English has provided a precise term of art to describe the writerly condition: submission. Writers live in a state of submission. Submission means rejection. Rejection is the condition of the practice of submission, which is the practice of writing. Rejection, not acceptance, is what defines the life of a writer.
And rejection has never been easier. Digital technology has allowed people to be rejected at exponentially higher rates. I’ve known writers who used to submit, literally, the manuscript of a work. It might loiter for six months in some publisher’s office before being returned by way of a self-addressed stamped envelope. Under the conditions of print, a dozen failures a year were difficult to accumulate. Today, if you work at it, you can fail a dozen times before lunch.
I kept a scrupulous account of my rejections until I reached the 2,000 mark. That was in my late 20s. Last week, I was rejected seven times. I had to go back and check. I don’t notice rejection much anymore.
Many writers don’t talk about their rejections, even among themselves. I’ve been lucky enough to know some of the most successful writers of my generation, men and women who have won all the prizes, who have received all the accolades, who have achieved fame insofar as writerly fame exists. The wins don’t seem to make much difference: They don’t protect them from the sense that they’ve been misunderstood, that the world doesn’t recognize who they are. If you’re a writer who’s just starting out, you must think either I’m lying or they’re crazy. All I can tell you is that I’m not lying.
On the day he turned 16, Paul Mescal was on a stage, being presented with a cake by the cast and crew of his high school production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. “That’s the first thing I ever did, so I actually take great pride in it,” says Mescal of his public acting debut, playing the Phantom. (The entire production has been uploaded by the school to YouTube. Mescal is a gifted high baritone.) “That was the moment when I was like, ‘Oh fuck — this adrenaline is incredible,’ ” he says. “I’ve never felt a high like that.”
Imagine the high, then, that Mescal is feeling today, his 27th birthday. He’ll spend it on a stage once more, as the marquee draw of the hottest theater ticket in London, possibly even the English-speaking world. It’s a radical reworking of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire starring Mescal as Stanley Kowalski, the part that famously launched Marlon Brando, first on Broadway then in film. The reviews have been stellar, with THR praising his menacing Stanley as a “ticking time bomb” whose “destruction of Blanche” — Dubois, the play’s faded debutante, played by Spanish-British actress Patsy Ferran — “is deliberate, cruel and shocking.”
Adding to the adrenaline is the fact that this birthday comes nine days after Mescal learned he’d been nominated for an Oscar for his work in A24’s Aftersun, a festival darling from first-time director Charlotte Wells of Scotland. With that, Mescal gains entry into one of Hollywood’s most exclusive and illustrious clubs: 26-year-old best actor nominees. It consists of Orson Welles for Citizen Kane, James Dean for Giant, Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain and Ryan Gosling for Half-Nelson. If he wins — and it’s anyone’s race with five first-time nominees, including his fellow Irishman Colin Farrell — he will be the youngest best actor winner ever, beating Adrien Brody by three years.
Read the rest of this article at: The Hollywood Reporter
Like a lot of Americans right now, Jennifer Gomes says she is doing whatever she can to spend less money on groceries. So on a recent Sunday, instead of heading to the store, she pulled some ham shoulder out of the freezer and some dried split peas off the pantry shelf and decided to can some soup.
She boiled a batch on the stove in her Northern California kitchen, ladled it into clean jars, and then put the jars in her pressure canner, a device with a locking lid similar to an Instant Pot. While they were processing (it takes about 75 minutes), she made a second batch to can. Eventually, she had eight pint jars of soup ready to eat, at a cost of only about $3 a jar — less than the price of a Big Mac.
Gomes, 39, is a longtime canning expert who teaches food preservation classes and co-hosts a podcast called Perfectly Preserved. But her strategy for getting dinner on the table (and tomorrow’s dinner in the cupboard) is becoming an increasingly common one. A growing number of Americans have taken up home canning in recent years, in what’s become a trend, a hobby, a political movement, and a response to the various bleak and bewildering conditions of life in the early 21st century.
Read the rest of this article at: Vox
Everyone lives with a shared burden: Inevitably, each of us will die, and so will the people we love. It’s easy enough to ignore when you’re young or healthy, but anxious questions remain. When and how will it all end? And what will happen when I’m gone?
Over the centuries, religious and philosophical texts, such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life, have attempted to ease the journey. Modern meditations on human mortality tend to be written not by wise sages but by individuals who have faced the end of life—sometimes a person who is themselves dying, an individual who is grieving a loss, or an expert in the medical or funeral field. Many of these books can be clumsy exhortations to the reader to make the most of the time they have left. Staring down the ultimate unknown, some authors understandably struggle to walk the tightrope between comforting fictions and a macabre desolation.
Life may be nasty, brutish, and short; it’s also sublime. The strongest writing about death and dying captures both the trifling and the profound, the horrible and the beautiful, in service of messy human truths. Rather than cajole the reader into wringing everything they can out of each moment, the seven books below can help us accept our limitations and live full lives.
Ahead of Spotify’s upcoming Stream On event, where the company is expected to announce a redesigned home feed and other updates, the company today launched a new AI feature called “DJ” to better personalize the music listening experience for its users. Similar to a radio DJ, Spotify’s DJ feature will deliver a curated selection of music alongside AI-powered spoken commentary about the tracks and artists you like, using what Spotify says is a “stunningly realistic voice.”
The idea, explains the company, is for Spotify to get to know users so well that the DJ can choose what to play for you when you hit the button. Or, as Spotify says, it’s putting an “AI DJ in your pocket.”
More broadly, the feature has the potential to turn Spotify into a lean-back, passive experience for those times users don’t feel like dictating to Spotify what to stream next or fumbling around with its interface to find a playlist they like.
The OpenAI-powered feature is still in beta testing as of the time of today’s launch and is only available in English for Spotify Premium subscribers in the U.S. and Canada for the time being.
For years, Spotify has led the market with its personalization technology, launching its flagship playlist Discover Weekly back in 2015 to immediate success. This was then followed by a number of other playlists designed to cater to the end user’s unique preferences, including Release Radar, Daily Mixes, Your Time Capsule, Blend and those aimed at specific activities, like commuting or working out, among other things. In more recent years, Spotify has also become a trendsetter with its personalized annual review, Spotify Wrapped, which has since been copycatted by its rivals.
With the wider technology market now focused on new ways to leverage AI advances, it was only a matter of time before Spotify rolled out its own take on how modern AI could be used to improve its personalization experience.
Read the rest of this article at: Tech Crunch