Tag Archives: By Meakin Armstrong

Interviewing Etgar Keret

imagesHe’s Israel’s top writer, a man whose work I adore—and I got to spend two hours with him for Guernica

In America, where writers are preoccupied with the craft of writing, I always try to introduce this concept of the badly written good story. Turning the hierarchy around and putting passion on top and not craft, because when you just focus on craft, you can write something that is very sterile. It looks beautiful, but soulless.

 

Essay on Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the Charleston Shooting

2928014507_1c7c581bbe_zI lived in Charleston, SC from when I was around 11 to 20 years old. I went to a private, all-white elementary school right next door to “Mother Emanuel,” Emanuel A.M.E. church. I wrote an essay about the #CharlestonShooting — and about a stupid childhood prank I played on that church.

And how kind they were to me.

The essay contains some paragraphs like this, too:

Both sides in this race war (and it is a war, the longest in American history) have been fighting for generations. White people are in denial of it, perhaps because it’s too hard for us to see it. And when we we’re told about, we wish it would just go away. We find it a boring topic because our privilege allows us to be bored by it. It’s our privilege to be bored. And yes, it bores me. It’s boring because people like me swim in privilege, like a fish swims in water. Often, I only see the hard work that got me where I am, not the extra boost I got along the way because I am white.

 

 

The People’s Pervert: John Waters

Waters-John-c-Greg-Gorman-CARSICK_TOPI interviewed John Waters for Guernica.

Now at sixty-nine (“an embarrassing age,” he said at a recent appearance in New York City, “I don’t even like the sex position”), John Waters seems to have a career on the upswing: he’s in development for a TV series, and he has a bestselling memoir, Carsick, the story of how he hitchhiked across America in 2012. His traveling stand-up show, This Filthy World, packs the houses on a regular basis.

 

New York: I Still Love You Best

No one who was in New York on 9/11 will ever forget that day. I still well up when I think of the firefighters a few doors down from me and how they lost half of their crew.

Even now, images from that day come back unannounced. All I can do is allow it all to wash over me.

I wrote about some of what I saw and felt 11 years ago in a blog post for Guernica during the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, two years ago.

The piece was a bit controversial. I was vilified on Twitter. But there you go: the price of doing business.

 

My Google Maps Piece is up

As noted earlier, I wrote a piece for The Atlantic, using Google Maps.

It was a highly complex project and difficult to execute–I wrote pithy listings for some 125 spots all over the world. I also provided the client with Google map locations and art work (I volunteered for that, a bit to my shame).

It damned near killed me (there were many, many sleepless nights while I worked on this project), but the results look great. And it’s a popular feature, too!

You can find my Google Maps feature on The Atlantic Website.

My Posted Clips

I have about a third of my clips up on this site: they’re broken into three categories: my recent Fiction, Editorial Clips and work I’ve done as a Copywriter. The Editorial Clips and Copywriter pages include a rundown of what I can do for my clients as a freelance writer, SEO copywriter, or ghostwriter.

Eventually, there will be slides and all sorts of stuff. Eventually. Right now, nothing’s too fancy around here. It’s like I’ve just moved into a large, messy house and the construction workers haven’t quite finished with the plumbing and painting.

Except I’m the guy doing the plumbing and the painting; I’m doing this thing myself.

It’s a fun thing to do: I’m learning WordPress more concretely (Guernica is on Movable Type, so I’d previously known that CMS better than this one)

Still Working on This Site

It’s a slow process, but I’m putting PDFs of my clips onto this site.

Click on “Editorial Clips” for my freelance writing/journalism and “Copywriter” for my ad-driven writing. Eventually, I’ll also have my all of my fiction up, and information on readings and events.

Right now, clips are also available here: http://www.mediabistro.com/MeakinArmstrong

Cinema’s Beautiful Blowhard

The Beautiful Blowhard

I wrote an essay recommending Samuel Fuller’s work. A portion of what I said:

“A Fuller film careers between drama and melodrama; it stars scene-chewing actors; is low budget, and has the subtlety of a machete. A Fuller film can start out being about one thing (such as in one of my favorites, Crimson Kimono , where it begins in a Noirish vein, with two cops investigating a crime in 1950s L.A.) only to veer off somewhere else (racism against Asians). Watching a Fuller film is seeing the unpredictable. It breaks the rules of “good” writing—and just goes for the jugular. Continue reading Cinema’s Beautiful Blowhard

Reading: Freerange Nonfiction, May 5th

I’ll be reading at the Freerange Nonfiction series this May 5th. I’ll be reading from something new: an essay about a particularly horrible event that happened to me when I was much younger: I interrupted a roommate who’d captured another, tied him down, and threatened to saw his head off with a chainsaw.

I dislike overly dramatic memoirs, so I’m going to try to make the piece about something larger: the nature of nonfiction in general. (But I’ll also try to give you the drama.)

Norman Rush: “Mating”

I wrote a piece on Norman Rush’s debut novel, Mating for Guernica’s blog.

“It took some convincing to get me to read Norman Rush. I expected his first novel, Mating, to be an obvious cross between Saul Bellow and a Victorian romance. It took me a long time to realize this: that’s not such a bad combination.”

Continue reading Norman Rush: “Mating”

Jakob Dylan: “Women and Country”

In which I bite the bullet (and recommend Jakob Dylan)

But first, I whine a bit about the Jakob juggernaut of years ago:

“Because of a former roommate, I shut the door on Jakob Dylan. While my roommate played Dylan’s hit, “One Headlight” repeatedly, I escaped to my bedroom where I could listen to something else. She sang random bars from his songs all day. She shattered the few quiet moments in the apartment to blather on about Dylan’s “cuteness.” Continue reading Jakob Dylan: “Women and Country”