This Week in Words – Jun 30

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

It’s summer! All around the lit community, submission doors are closing (presumably because this is the one chance writers/editors have all year to climb out of our dark holes and see the sun). But, fear not! Like actual treehouses, our doors are staying open all summer long! In addition to all genres, Treehouse wants to see what you think we should read. Our ongoing “5 Things” series is now open to the public. Same general submission guidelines apply.

Nora Ephron
From the time I was old enough to understand that relationships between men and women were capable of being hilarious and complicated, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle have easily been counted among my favorite movies. In addition to her screen credits, Nora Ephron has been an incomparable author and essayist. A few years ago, one night when I couldn’t sleep, I plucked I Feel Bad about My Neck from my mother’s bookshelf, and I never gave it back. It’s a candid, laugh-out-loud account of the downsides of getting older, processes I’m only marginally able to comprehend. The experiences she details are out of my reach, but Nora’s writing is impossible not to find intimate and personable. Gail Collins wrote this week in The New York Times that Nora Ephron was the target of a “Normandy Invasion of friendship,” undoubtedly because her writing invites people to feel as if they knew her personally. The New York Times has made available a selection of Op-Eds Nora wrote for the newspaper throughout her career as a writer (accessible from the sidebar of the article linked above). Nora Ephron took her leave this week at the age of 71, after suffering complications from leukemia. I am not the only one who didn’t know her personally, but certainly still feels a bit like they lost a friend.

Interview of the Week
A writer friend of mine shared with me the link to an article in The Guardian this week. The article consists of an interview with 20-year-old German author Helene Hegemann. Hegemann achieved critical acclaim with her first novel Axolotl Roadkill at the age of 17. Shortly after she reached the pinnacle of literary celebrity, a blogger discovered that parts of the novel (according to Hegemann, 14 sentences of it) were stolen from a previously published, lesser known book called Strobo. Before her novel was published, Hegemann was a playwright and prize-winning filmmaker; her talent is clearly not easily discredited. But in the face of the drama surrounding this novel and the accusations of plagiarism – which Hegemann did not attempt to deny, even if she could have – Hegemann has remained unperturbed. Kate Connelly, the article’s author, calls Hegemann “apologetic but only to a point.” She admits to taking the sentences and modifying them, but passively argues that such behavior doesn’t nullify the entire book. Furthermore, she explains that the part she stole was not original to that author, and she traces the chain of information. Impressively, Hegemann’s defense is and always has been: “There’s no such thing as originality, just authenticity.”

Reading Raining from the Sky
This week, London was the site of Casagrande’s “Rain of Poems” event. In bookmark form, 100,000 poems by some 300 poets (including one from each of the 204 Olympic nations) were dropped over Jubilee Gardens on Tuesday as part of Poetry Parnassus, one of the UK’s largest poetry festivals. No poem was left behind, and Casagrande explains that people pick them up and exchange them, keeping them from becoming litter in the gardens. London is the sixth city to host Rain of Poems, which Casagrande calls “one of the most visually stunning displays of aeronautical poetry ever seen.” My question is: What other displays of aeronautical poetry are there and where can I find them?