Popula articles are always charming, like peeping into someone’s diary. Life Drawing with Arthur is one of those reads that illustrates this: with barely a writerly flourish, the story – I’m hesitant to write it off as a story, because isn’t it the kind that you tell someone over beer – is just about meeting someone twice one’s age on a sketching class. There are spare descriptions and a loosely structured, very casually written prose. No conceit, no drama, no frills – it’s as real as life itself.
Then there is the almost-drunken haze that Lauren Collins wrote Alias in New Yorker’s Talk of the Town (March 16, 2015 issue) which starts off with an accident at the infamous SoHo restaurant Balthazar, to Bill Clinton’s daughter Chelsea, to a random person who was charged of Making a False Declaration for telling his nickname as he was arrested. The single thread that coheres all these is the idea of a nom de plume and the odd or fancy names and the otherworldly reasons why people – oftentimes famous – use them. It’s a rollercoaster ride, with paragraphs ideally far apart as taught in writing classes, now bundled together to whimsical effect.