Daniel Menaker

“The Kazekevich Oeuvre”

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Here is a note to me from Michael Arlen, at one good point The New Yorker‘s television critic and author of wonderful books. It was written in 1980, when I was a fiction editor. It was written at a time when the ads were plentiful, the staff somewhat bloated with graying haints, and we had time to mess around.  I’ve changed the names, but the hilarity and desperation bred by personal but unsolicited submissions remain undiluted.

Dear Dan,

There is a foolish person by name of Igor Kazekevich who lives in Portugal (fortunately) & claims to be a friend of my family’s & who sends me stories I politely decline on the part of the magazine (on account of their foolishness), but who now apparently feels that I am standing in his way, preventing greater intimacy and cutting down on story sales with the Editorial staff & so, short of sending him a letter-bomb myself or even telling him to go away, I have taken the coward’s way out & told him to send his foolish stories to D. Menaker, Esq.  Thanks a lot, you say. Yes, I know. I agree. But think of it this way. He’s not, at least, a friend of your family’s–though, come to think of it, there’s always that possibility & perhaps he & you will hit it off famously, he will come over from Portugal & have Thanksgiving dinners & so on.  Also, you have a secretary, or certainly should have one or maybe two, if the people here are treating you right, & she can handle the Kazekevich correspondence without your even knowing about it. Also, possibly I am dead wrong about the Kazekevich oeuvre (a word he is unfortunately fond of using) & he and you, quite aside from Thanksgiving dinners, will form one of those Maxwell Perkins-Tom Wolfe bonds (or was it Fitzgerald?)—- People will say, “Kazekevich was nothing, unknown outside of Portugal (and of course Arlen’s family) until Menaker took him over.” So, think of it as my loss & your gain.

Regards,
Michael Arlen

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TED Talk

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I did this TED Jr. talk at Stony Brook University–

Forgot to use what was probably the best part, which was a way of showing that a word’s derivations, its history, is always inside the word. Here’s the TV ad that sums up the idea.

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Fall Writers Speak Series UPDATE

Monday, August 19, 2013

This post is an update of my last post about the free public conversations the Stony Brook MFA program is offering in conjunction with the class I’m teaching this fall.  Dates have changed slightly.

From Stony Brook Manhattan:

This Fall’s Manhattan Writers Speak series will be an open classroom, an extension of the Monday evening course “The Uses of Affliction: Reading & Writing Illness” with Daniel Menaker and Magdalene Brandeis.  All guests and discussions will be linked around a common theme: Illness in fiction, Illness in non-fiction, Illness in the culture, and the new emerging theme of Narrative Medicine.

These free public conversations will take place at 7 o’clock at
Stony Brook Manhattan
101-113 East 27th Street, 3rd Floor
New York NY

Monday, September 23
Susan Minot, author of Evening, in conversation with Daniel Menaker

Monday, October 14
Katherine Bouton, author of Shouting Won’t Help, in conversation with Daniel Menaker

Monday, October 21
Robin Henig, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, in conversation with Daniel Menaker

Monday, October 28
Rita Charon, Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, in conversation with Daniel Menaker

Monday, November 18
Fenton Johnson, author of Geography of the Heart, in conversation with Daniel Menaker

All events free and open to the public.
To RSVP, please send email to MFAManhattan@stonybrook.edu

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Fall Writers Speak Series at Stony Brook Manhattan

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Graves’ disease, type 2 diabetes, lung cancer. I won’t give you the full rendition of what I call an “organ recital,” but I will say I’ve fought them all so far and so far am ahead. NO BLOODY JINX, AND I MEAN IT!! So who better to co-teach this course? It looks like “special guest tbd” will be Rita Charron (that second “r” in the last name is fortunate), head of Columbia University’s new course in Narrative Medicine.

Some have bruited about that free steroids will be given to all who attend. That isn’t true. It’s free stereos.

(NOTE: Some dates have changed–see here for the update.)

From Stony Brook Manhattan:

This Fall’s Manhattan Writers Speak series will be an open classroom, an extension of the Monday evening course “The Uses of Affliction: Reading & Writing Illness” with Daniel Menaker and Magdalene Brandeis.  All guests and discussions will be linked around a common theme: Illness in fiction, Illness in non-fiction, Illness in the culture, and the new emerging theme of Narrative Medicine.

These free public conversations will take place at 7 o’clock at
Stony Brook Manhattan
101-113 East 27th Street, 3rd Floor
New York NY

Monday, September 23
Writing Affliction: Author Susan Minot in conversation with Daniel Menaker. (DM: This one’s about … about, um … Let me check. Oh, yeah–dementia, based partly on Minot’s wonderful novel Evening.)

Monday, October 14
Writing Affliction: Katherine Bouton, Shouting Won’t Help  (DM: About hearing loss.  Katherine is my wife.  I wanted the title to be “Say Again?” Mull it over.)

Monday, October 28 or November 4
Special Guest tbd in conversation with Daniel Menaker  (DM–see actual post, above.)

Monday, November 18
Writing Affliction: Author Fenton Johnson, Geography of the Heart in conversation with Daniel Menaker  (DM–I’ll be learning about this, too)

Not included but definite and extremely timely: Robin Marantz Henig, a highly accomplished science writer, with a riveting piece about end-of-life decisions in the New York Times Magazine recently, will also be a guest on one of the other Monday evenings in the fall.

All events free and open to the public.
To RSVP, please send email to MFAManhattan@stonybrook.edu

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