In literature as in life, the rules are all too often different for girls. There are many instances where an unlikable man is billed as an anti-hero, earning a special term to explain those ways in which he deviates from the norm, the traditionally likable. Beginning with Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, the list is long. An unlikable man is inscrutably interesting, dark, or tormented but ultimately compelling even when he might behave in distasteful ways.

When women are unlikable, it becomes a point of obsession in critical conversations by professional and amateur critics alike. Why are these women daring to flaunt convention? Why aren’t they making themselves likable (and therefore acceptable) to polite society? In a Publisher’s Weekly interview with Claire Messud about her recent novel, which features a rather “unlikable” protagonist named Nora who is bitter, bereft, and downright angry about what her life has become, the interviewer said, “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” And there we have it. A reader was here to make friends with the characters in a book and she didn’t like what she found.

Messud, for her part, had a sharp response for her interviewer. “For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t ‘Is this a potential friend for me?’ but ‘Is this character alive?’”

Roxane Gay, “Not Here to Make Friends” (via ldiote)


Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, a remake of this post. Source.

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Here’s a grand masterlist of crime-related resources. This list is organized into categories, so it is recommended that you take advantage of the CTRL+F function on your keyboard. Let me know if something is amiss, if you have a crime-related post and want it added to this list, or if you want a category added.

WARNING: Links under the cut are not labeled with trigger warnings for images, titles, or mentions of triggering subjects. Please be careful.

This will be updated every time I hoard more links. Last Update: 6/5/14.

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That awkward moment in a writer’s life when you have the urge to email a tiny country store in Vermont to ask whether or not they sell paprika

I’m gonna do it I’m gonna email them


I did the thing



We Forget


by Kathleen Chaney

So saliently I sense
The piercing of my own heart
That my mind lapses and
Over the trials of others

I forget that it’s not
That suffocates under the
Grip of isolation
It’s not just I who
Gags on the
Sour twinge of rejection

My brothers
Have been kicked out of their hearts
And wander in the wastelands of their minds
My sisters
Reside in their hearts as they’re breaking
And let their woe bleed out
In silence

My friends
We all shuffle
Instead of face one another
With our affliction
Because we forget
We’re all afflicted

But healing only comes
Under the synthesis
Of many minds
Of many hands



by Emily Farris

I was twenty when I saw my first dead man. Of course, I’ve seen many more since then, but he was the first. I think I never would have decided on my course in life if not for that man. I suppose saying he was the first dead man I saw isn’t completely accurate. My grandfather died when I was young and I saw him in the casket, but this man, this man was the first I saw die. He was getting off a Greyhound bus that had come all the way from Boston. It was raining, October. I was on fall break and had just changed my major for the fourth time. I’d decided to give history a try. I was a silly child.

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Advanced Directive: Proceed With Caution


by Morgan Szymczak

“Do you have a living will,
An advanced directive?
Would you like to establish one?”
Jarring questions
At the ripe age of
Collegiate, pensive, scholar,
Wife, friend, daughter.
If I may,
I would advance
As I am,
Clasping hands with my
Pre-established direction.
And yet, here’s this question.
In the midst of life,
This question of life
But then, a greater question emerges.
At what point will I stop
Maybe if I can take
One more test,
I can prevent the inevitable.
I can scream ‘til red
That I will know
When the time comes.
But even in that moment,
This question will come
Barging in between
Who and where I am.

Why Black Boys Wear Hoods


by Malachi Carter

Don’t you step to me, lest you be wanting me to unleash the hungry beast that eats with no discrepancy
How dare you stare at me with a judging pair of beams
that shoot disproof right through my brute scaring means
I see you tryna measure me
But I got a three-by-five-inch for ya’ in my pocket
Cocked it, ready to unlock it from the locket of my treasury
Putting all my bets on the table in the presence of my enemy
The stakes are raised and I’m not backing down when the fare is ahead of me
I won’t let you get the best of me
You should be scared of me

…because I’m scared of you
Thinking to myself, What if you’re thinking the same thing too?

I throw my hood up in shame to cover my insecurities
Conceal my identity
Hero or villain?
When I was younger, I’d pretend that I was Jedi
But the more my anger burned, I’d turn to the dark side of the force
that holds my head in place, and obscures my vision
So I’ll block yours
Because I don’t want you to see me, what’s in the back of my head—
the only part of my body that a mirror won’t reveal to me
So this is my veil of humility
My hair frizzes from humidity
And if it’s low-cut, I’ll clothe my nudity
Because it’s cold in these streets
I need it to warm me
Metallic droplets falling overhead without warning
To me, it’s always storming
And I don’t own an umbrella
But the rain still falls on my face, masking my tears

And when it’s hot outside, we stay cool
Or at least we look cool
We remain in the shadow of our former form, a brood of black ghouls
that haunt and flaunt and taunt and daunt because they want:
Peace between the living and the dead
Peace with whatever lies blindsided behind them
Peace with what surrounds them
Peace with themselves

So this is our asylum
Our hiding place
Our invisible cloak as you approach
And walk by without a word with your head hung in fear
So I can too
Because without this hood, you’ll see that I’m just like you
and that glock in my pocket was actually my hand holding Pop-tarts