from the world's big
Andre Dubus III is an American writer of fiction and memoir. His 1999 novel House of Sand and Fog lounged for 20 weeks on The New York Times’s Bestseller List in 2000 and 2001 and became a feature film in 2003. His 2008, based-on-real-events novel The Garden of Last Days explores the final days of one of the 9/11 terrorists, who chose to spend them indulging in the sins of the West. His 2012 memoir Townie is a profound meditation on the nature of violence. Born in 1959, Dubus obtained his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas. Before succeeding as a writer, he worked odd jobs as a carpenter, bounty hunter, and bartender.
Question: What are your favorite books to teach?
Andre Dubus III: There are a few. You know one that I just really love, and I don't think people talk about it enough, is Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises. It's a gorgeous book. You know, my God. I think it's just so beautifully written and so honest and so emotionally naked and in some ways it's one of his best books and it's one of his very first. You know, a lot of-- it's interesting, a lot of young writers I've noticed have a hard time with conflict, they bring in a lot of guns and action and you know, over the top conflict, which is understandable, that's out in the world. But I try to tell them that trouble is right there, you know, a quarter inch beneath the surface of everybody. So what I love about that novel is the main character is young, his penis has been blown off but he still has his testicles and all of his feelings, all of his sexual drive and he's in love with the most beautiful woman in Paris and she's screwing all of his friends. What more do you have to work with? Isn't it-- I'm going to go re-read it. And it has one of the best last lines in literature, I think, remember the last line? She says, "Oh, Jake, we could have had such a fine time." And his line is, "Yes, isn't it pretty to think so." Oh. Oh.
Question: Does a good story need trouble?
Andre Dubus III: I think so. I don't think you need a lot of trouble. I think some of my earlier writing has got a little too much trouble in it. Although I was writing from the point of view of people who committed violent crimes and what not. I think that if you try to write character-driven fiction, which I try to do, you know, if you have a three dimensional human being and you put him or her in a real landscape, and you let him or her engage with the people in their lives, trouble's going to be there. But yeah, you don't have a story without it. I know in writing classes we use the word conflict, but I think that's overdone. Because I think kids take it too literally and think they need something really major. No. Trouble. You know, here's trouble. You're on a date and you think your breath is bad. That's all you need. You know, you're in a job interview and you have to go to the bathroom. That's the only-- your full bladder is enough trouble in that scene. You can scrub the whole interview.
Question: Is it more difficult to write now that you have kids?
Andre Dubus III: No. Listen, man, there is nothing, nothing better, in my opinion, than having kids. And you know, I'm not a guy who thought about having kids when I didn't have kids. But now that I've had them, I just feel as if my life began after I became a father, really in a lot of ways, in a bigger spiritual way. But, yeah, there's less time, but my answer is you don't care. So what? Guess what? They're going to be-- you know, you're going to be driving them to games and dance concerts and school and back for a short little window and then you're going to wonder where they went. And I'm convinced, you know, if I live to be an old man, you never know what you have, I'm going to look back at these years with my kids as the best years of my life no matter what happens. So, yeah, sometimes it means less time at the desk, but so what? What they give you back is a thousand times greater than what you lose, in my opinion. And also, I'll say this, I think the act of being a mother or father has only got to deepen your writing about people. Because you really hit this-- well, you love harder and you fear loss more.
Recorded on: 6/11/08
New writers shy away from conflict, says author Andre Dubus, while the masters embrace it. And having kids helps.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.