want to make art on their own terms, in their own time, thank you very much, and are happy to work at something completely unrelated in order to pay the rent. […]

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Wednesday Moment of Zen: Shelley Jackson’s Snow Story

Snow, huh Good God, y’all What is it good for? Absolutely nothing Say it again With all due apologies to Edwin Starr, I think this is how a good two-thirds of the country feels right now. No, really, I do understand the actual geo-meteorological necessity for snow, and why we need cold temperatures and snowpack […]

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Wednesday Moment of Zen: Yo Novel

The writer is a passionate animal; two writers in the same space, physical or virtual, will lock horns pleasingly often. I say “pleasingly” because—let’s face it—watching articulate types go at it is always fun. Sometimes these feuds raise real questions; more often they’re vaguely embarrassing to all parties involved. Once in a while reputations are […]

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Moment of Zen: Tax Day

(1) Lawrence A. Zelenak, a professor of law at Duke University, is the author of Learning to Love Form 1040: Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax, in which he bravely describes the origins, history, and current complexity of the federal income tax. He also offers philosophical reasons and practical suggestions for changing the […]

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In Which Mark Twain Explains My Own Dilemmas with Great Prescience

The only trouble about this town is, that it is too large. You cannot accomplish anything in the way of business, you cannot even pay a friendly call, without devoting a whole day to it—that is, what people call a whole day who do not get up early. Many business men only give audience from […]

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St. Martin’s Press’ High Five

We’ve all heard it a million times: Publishing pays pretty miserably. Unless you’re a high-profile editor or in the C-suite, nobody who works in the the production end of the literary world (or any other end of it, in fact) is getting rich. Even your senior editors probably still have roommates, and forget about the […]

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The Shortest Day

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about books that—for want of a better term—changed my reading DNA as a child and adolescent. Russell Hoban’s recent death brought me back to The Mouse and His Child and what it taught me about tragedy in a narrative and how to deal with it. And Charles Shields’ new […]

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News of the Day: RIP Steve Jobs / The People’s Library

Having a bit of a news junkie evening here at Like Fire headquarters, between squeezing coverage of the Wall Street protesters out of the Internet—once again, when it comes to breaking news that’s not being covered elsewhere, Twitter earns its stars—and the not-unexpected but still sad news of Steve Jobs’ death. Occupy Wall Street is […]

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Wednesday Moment of Zen: Dinah Lenney’s “Against Knowing”

We haven’t had a true Wednesday Moment of Zen for a while now. So I offer to all my Wednesday readers an essay by Dinah Lenney in Brevity about the fine art of Not Knowing. Where fiction writers are generally all right with not being sure where a character or even a plot line is […]

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Wednesday Moment of Zen: Color Commentary

Here in the northeast this time of year is known as Mud Season, characterized by large swaths of brown and gray, broken up here and there by shoots of green that you need to be paying attention to catch. In these pre-spring days, any color at all is appreciated, and Alan Kennedy’s Color/Language Project is […]

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