Tag Archives: New York Times

Reading about Writing today

This article on Literary Hub is from last December, but PEN America just linked to it on Facebook earlier today, so it’s new to me; “What a Novel Looks Like Before It’s a Novel: Six Novelists on Their Writing Rituals and Early Drafts” by Claire Luchette was of special interest because I’m in the process of typing a forty-year-old manuscript onto a computer for the first time and serializing it on this blog. The technique of writing when handwritten and typed manuscripts were not easily rearranged and cut-and-pasted and easily massaged and otherwise ‘word processed’ (a formulation that still grates on the ears of those of a certain age) was a much different task than writing on digital devices. I’ve written long manuscripts both ways and I know that the tasks feel completely different. The LitHub article is interesting because many of the authors still see the importance of writing early drafts by hand even though they end up with their words on a screen. I sometimes see the difference in musical terms — the pre-computer novels were written on slightly out-of-tune guitars and pianos and some of the newly-processed novels stink of Auto-Tune and drum machines — but I’m not going back to a typewriter and carbon paper.

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A manuscript prepared on a Brother typewriter in 1976.

But the major question about writing (at least for me, having a full-time job) is finding or making the time to do it. The other article I read today spoke to me more directly. “How to Become a Writer? Start Writing” on The New York Times website was excerpted from the longer “Dear Sugars” podcast in which Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond give advice to a young CPA who feels that she should be processing words (sorry, writing books) rather than counting beans. I’m retyping one paragraph from Cheryl Strayed here to use it as inspiration for myself.

 So what you’re hearing from us is go. But know that going in the direction of becoming a writer may look different than you imagine it will. Maybe you need to quit your job as an accountant to pursue your writing. Maybe you don’t. It isn’t all or nothing. You haven’t wasted a minute. You don’t have to feel hopeless about what’s next. You get to decide what it is by doing the work you feel called to do. Now is a great time to begin.

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The Bund back on page 1 of the Times this morning (and may have never left Suffolk County)

When I was researching Fritz Kuhn and the German-American Bund for Fire Answers Fire, I spent a lot of time getting lost in back issues of The New York Times from the 1930s, where the Bund and its camps and marchs and meetings would often be mentioned on the front page, but I  did not expect to see them making a reappearance on page A1 in late 2015.

The article this morning entitled “In Long Island Hamlet, Home Buyers’ Rule Is a Relic of Its Nazi Past” is about a community in Yaphank on eastern Long Island — on the grounds of the old Camp Siegfried — where owners of homes do not own their lots and “The original owners of this tract of land kept a clause in its bylaws requiring the homeowners to be primarily ‘of German extraction.’ That has kept this community of 45 families almost entirely white.” In October of 2015.

While it does not appear that there are parades with brownshirts and swastikas or street signs with “Adolf Hitler Straße” in the current Yaphank settlement, it’s amazing that the Times piece does include a photo of a large current sign at the entrance to the neighborhood that reads “German American Settlement League – Private Community – Members & Guests Only.” That is the exact same organization name that was being used in 1938 when the following film about Camp Siegfried was made by British Pathé:

Here’s an article from Untapped Cities published earlier this year, “This Former Nazi Neighborhood on Long Island with Adolf Hitler Street Still Exists,” with even more information and photos illustrating this strange neighborhood’s past and present states.

And here’s a collection of NYPD Alien Squad photographs of Camp Siegfried in its heyday.