Melanie Figueroa

Melanie is the Editor in Chief at The Poetics Project. Having earned a masters in writing and book publishing from Portland State University and gained experience as an in-house editor, she now works as a freelance editor and writer. Her favorite book is The Bell Jar. You can follow Melanie on Twitter or Instagram @wellmelsbells.

Melanie is the Editor in Chief at The Poetics Project. Having earned a masters in writing and book publishing from Portland State University and gained experience as an in-house editor, she now works as a freelance editor and writer. Her favorite book is The Bell Jar. You can follow Melanie on Twitter or Instagram @wellmelsbells.

Who & Whom: Does it Matter Anymore?

I don’t use the word whom when I write. For a long time, I didn’t understand the difference between whom and who, so I stuck with what I knew. It seemed to work. None of my teachers in K-12 ever pointed out the mistake, and neither did my professors in college. In fact, it wasn’t until my senior year at CSULB that I finally felt I had a firm grasp on the two words. In English Grammar, I learned that the easiest way to remember the difference between whom and who is to replace whom with him or her and to replace who with he or she. For example:

We all know who/whom ate the last piece of cake.

Which sounds better?

We all know him/her ate the last piece of cake.

Or

We all know he/she ate the last piece of cake.

Well, the second one of course, which is how we know that who ate the last piece of cake is correct. Yet, knowing the correct word usage hasn’t made me include the word whom in my writing any more than before.

The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats II

(Credit: buzzfeed.com)
(Credit: buzzfeed.com)

About a month ago, I wrote a post on William Carlos Williams and the writer’s relationship with his cats. While researching the piece, I discovered that many writers had (and still do have) cat muses. The list, in fact, is so long that I am under the impression now that in order to really call yourself a writer, you have to adopt a furry feline.

Hemingway’s house in Key West is crawling with over 50 of his six-toed, polydactyl, cats, which tourists travel from all over the world to take a close look at. The Sun Also Rises author fell in love with his first polydactyl cat, Snowball, while traveling in Cuba. Hemingway felt that cats have “absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” While Hemingway’s cats are now infamous, other writers and their cats may be less known.

Good Literature: What is it?

Being an English major, the conversation of what good literature actually is has come up on more than one occasion.

If you look up the word literature, you’ll find many definitions, the most basic being that literature is the art of written language. Yet, you don’t find most people discussing the latest Dan Brown or Jodi Picoult novel and calling the piece literature. Now, before anyone gets offended, I don’t mean to say these novels aren’t entertaining or enjoyable, but there are many who would argue that these authors and their novels are not on the same level as, say, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Twain (and the list goes on).

Kerouac’s Stamp Addiction and McCarthy in Drag: Literary Gossip at its Best

Did you know…

Jack Kerouac was addicted to licking stamps.

Cormac McCarthy dresses up as “sexy Betsy Ross” on Halloween every year.

The above  rumors were found on Vice.com‘s list of one hundred literary rumors. While reading them, I, of course, laughed, but I also wondered how these rumors began and whether or not there was any truth to them, because for the life of me, I can’t get the image of Kerouac, hair a mess and eyes blood shot, writing On The Road on a stamp-induced high out of my mind. Below are some more interesting, literary rumors from Vice’s list:

Gertrude Stein was on the payroll of the New York Mets.

Virginia Woolf passed the bar exam in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Maine.

J. K. Rowling lost all the money she earned from the first four books of Harry Potter due to slot-machine addiction.

Image from Collider.com
J.K. Rowling (image from Collider.com)

That’s So Chocolate Bar: How a Book is Helping Fund Research to Cure a Rare Disease

When 6 year old Dylan Siegel wrote the book Chocolate Bar and then single handedly pushed for his parents to self-publish it, it was well received by the public, earning over $92,000 and landing him multiple book signings and interviews. So what’s the story behind Chocolate Bar‘s success?

Dylan, right, and his best friend Jonah, left
Dylan (right) and his best friend Jonah (left)

Dylan wrote the book to raise money for his 7 year old best friend, Jonah Pournazarian, who has a rare liver disease, glycogen storage disease.

“My goal is to raise a million dollars!” Dylan told TODAY.com. “Then I think I’ll make a whole series of Chocolate Bar books so I can raise money for different diseases.”

Graffiti: Bringing Literature to the Streets

Great literature can inspire various forms of art, including the kind that paints our streets: graffiti. Graffiti is generally illegal in the United States, unless it is done in cities with walls designated for such a purpose. However, the drawings left on these walls are often painted over by other artists due to the limited space. Because it is illegal, graffiti writers often go through great lengths to leave their artwork on a public wall, often making political statements in the process.

Below are a few examples of literary graffiti around the world. Which one’s your favorite?

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince

The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats

Writers have been said to be solitary beings, which may provide insight into why so many writers seem to choose cats as their companions, rather than man’s best friend. Cats aren’t pack animals, meaning they don’t feel the need to do what anyone else wants them to do. And they have large, peculiar personalities, which can also be said of writers.

When I began researching this curious relationship between writers and cats, I stumbled upon a poem written by William Carlos Williams:

As the Cat

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot