I confess: I just read something in T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
I’m not fond of T. Ever since this semi-monthly add-on to the Sunday New York Times appeared a decade ago, it’s gone straight to my recycling bin. But the little blurb at the bottom of the new edition’s cover—“Five Novelists on the Rooms Where They Write”—hooked me. I’m a sucker for anything with “novelist” in the headline. The topic isn’t fresh, but it’s an evergreen one for anyone who struggles to find space to write.
As it turns out, the topic of literary authors finding and claiming space is an ironic one. “The Writer’s Room” is at the back of the magazine, shoehorned in after 200-plus glossy pages. It includes photos of five well-known writers who, in the words of the T blurb, “explain how the right space can unlock the mind and let the words flow.”
I knew “The Writer’s Room” would be bad as soon as I unearthed it—but that took awhile. I had to paw through ad after upscale ad, no doubt the intention of this thinly veiled advertising supplement’s layout. The table of contents begins on page 78. The latest edition (“Women’s Fashion,” February 16, 2014) weighs in at over a pound.
James L. Nichols (1995)
@ Nichols Estate
My father passed away the morning of January 22, 2014. By that point, he had moved several times, until he arrived at his last board-and-care home, a kindly place where he lived his final two-and-a-half years. He died peacefully, in hospice care, several days after a stroke took him down. My brother Mark and I were with him, as were the caregivers Dad had grown fond of.
In Talking Writing, I’ve republished a piece I originally wrote for him in 2010: “I Know What Poetry Can Do.” This TW publication also includes a memorial tribute to my dad, one that emphasizes the great solace he derived from writing poetry in his last years, even as his body succumbed to Parkinson’s disease. Here’s an excerpt from my memorial “Afterword”:
My father’s strong moral compass and deep love of literature, especially poetry, have made me who I am. Because of him, I’m a skeptic, a critic, a journalist, an editor. Most of all, I’m a writer. It never has been easy to make a living as an author, let alone to start a literary magazine like Talking Writing, yet my belief that creative work can make a real difference goes straight back to my childhood: to my mother the artist and my father the academic. It’s as ingrained in me as religious faith.
He truly was a remarkable man. To read the complete memorial tribute to my father, including one of his poems, please click on “I Know What Poetry Can Do.”