29 August, 2006

Kid Dynamite

"Hannibal was very courageous,” Tyson said. "He rode elephants through Cartilage."
David Remnick's boxer-as-a-freakshow profile of Mike "Kid Dynamite" Tyson from 1997 is still very, very funny. (Link opens a PDF.)

Jason Shiga

Imagine that you regain consciousness and find you're in a phone booth completely encased in concrete. Imagine that all you have with you are the contents of your pockets and a few mysterious documents. Imagine that you have only 48 hours to live, unless you can find a way out.
Or better yet, don't bother imagining it. Just read (if you haven't already) Jason Shiga's amazing Fleep. And while you're there, check out Shiga's other work - including the marvellous Bus Stop. Easily some of my favourite web comics.

The Decline of the Book Review

In India, the decline of the book review is especially frustrating because it's happened just as the publishing industry has started providing more — more books, selling in more numbers, covering more subjects, more professional translations, more new writers. I can only assume that the bright boys who run newspaper marketing departments read nothing these days, not even publishing industry reports.

But 10 years ago, the physical space for the book review began to shrink, and it continues to suffer from anorexia. The intellectual space for any sort of engaged discussion on the living culture around us shrank in tandem, as the review went down from 1,500 words — such profligate largesse, I think now — to 1,000, then 600, then 400.
Nilanjana S Roy, friend and lit critic (and, in another avataar, one of our earlier litbloggers), on The Decline of the Book Review in the Hindu.

28 August, 2006

Federer as a religious experience

David Foster Wallace in the New York Times on Federer as a religious experience.

Quite the best tennis writing I've ever read. Like all the really great sports writing, it's about more than just the sport. Even the footnotes read better than most reports. An excerpt:
There are wonderful things about having a body, too, obviously — it's just that these things are much harder to feel and appreciate in real time. Rather like certain kinds of rare, peak-type sensuous epiphanies ("I'm so glad I have eyes to see this sunrise!" etc.), great athletes seem to catalyze our awareness of how glorious it is to touch and perceive, move through space, interact with matter. Granted, what great athletes can do with their bodies are things that the rest of us can only dream of. But these dreams are important — they make up for a lot.
And from the main piece:
It's the finals of the 2005 U.S. Open, Federer serving to Andre Agassi early in the fourth set. There's a medium-long exchange of groundstrokes, one with the distinctive butterfly shape of today's power-baseline game, Federer and Agassi yanking each other from side to side, each trying to set up the baseline winner...until suddenly Agassi hits a hard heavy cross-court backhand that pulls Federer way out wide to his ad (=left) side, and Federer gets to it but slices the stretch backhand short, a couple feet past the service line, which of course is the sort of thing Agassi dines out on, and as Federer's scrambling to reverse and get back to center, Agassi's moving in to take the short ball on the rise, and he smacks it hard right back into the same ad corner, trying to wrong-foot Federer, which in fact he does — Federer's still near the corner but running toward the centerline, and the ball's heading to a point behind him now, where he just was, and there's no time to turn his body around, and Agassi's following the shot in to the net at an angle from the backhand side...and what Federer now does is somehow instantly reverse thrust and sort of skip backward three or four steps, impossibly fast, to hit a forehand out of his backhand corner, all his weight moving backward, and the forehand is a topspin screamer down the line past Agassi at net, who lunges for it but the ball's past him, and it flies straight down the sideline and lands exactly in the deuce corner of Agassi's side, a winner — Federer's still dancing backward as it lands. And there's that familiar little second of shocked silence from the New York crowd before it erupts, and John McEnroe with his color man's headset on TV says (mostly to himself, it sounds like), "How do you hit a winner from that position?" And he's right: given Agassi's position and world-class quickness, Federer had to send that ball down a two-inch pipe of space in order to pass him, which he did, moving backwards, with no setup time and none of his weight behind the shot. It was impossible. It was like something out of "The Matrix." I don't know what-all sounds were involved, but my spouse says she hurried in and there was popcorn all over the couch and I was down on one knee and my eyeballs looked like novelty-shop eyeballs.
Warning for the ADS-afflicted: it's a long piece.

27 August, 2006


This is not about displaying our own writing. (Though, truth be told, we work hard at stringing words together. And, now and then, we admit to being pleased with the results.)

This blog will search for and promote excellent creative writing on the web, with a wee bias towards the blogosphere.

What we'll link to: poetry, fiction, graphic stories and comics, great criticism, hyperfiction, lyrics, interactive narratives. Occassionally, we may link to essays, rants and opinion pieces unconnected with writing, but only if we think they're extraordinarily good. We'll also point to opportunities for writers, as and when we hear of them.

Tip-offs welcome. Leave a comment, or mail us.