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When Writing About Writers Is Really Bad Writing

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.

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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.
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