- Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
- March 18
- Editor in Chief
- Talking Writing
- I am Editor in Chief of Talking Writing, an online literary magazine. I'm also a contributing editor at the Women's Review of Books and a freelance journalist in the Boston area. Martha on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Athenas_Head
(I cross-post most OS entries on my website Athena's Head. I am not paid a cent for any reviews or product references—these opinions are mine alone.)
MY RECENT POSTS
- The Power of Disappointment
August 06, 2012 04:26PM
- Introverts Are Always
Busy—and That’s a Good
July 07, 2012 11:52AM
- Serious Aliens! The Trouble
with Sci-Fi at the New Yorker
June 10, 2012 10:10AM
- My Crusade Against
June 07, 2012 08:59AM
- Why Travel?
May 21, 2012 12:32PM
MY RECENT COMMENTS
- “Alysa: You're so right
that Michael Phelps seemed
during much of the
August 08, 2012 11:21AM
- “Thanks, littlewillie. It
is a setup for disappointment,
I'm pretty sure
August 06, 2012 06:35PM
- “Thanks, Donegal D! Cain
emphasizes the strengths
introverts, although the
July 08, 2012 12:38PM
- “This is a terrific
piece, Jeremiah. Truly.”
July 06, 2012 10:43AM
- “Oh, this is terrific,
John. Loved it. That last line
like something from
June 28, 2012 05:05PM
Martha Nichols's Links
- MY LINKS
- MY LINKS
Watching the Summer Olympics, I’m enthralled by displays of incredible speed and endurance, by the gorgeous physicality. But the stories that really hook me are those of this summer’s losers.
Take U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney’s failure to win a gold medal on the vault. She was the… Read full post »
Americans are such obsessive doers that every trend article about how busy we are ends up shoving readers against a wall. We’re tagged as (1) frantic jugglers or (2) bored retirees and empty nesters or (3) energetic sixty- and seventy-year-olds embarked on a "meaningful" second career.
In his N… Read full post »
Let me tell you a story of doomsday predictions and ecstatic hope and disappointment spiraling into a black hole. Let me describe the emotional ride I took when I first learned the New Yorker would be publishing a science fiction issue.
When the email announcement arrived in my… Read full post »
First off, it’s clear that I don’t practice what I’m about to preach. I have a ten-year-old son, failing parents who live across the country, an extroverted husband who juggles more than I do. Of course I multitask. Did I mention that I run an online magazine? I have to multitask… Read full post »
When I started college, I took a plane from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon—Alaska Airlines! how exotic! how great!
As soon as I fastened my seatbelt, I burst into tears. Some of my high school friends had seen me off at the gate, along with my parents and brother. I’d been… Read full post »
Shopping malls in Singapore are ubiquitous, inescapable. They insinuate themselves into every level of your being, from the glam marvels of Ion Orchard and Ngee Ann City to the humbler open-arcade affairs that surround even outlying subway stations.
I’ve always hated shopping malls in Ameri… Read full post »
I know how easy it is to be seduced. I've been in Singapore for three weeks now, and it still conjures all sorts of exotic imagery: heat, jungle, monkeys, pith helmets, temples. There are also the more modern extremes of skyscrapers and food courts—the delights of chili crab and air-conditioned… Read full post »
A few mornings ago, here's what I read over breakfast in the local paper:
[C]ompared to the older generation..., young adults would rather stick to something that they are familiar with and can handle than take up new challenges. They also lack the tenacity to weather tough times—such as… Read full post »
There’s no doubt that Joan Didion is a lightning rod for
women writers of my generation. In fact, she’s been a skinny
pole defying the whole big thundering sky of publishing and
journalism for the past five decades.
With Didion, you love her or you hate her or you have decidedly mixed… Read full post »
My son has reached an age when he loves to get my goat. Take the
word “balls” and what a nine-year-old boy can get up to
with a Christmas tree:
“Look at these balls!” He holds up two red ornaments.
“Yep. Those are balls,” I say.
“Let’s hang the balls on th… Read full post »
I'm not a foodie; it's hard to be when you're a vegetarian who learned how to cook in the 1970s. But my husband loves fine dining, so we've gone to restaurants run by celebrity chefs like Ming Tsai. We’ve imbibed a “Tomato Martini.” We’ve eaten copious amounts of shaved truffl… Read full post »
A gay dad sits at the dining-room table, making a scrapbook about baby Lily's adoption. A tiny conical hat perches on his head. It's all the funnier because this dad—ex-college-football player Cameron—is so large.
"Look at this." Cameron reverently holds up the hat.
"Oh my God!" cries Mit… Read full post »
Ever since Steve Jobs died last week, I've been thinking about what it means or why everyone is so convinced he was a brilliant executive.
Of course Jobs was a gifted, creative man. It's terrible when anyone with a family and thriving business is cut down in his… Read full post »
It used to be my favorite magazine. It was the one I first subscribed to when I landed a real job after college.* It had rock-and roll stars on its covers, all the stuff that mattered to outlaw me—or the me who fell squarely into the demographic Rolling Stone targeted in… Read full post »
Magazine titles are designed to push buttons. In “Is
College Over?,” writer Janelle Nanos addresses many
troubling issues at universities today: skyrocketing tuition costs,
the burden of increasing student debt, and whether college teachers
are adequately qualified to teach.
Yet at best, t… Read full post »
My family and I had traversed the Galata Bridge in a taxi at 3 a.m. on the way to Atatürk Airport. My nine-year-old had looked out at the glowing mosques and bridges over the Bosphorus with drooping eyelids. Many hours later, I wasn’t just jetlagged; I was shocked by the flat… Read full post »
It hit me suddenly on Mother’s Day. My son and husband brought me breakfast in bed and a vase of roses. My nine-year-old son made biscuits, one shaped like a heart. My husband brought me a bowl of malted milk balls with my morning coffee. On this day of days, I… Read full post »
I slept poorly last night, dear child. I didn’t hear the news until this morning, after I had drifted asleep to a dawn chorus of birds on our living room couch. I didn’t know what had happened. But something kept me up and anxious, almost like a ghost bird, pecking at… Read full post »
On a Saturday in late February, mounds of dirty snow clutter the curbs, but the sky overhead is wind-swept blue. My son and I cross the park to the Cambridge Public Library Main Branch, a glittering temple of glass.
The boy is doing zigzags; at nine years old,… Read full post »
For the record, writer's block is no fun. I've struggled with it many times, especially while wrangling a two-year-old, wondering if my true calling was folding laundry or making organic porridge.
But although I’ve complained about writer’s block to all who would listen, I've never sought… Read full post »
I was ten or eleven when I first read Alice in Wonderland. I was sick in bed, feverish, and the used paperback copy my father had given me felt like a desperate choice. There on the cover was the Mad Hatter and a creepy bunny with a pocket watch. Still, I… Read full post »
I am not a member of the Composure Class, journalist David Brooks’s term for young achievers with perfect hair and teeth. An example of the type meets his mate, writes Brooks, “at the Clinton Global Initiative, where they happened to be wearing the same Doctors Without Borders support bra… Read full post »
On a recent Sunday morning, I found my son asleep on our big
purple couch, his latest Bionicle inches from his nose. He’d
clearly been staring at it before he dozed off.
What was he was imagining about that fierce, reticulated monster? Did he picture himself doing battle, another armored warrio… Read full post »
In the 1960s, my father was handsome, lean and dark-haired, like Gregory Peck, my mother used to say.
He was the professor who took student demands at his college to the administration—too old to be a protester himself but young enough to believe in change. He was indeed Gregory Peck as… Read full post »
On a recent morning at Logan Airport, I saw Cher, in a black leotard and fishnet stockings, gracing the cover of Vanity Fair.
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