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@rossgale | 6 Magazines | 7,338 Articles | 6,116 Followers | 2 Likes | Ross is a writer and editor living in Oregon. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. @rossgale

Marc Lewis: the neuroscientist who believes addiction is not a disease

For decades the medical profession has largely treated addiction as as a chronic brain disease. The US government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse characterises addicts as compulsive drug seekers and users who continue taking drugs despite harmful and unwanted consequences. “It is considered a …


22 Essential Women Writers to Read in Translation

2015 has seen Can Xue’s The Last Lover honored with the Best Translated Book Award and the publication of the great Clarice Lispector’s Complete …


The Steeple and the Gargoyle

The following is adapted from a commencement address given for the Seattle Pacific University master of fine arts in creative writing on August 3,


Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov Strikingly Illustrated by Expressionist Painter Alice Neel (1938)

Images belong to The Estate of Alice Neel.We all know the reputation of 19th-century Russian novels: long, dense bricks of pure prose, freighted with …

Cool Stuff

Science and religion fight over Hawaii's highest point

Mauna Kea, Hawaii (CNN) — Rising more than 6 miles from the seabed floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest summit in the world.

To native Hawaiians, the dormant volcano is the most sacred land in the entire Pacific. It is the point where the sky and earth meet. They believe it is the site of the genesis of …


'The Wake' Is An Unlikely Hit In An Imaginary Language

Paul Kingsnorth's new novel, The Wake — a grim tale of medieval conquest and revenge — became a hit against all odds in the U.K. last year, and it's about to be released in the U.S.

I met Kingsnorth at his home in the countryside of far western Ireland. He and his wife grow their own food and …


10 popular grammar myths debunked by a Harvard linguist

Elementary-school students learning how to write simultaneously learn the rules of grammar, and the two approaches can be difficult to balance.

It's why many teachers ingrain in their students a combination of white lies and formal habits that are meant to keep their writing focused but aren't …


Rebecca Stead: 'In real life, there are always more than two doors'

Rebecca Stead began writing her award-winning books for children by accident –literally. More than a decade ago, she was working as a public defender in New York City and struggling to find traction with her writing. She loved adult fiction, but it wasn’t coming naturally.

“I felt almost too slow, a …

New York City

Freshmen at Duke University Refusing to Read Bechdel's Fun Home

Here we go again.

Only a few months ago, a student in California called for the eradication of certain “shocking” graphic novels from her course’s …

Mark Lepper | L'Arche USA

Of Fish and Men

Mark Lepper

In my house here at L’Arche Heartland we have a Beta fish who lives in a little tank in our dining room. Depending on which …


First Listen: Lou Barlow, 'Brace The Wave'

Lou Barlow's circuitous path as a recording artist has taken him through key roles in Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr., not to mention The Folk Implosion, which cracked the pop charts with "Natural One" back in the '90s. He's also put out a bunch of solo work, both under his own name and in the …

Do We Mistake Inaccessibility for Brilliance?

Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Zoë Heller and Leslie Jamison discuss whether we overvalue difficulty in literature.

By Zoë Heller

Some writers compose convoluted, hard-to-read sentences because they don’t have the chops to make simpler ones.

At …


To My Daughter With Down Syndrome on Her Wedding Day

Dear Jillian,

It is the afternoon of your wedding. June 27, 2015. In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by …

Down Syndrome

Why Introverts Make Great Entrepreneurs

Imagine a typical entrepreneur.

A quiet, reserved introvert is probably not what first came to mind. Aren’t entrepreneurs supposed to be gregarious and commanding—verbally adept and able to inspire employees, clients and investors with the sheer force of their personality? No wonder the advice for …


The Wild, Remarkable Sex Scenes of Lidia Yuknavitch

Halfway through Lidia Yuknavitch’s “The Small Backs of Children,” a man we know only as “the painter” enters his studio. He feels trapped in his life and his marriage, desperate to escape what he calls “the devouring wife love hole.” “If he can just inhale the nothingness and dark around him,” he …


INFOGRAPHIC: The 69 Rules of Punctuation

Snoots, rejoice! This handy infographic from Curtis Newbold (view here to enlarge) reduces the rules of proper punctuation to a series of color-coded …


Interview With Emrys Journal

Author: Lindsey DeLoach Jones

What have you personally gained from working for Emrys? How has this experience changed your perspective of reading


Ray Bradbury: The Best Writing Teacher You Could Ever Have

Today would have been Ray Bradbury’s 95th birthday, and there are many, many stories you can tell about Bradbury’s life and career: Fahrenheit 451 was …

Ray Bradbury

Did Religion Make the American Civil War Worse?

Faith may have inflamed the conflict, but one lasting legacy of the war may be the toll it took upon American faith.

If there is one sober lesson Americans seem to be taking out of the bathos of the Civil War sesquicentennial, it’s the folly of a nation allowing itself to be dragged into the war in …

Christian Philosophy

Sam Elliott on working with Lily Tomlin: 'We went through this catharsis'

“Oh. My. God. Is that you? It is you.”

The problem with courteously arriving early for an interview and with being such an unmistakable stud is that women tend to gush over you while you wait at the bar. Sam Elliott, wearing a simple black shirt that highlights his silver hair like a beacon in PJ …

Lily Tomlin

Emergency Medical Workers "Pause" After Traumatic Death

In America, death is not something we often talk about unless we are forced to by circumstance or tragedy. But at hospitals, death is an everyday …


Making a living from writing, writing from making a living

According to Mark Twain, experience is an author’s most valuable asset: “It’s the thing that puts the muscle, breath and warm blood into the book.” And, as the place aspiring writers spend most of their time, authors have often drawn on experiences at work as inspiration.

Take Ken Kesey, who wrote …


I Write a Novel and Poems Come Out

Deborah Landau’s third collection of poetry, The Uses of the Body, is out now from Copper Canyon Press. Adam Fitzgerald: Reading through your new book …


This Week in Fiction: Alice McDermott

Your story in this week’s issue, “These Short, Dark Days,” involves a nun—a “nursing sister”—in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. What drew you to that time and place, and to this particular character?

The moral collapse of the institutional Catholic Church—via the priest abuse scandal—has left me, and …


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan review – one hell of a ride…

When William Finnegan was struggling to write an article about the San Francisco surf scene in the 1980s he found himself “wondering how much of the thing I could hope to convey to outsiders”. Having taken a full seven years to complete, the novella-length piece was eventually published in the New …

Water Sports

Downturned Face, Upturned Eyes

By Tony Woodlief

There is no writing more precious and self-indulgent than the essay about the difficulty of writing, so I will not write an essay …


American Women: Masters of the Short Story

The double entendre in the title of Lucia Berlin’s new short story collection is a lot like the one in “To Serve Man,” Damon Knight’s science fiction …

Short Stories


How wonderful !! She is amazing !! Without arms she does everything that we do on a daily basis and without a frown. and we complain if we break a …

Dee Barnes: Women Are ‘Casualties’ of Straight Outta Compton‘s ‘Revisionist History’

The N.W.A. biopic omits Dr. Dre's alleged violence against women

Dee Barnes, the former TV personality who said she was assaulted by N.W.A. rapper Dr. Dre in 1991, addressed on Tuesday the “revisionist history” of the hip hop group’s newly released biopic, Straight Outta Compton.

In an essay for …

Dee Barnes

Enter Our Inkshares Sci-Fi and Fantasy Contest for a Chance to Get Your Novel Published!

It should come as no surprise that we here at Nerdist LOVE sci-fi and fantasy. Whether it’s classic cinema like 2001: A Space Odyssey, our beloved