Fogging Lit Crit: Tale of Two Critics

Kate Lewis Hood and Niki Holzapfel | 3 April 2017.

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ‘prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.

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Felicitous

Niki Holzapfel | 6 March 2017

“I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl, but I didn’t want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn’t realize then that it’s the same impulse. It’s make-believe. It’s performance. The only difference being that a writer can do it all alone” -Joan Didion, The Paris Review, 1978

I was once in a class with someone who referred to Joan Didion lovingly as “Joan” and spoke of her with the utmost reverence. Rightfully so; the quote above—to me, at least—is brilliant. Writing creatively gives me narratives other than my own to consider. Not a unique conclusion, I realize, but one that makes the act of writing so attractive, so much more than a hobby to mock, so freeing.

The following piece was written when a number of narratives competed in my mind—when make-believe made the most sense.

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Between Two Coasts with Alexander Payne

Niki Holzapfel | 9th January 2017.

“Hey, partner,” says a police officer after pulling over and approaching a man walking by the side of the road. He asks where the man is headed. The man points in front of him. He asks where the man was coming from. The man points behind him.

So begins the 2013 film Nebraska, nominee of six Academy Awards and winner of none. Alexander Payne’s fourth film about his (and my) home state, Nebraska earned recognition for a variety of reasons: the representation of small Plains towns, the performances by Bruce Dern and June Squibb and a cast of unknowns, the simple storyline of a father and son’s strained relationship.

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99 Problems, Old Sport: The Meeting of Two Jays

June 27, 2016 | Niki Holzapfel

In 2013, when Baz Luhrmann released his adaptation of The Great Gatsby, more than a few people scratched their heads at his choice of soundtrack. Produced by Jay-Z, the album features rap, Fergie, and a U2 cover. Most of it sounds nothing like the 1920s. It led one writer for the music site Noisey to ask, “Who Let The Great Gatsby Soundtrack Happen?”

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