A Word for Living Creatures

- beginning with a line from Paul Celan's "The Meridian"
Recent Tweets @ErinMFeldman

paperbackcastles: My summer reading list. 

(via prettybooks)

He did not scrutinize God but let his eyes be dazzled.
Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables




It is Sunday and I’m on a train, leaving home for home. The colossus propels itself along the tracks, northbound, and I have ninety minutes to steel my mind for New York City again. I’m thinking of “safe space,” the concept of it. Home—New Jersey—is the safe space, the last refuge,…


The Library’s #ireadeverywhere campaign has reached new heights - and just in time for Caturday. Brian (Twitter handle @brianlinek) shared this amazing image of himself reading To Kill A Mockingbird, up a tree, with (we presume) his beloved, scheming cat. We can’t decide which part of this photo we like best. It’s just, well, purrrrfect. Thank you for sending it, Brian! And happy Caturday, all! Want to share your love of reading (and your favorite reading spot)? Join our #ireadeverywhere campaign (just like LeVar Burton and Hillary Clinton and Mindy Kaling and Jim Parsons, to name a few) and share with us where you read. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else to pick up a book and start an adventure (one that does not actually involve killing birds of any kind, of course)! 

I find writing, and sharing my work, for others to be a problematic endeavor, something I’ve had to reconsider these last three years when my words started to be published, disseminated, and, in many ways, transformed into something unforeseen. Releasing creative work into the world means it’s no longer yours; it is open to interpretation and criticism. Fiction comes with its own ready-made explanation: it’s fiction, which is to say, it didn’t happen. The reader/commenter then has to shrug his shoulders and accept the explanation. Sharing my fiction is hardly an issue. It is nonfiction, specifically the personal essay, that has gotten me into trouble.

The chair with its fourth leg kicked out.

The dog and missing eye.

The disassembled mannequins

in the Victoria Secret window,

an arm, a foot, and there -

perfect, round, firm, 

bathed in fluorescent security 

light, a single breast.

There are many myths about writing (writers are tortured artists; writers are drunks; writers are drunk, tortured artists). But in my opinion, one of the most insidious of those myths is the idea that you must be inspired to write. I’ve heard writers say things like, “I just wasn’t inspired to write today,” and “I’m waiting for that burst of inspiration, you know?”

I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you wait for inspiration to strike before you sit down to write, you’ll probably never finish a damn thing. Inspiration is like that hot girl or guy you met at a party one time—and when you talked to him or her, it seemed like you totally clicked. There was eye contact; there was flirting; maybe there was even a bit of casual brushing of your hand over theirs, right? I know. I’ve been there. At the end of the night they asked for your number and said, “I’ll definitely call you. We should hang out.”

But then they never did, and you were left waiting for a call that never came, feeling increasingly like a fool.

That’s what inspiration is. It’s seductive and thrilling, but you can’t depend on it to call you. It doesn’t work that way. The good thing is, inspiration is irrelevant to whether or not you finish your book. The only thing that determines that is your own sense of discipline.

Malinda Lo’s 2013 NaNoWriMo pep talk. (via taibhsearachd)

(via bookoisseur)


Haruki Murakami, “Concerning the Sound of a Train Whistle in the Night or On the Efficacy of Fiction”


Newspaper Blackouts by Austin Kleon

Follow me on Twitter (@austinkleon) or Instagram for daily poems.