Catcher in the Rye

There were two bookcases in my childhood home. Waist high and constructed of pine (that wood of the novice carpenter), they flanked the front door to the house that had jammed and that no one used. Except for a partial set of Wonder Books, there were no children’s resources in those varnished shelves, dedicated as they were to volumes of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and religious tomes like Ben-Hur and The Robe and a blue-covered, thumb-indexed ...

In her lecture “Why Write?” Zadie Smith emphasizes the honor—and the drudgery—of the craft of writing by comparing it to the work of an artisan. My undergraduate students, many of who major in things like Business or Supply Chain Management, argue that creative writing is worthless in today’s economy. In an atmosphere where writing is considered indulgent, many writers are quick to clarify that they have ambitions beyond what others label as a hobby. Conversely, as Smith mentions, some...

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