Our minds are very similar whether you’re male or female. Virginia Woolf said that the imagination is androgynous — the way we think, the way we experience the world is universal. But we go through the world in these bodies and the male body and the female body are very different… Things that are very physical are hard to imagine, and that’s when getting your best female friend to read a passage and tell you if it sounds truthful is very helpful.
I wrote a sex scene from the point of view of a woman and I was very happy when a friend said to me, “God, how did you get that right?” So there are places the imagination can go. My life is filled with men and women so being a part of what you do as a writer is observe, and if you have an open mind you can take a lot in and that helps you put a lot out as a writer. Sometimes the things you get wrong are the kind of language people use… Writing is all words, so sometimes it’s just about the choice of words.
Much of the writing being produced right now on the Internet is excellent but ephemeral; there’s no assurance it will be available to anyone in 100 years, or even 10. Novels, on the other hand, are just about the most durable home for words we’ve yet discovered.
If you pack a novel full of politics and culture, it might not make a dent in 2012 … but by 2022, or 2112, the rest of the words written this year will have disappeared, scoured away by time and technology upgrades, and that novel will get another swing.
We use novels, not old newspapers, to get a sense of what life was like 100 years ago. I believe 100 years from now, future generations will still use novels the same way. They’ll use novels, not tweets or posts like this.
– Robin Sloan, the author and self-proclaimed “Media Inventor,” (I wish he would stop using that term to describe himself, makes him seem like the douchebag he probably isn’t) writes for the NY Times on why new media is actually reinforcing the ever-enduring power of the novel.
I’ve enjoyed designing web pages and building iPhone apps, but I’m not convinced that any of it will be accessible for very long. That’s just the nature of the internet right now — we’re still in shakedown mode, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Plain text, though, already made it through the shakedown. Invest in text — learn to design sentences and build stories — and it’s a sure bet, no matter what the future holds.
– A few months later Sloan was interviewed by The Millions and makes his case again, this time focusing more on the power of storytelling.
Before a boy can be considered a man he must strip down to his shorts and climb on top of other boys to reach the peak of a slippery tower. That’s been the tradition at the Annapolis Naval Academy. Who knew teamwork and discipline could be so… gay?
Each year, the freshman class at the prestigious navy school comes together to climb the Herndon (hard on?) Monument covered in lard just for the special occasion. The goal is to use pure bodily strength and replace a sailor hat on top with that of an officer’s.
After the task is completed, the boys get hosed down for some celebratory waterworks.
BOY TOYS TALK BACK: Why must military traditions be so blatantly homoerotic?
“Levithan crafts a love affair as sharp, funny and sad as any you’d find in an epic novel… The Lover’s Dictionary isn’t about how lessons were learned, and in what order—it’s a documentation of facts, memories, war wounds. And anyone who has been in a romantic relationship will recognize themselves in Levithan’s lovers, from the tiniest details of merging bookshelves and quiet afternoons to the largest anxieties of sexual inadequacy and romantic reciprocity. Levithan’s rhapsody is just that: an ode to desire written as an account of the traces such desire leaves behind.”
—Jessica Freeman-Slade, TheRumpus.net