The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany

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Lumps of Language — John Sutherland reviews The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture by Gary Saul Morson for Literary Review:

We think of our use of language as ‘fluency’. There are, however, congealed lumps floating in it and, if we look beneath the surface, often more lumps than liquidity. Put another way, most language is pre-owned. The previous owners are, as Gary Morson instructs us, often worth knowing about.

Hard — Cartoonist James Sturm finds out just how hard it is to get a cartoon in The New Yorker:

I don’t normally draw gag cartoons; I’m what’s now called a “graphic novelist.” I’m not really considering a career change, but I was dealing with the mid-career blahs and wanted to try something new. It takes me several years to write and draw a book. The book’s subject determines and limits what I can and can’t draw. I enjoy the process, but it’s a slog. I wanted more spontaneity in my creative life. So in March I decided to fill a sketchbook, 90 pages, with New Yorker-style cartoons—one cartoon a day for three months. No excuses.

Much linked to elsewhere: A sad (and slightly bonkers) interview with Grant Morrison about his book Supergods in Rolling Stone.

Dan Nadel at The Comics Journal responds.

And finally… While were on the subject of comics…

Here’s an neat primer on comics journalism, in the form of comics journalism, by Dan Archer (via The Ephemerist).

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