Ross Gale

8,434 Added | 5 Magazines | 6 Likes | 34 Following | 14,118 Followers | @rossgale | Ross is a writer and editor living in Arizona. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. @rossgale

The Heretical Things Statistics Tell Us About Fiction

In high school, writing term papers on the family PC, I’d often turn to Microsoft Word’s “readability statistics” feature to make sure I sounded smart enough. With a few clicks, Word assigned my papers a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: a number from one to twelve indicating how many years of education …

J.R.R. Tolkien

Crafting Peace in Terabithia

Though it shook her, Una loved the book. In fact she turned around and read it again straight through. I wanted to ask about it, but tried to give …

Books

How a Binge-Writing Getaway Can Boost Productivity

By faungg’s photos via Flickr’s CCPlease welcome our guest Leah DeCesare, the author of <i>Forks, Knives, and Spoons</i> and the nonfiction parenting series</i> …

Authors

Writing in the Shadow of a Masterpiece: On Homage

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be;<br>For loan oft loses both itself and friend,<br>And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.–Polonius, <i>Hamlet</i>Ezra Pound’s …

Literature

Apocalypse, Now - On The Media

Before You Start: Introductions, Forewords, and Prefaces

A letter appears before the text of <i>The Comedians</i>, the 1966 novel by <b>Graham Greene</b>. The author penned the letter to <b>Alexander Stuart Frere</b>, his longtime …

Literature

Redactions to Reveal: Poetry in an Age of Censorship

The censorship of artists is not a new practice, but it feels lately like events and structures are realigning the boundaries of personal expression. …

Poetry

"What you plan is too small for you to live"

Mark Rylance: how Robert Bly changed my life

Ahead of a new film about Robert Bly, Mark Rylance recalls how the poet helped him to live with loss<p>I was raised in Milwaukee up to 1978, when I was 18. My father was an English teacher, so I must have come upon the American poet Robert Bly through him. But the first time I remember meeting him was …

Mexico And U.S. Team Up To Create Low-Cost Wheelchairs

United States

Telling Is Listening: Ursula K. Le Guin on the Magic of Conversation and Why Human Communication Is Like Amoebas Having Sex

“Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.”<p>Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to …

Cool Stuff

Mark Rothko on the Transcendent Power of Art and How (Not) To Experience His Paintings

Between January and July of 1956, a pivotal point in art when abstraction and realism confronted one another in a particularly fierce conflict and fine art was exorcising its ambivalence about the “organic” and the “formal” on canvases the world over, the celebrated writer, poet, critic, and public …

Cool Stuff

On Not Writing a Book Right Now

Why I won’t be asking you about your next big project.

Writing

Always Becoming

<i>The following is adapted from an address given at the Seattle Pacific University MFA in Creative Writing commencement ceremony last month</i>.<p>For …

Creative Writing

Arizona lawmakers undo disability-lawsuit compromise; Ducey signs off

Disability-rights advocates say they feel betrayed after Gov. Doug Ducey signed new limits on accessibility protections into law Tuesday, contending …

Arizona

Can you judge a book by its odour?

Cocoa, wood, rusks – every book has a distinctive smell. And each smell says something about how and when it was made, and where it has been<p>What does it mean to experience a book? To a bibliophile such as Alberto Manguel, smell plays an important part. In a talk at the British Library this week, …

Self-Help for Sarah Lawrence Girls: Joan Didion on Franny and Zooey

<i>I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect</i>*“When I first came to New York during the fall of 1956, I went to …

Literature

Syrian-American poet's view of the conflict

Syrian-American spoken word poet Amal Kassir lost 11 family members in Syria last Tuesday - but not in the suspected chemical attack.<p>This is her response to the war, Donald Trump, and the moment she spent six years preparing for.<p><i>Produced by Nadia Alhuraimi; Filmed and edited by Allen McGreevy</i>

Syria

Prophecy

On December 24, 1950, Dana Gioia was born in Hawthorne, California. He received a BA from Stanford University. Before returning to Stanford to earn …

Poetry

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize were announced today — on the 170th birthday of Joseph Pulitzer — and though there were some surprises, the …

Journalism

Terrence Malick Q&A: The Meaning of Life and Other Small Things

Okay, well, first of all, I can’t just be all <i>cool guy</i> and publish a blog post about a Terrence Malick Q&A <i>without</i>geeking out a little. I mean, I saw …

Terrence Malick

March 2017 Poetry Feature | The Common

At <i>The Common</i> we’re welcoming spring with new poetry by our contributors. (Be sure to listen to the audio link to Megan Fernandes’ “White People …

Poetry

S-Town Is a Well-Crafted Monument to Empathy

The much-hyped podcast evolves from murder mystery and rural tourism into timely, humanistic biography.<p>In the days after the 2016 election, an article by David Wong on <i>Cracked</i> called “How Half of America Lost Its F**king Mind” went viral. It listed five reasons why the Donald Trump phenomenon was …

American South

Fellatio and Juliet: On the Hard Task of Writing About Blowjobs

Though many authors have mounted attempts to convey the strange and singular experience of fellatio, only those who understand the power dynamics between giver and receiver succeed.<p>Michael Cunningham might be the modern master of the fellatio scene, but it took leaving them out to finally win a …

Literature

Liked ‘Serial’? Here’s Why the True-Crime Podcast ‘S-Town’ Is Better

In 2014, the true-crime podcast “Serial” began like this: A tipster asked a radio journalist to investigate a murder. “S-Town,” the new narrative podcast from the creators of “Serial,” kicks off in a similar fashion. This time, the tipster is John B. McLemore, an eccentric antique clock restorer …

Podcasting

The Creators of 'Serial' Are Back With 'S-Town,' a Binge-Ready New Podcast

At the center of <i>S-Town</i>, the new podcast from the team behind <i>Serial</i>, lies a maze. Well, two mazes. The first is an elaborate hedge maze on a plot of …

Escaping Is Not a Form of Understanding

In the internet age, travel essays are shared far and wide—and they aren’t always well received back home.<p>The little transgressions are the forgivable ones. Local knowledge in any place is earned with time. So it’s understandable why someone who is only visiting Hawaii might think to describe poke …

Hawaii

The art and evolution of headline writing

How have headlines evolved, from their early days in the late 19th century to their bold modern digital descendants?<p>We read dozens, if not hundreds, of them every day. Often skipping the story that follows and relying on just the headline, to tell us what's happening in the world.<p>At their best, …

A new kind of doctor's office that charges a monthly fee and doesn't take insurance could lead to much cheaper prescriptions

For one of Dr. John Burrell's new patients, a six-month supply of a drug fell from $120 to $20.<p>That's because Burrell, who runs a primary-care office in Columbia, South Carolina, manages to charge his patients wholesale prices.<p>Burrell runs a direct primary-care practice. Instead of accepting …

Health Care

Critics of the NEA often say its funding is welfare for rich, liberal elites. They're wrong.

A look at the NEA’s approach to funding art tells a very different story.<p>On his show on Friday, March 17, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson said the National Endowment for the Arts “is, in effect, welfare for rich, liberal elites. That's who consumes the products that they produce.”<p>The NEA has …