The Artful Life

Smart over art

Evert Cilliers on lousy, pretentious, self-celebratory modern film and fiction: “Urban Intellectual Fodder. Neither original nor path-breaking, this art is derivative hommage; postmodern commentary around the edges of art. It is art born of attitude, not passion. It is art that postures but doesn’t grip. It is art created by those who are more passionate …

Wise Blood

“She felt justified in getting anything at all back that she could, money or anything else, as if she had once owned the earth and been dispossessed of it. She couldn’t look at anything steadily without wanting it, and what provoked her most was the thought that there might be something valuable hidden near her, …

The verisimilar edge

Listening to a local film critic’s tired dismissal of the new film, Edge of Darkness, I was struck by the need, in film, literary, and art criticism just as much as in theological or architectural or epicurean criticism, for a foundational sense of what makes something good. All else flows from that. For some critics, this …

Book it

I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the unofficial New Yorker film critic handbook there’s a rule that goes something like this: If Christian faith is central to a film, don’t be afraid to stoop to name-calling and character assassination. Thus it wasn’t surprising to see in what manner David Denby unleashes his ire on The …

Cart-pushing

I just found out I scored a mention in the 2010 Pushcart Anthology for my short story, “Name,” which was published last year in Image. And the good people at Ruminate nominated my story, “The Glass Child,” for a Pushcart this year. If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts for your more discerning loved ones …

The Glass Child

If you’re looking for a counterweight to my usual cheeriness, you might get yourself the latest issue of Ruminate, which has my short story, “The Glass Child.” Here’s the opening paragraph: This is the blood, David tells himself. He twists open the bottle and pours its dark content into a blue plastic cup. The label …

Shut it. Literally.

Okay, here’s the thing. “Literally” doesn’t mean “really.” It’s not a word that you put in front of some other words to show that, unlike the rest of your lackluster sentence, this is the part you really totally completely, like, absolutely mean. And it doesn’t mean figuratively, or metaphorically. “Literally” means that it actually happened. So …