This article is about the writer. For other people with the same name, see Joseph Mitchell.
Joseph Quincy Mitchell (July 27, 1908 – May 24, 1996) was an American writer best known for the work he published in The New Yorker. He is known for his carefully written portraits of eccentrics and people on the fringes of society, especially in and around New York City. He is also known for suffering from writer's block for several decades.
Mitchell was born on his maternal grandparents' farm near Fairmont, North Carolina, the son of Averette Nance and Elizabeth Amanda Parker Mitchell. He had five younger siblings; Jack, Elizabeth, Linda, Harry, and Laura. The family business was cotton and tobacco trading, and family money helped to support Mitchell throughout his life. Mitchell attended the University of North Carolina from 1925 to 1929.
Mitchell came to New York City in 1929, at the age of 21, with the ambition of becoming a political reporter. He worked for such newspapers as The World, the New York Herald Tribune, and the New York World-Telegram, at first covering crime and then doing interviews, profiles, and character sketches. In 1931, he took a break from journalism to work on a freighter that sailed to Leningrad and brought back pulp logs to New York City.
On February 27, 1932, he married Therese Jacobsen, a reporter and photographer. They had two daughters, Nora and Elizabeth. He returned to journalism later that year and continued to write for New York newspapers until he was hired by St. Clair McKelway at The New Yorker in 1938. He remained with the magazine until his death in 1996.
His book Up in the Old Hotel collects the best of his writing for The New Yorker, and his earlier book My Ears Are Bent collects the best of his early journalistic writing, which he omitted from Up in the Old Hotel.
Mitchell's last book was his empathetic account of the Greenwich Village street character and self-proclaimed historian Joe Gould's extravagantly disguised case of writer's block, published as Joe Gould's Secret (1964).
From 1964 until his death in 1996, Mitchell would go to work at his office on a daily basis, but he never published anything significant again. After he died, his colleague Roger Angell wrote:
Each morning, he stepped out of the elevator with a preoccupied air, nodded wordlessly if you were just coming down the hall, and closed himself in his office. He emerged at lunchtime, always wearing his natty brown fedora (in summer, a straw one) and a tan raincoat; an hour and a half later, he reversed the process, again closing the door. Not much typing was heard from within, and people who called on Joe reported that his desktop was empty of everything but paper and pencils. When the end of the day came, he went home. Sometimes, in the evening elevator, I heard him emit a small sigh, but he never complained, never explained.
Mitchell once remarked to Washington Post writer David Streitfeld, "You pick someone so close that, in fact, you are writing about yourself. Joe Gould had to leave home because he didn't fit in, the same way I had to leave home because I didn't fit in. Talking to Joe Gould all those years he became me in a way, if you see what I mean."
Mitchell served on the board of directors of the Gypsy Lore Society, was one of the founders of the South Street Seaport Museum, was involved with the Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture, and served five years on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. In August 1937, he placed third in a clam-eating tournament on Block Island by eating 84 cherrystone clams. He died of cancer at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan at the age of 87.
In 2008, The Library of America selected Mitchell’s story "Execution" for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.
The February 11, 2013 edition of The New Yorker includes a previously unpublished piece of Mitchell's entitled "Street Life: Becoming Part of the City."
A biography of Mitchell was published in 2015 by Thomas Kunkel titled Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker. Janet Malcolm, an acquaintance of Mitchell at The New Yorker, wrote a review in The New York Review of Books.
In popular culture
In 2000, Joe Gould's Secret, a feature film directed by Stanley Tucci and written by Howard A. Rodman, was released. It focuses on the relationship between Mitchell (played by Tucci) and Joe Gould (Ian Holm) during the 1940s.
Mitchell is portrayed in The Blackwell Series, an indie computer game series revolving around paranormal themes. In the second game of the series, the player encounters Mitchell during the prolonged writer's block of his later years. In the third game of the series, the player encounters ghosts of both Mitchell and Joe Gould.
Mitchell is referenced by the editor of the Baltimore Sun, Gus Haynes, in the last episode of the HBO drama "The Wire".
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Essays and reporting
- Thomas Kunkel: Man in Profile : Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker, New York, NY : Random House, 2015, ISBN 978-0-375-50890-5
- ^The New Yorker writer who didn't publish for 30 years BBC News feature and video 7 May 2015
- ^"Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker," Thomas Kunkel, p. 18
- ^Severo, Richard (25 May 1996). "Joseph Mitchell, Chronicler of the Unsung and the Unconventional, Dies at 87". The New York Times.
- ^New York, New York, Marriage Index, 1866-1937
- ^"Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker," Thomas Kunkel, p. 59
- ^"Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker," Thomas Kunkel, p. 328
- ^Weingarten, Marc (14 February 2010). "On the crime beat with St. Clair McKelway". Los Angeles Times.
- ^The New Yorker, June 10, 1996
- ^Newsday, August 27, 1992
- ^Mitchell, Joseph (11 February 2013). "Street Life". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. ISSN 0028-792X.
- ^Janet Malcolm (April 23, 2015). "The Master Writer of the City". New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
Joey Comeau (born September 26, 1980) is a Canadian writer. He is best known for writing the text of the webcomicA Softer World, and for his novels Lockpick Pornography and Overqualified.
Comeau's work is difficult to classify by genre. Of his eight books, two are comic collections, one is a "genderqueer adventure story", one is an experimental novel told through job application letters, two are collections of short stories, and two are horror. In 2003, Comeau co-created the webcomic A Softer World with Emily Horne. His first novel, Lockpick Pornography, was serialized on the A Softer World site prior to publication in book form by Loose Teeth Press. Excerpts from his novel Overqualified were included in the 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading. The first 20 chapters of his novel One Bloody Thing After Another were serialized on the National Post's book blog and the book was nominated for the 2010 Shirley Jackson Award.One Bloody Thing After Another was also nominated for the 2011 ReLit Awards.
In 2012 a sequel to Lockpick Pornography titled We All Got It Coming, was released for free on the Internet before being published together with the original in The Complete Lockpick Pornography.
His writing often includes themes such as homophobia, life after death, and realistic portrayals of sex. Many of his characters struggle with identity. This manifests as characters with fluid gender identities and sexual orientations as well as characters who put themselves in dangerous situations on purpose. Much of his work is sex positive, including descriptions of safe, consensual intercourse that are nonetheless very passionate. His collection of short stories, The Girl Who Couldn't Come is described as "a book where sex is fun and good and people are kind to each other."
He lists his influences as including Morley Callaghan, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tupac. There is a Tupac quotation at the beginning of Lockpick Pornography.
As well as the webcomic A Softer World, Joey Currently has several other ongoing online projects. Oh me Dort is a photo essay about his friend Maggie Dort. Pinball with my mom is a story (with accompanying photographs) that explores his views on his mother who is a hairdresser for television shows and movies.Me and my friend Ryan is a list of experiences Joey has had with friend and comic creator Ryan North. It also includes a poem he has written about their relationship. He is a fan of horror movies and also writes a blog about gender roles in horror movies called I'm Into Survival.
I am other people is a series of long form interviews he has conducted with people who are important to him. They include with Ryan North, Adrian Comeau (his brother), Helen Dewitt, Hamilton Chu, and Derek McCormack. The interviews are always accompanied by a picture, and are often very two sided, reading much like casual conversations and including many instances of the interviewees asking questions of Comeau.
In addition he maintains an active accounts on the social media platforms Twitter and tumblr. Many of his books are available to read for free online.
In 2013, Comeau and collaborator Emily Horne ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to publish the fourth print volume of A Softer World, titled Let's Do Something Wrong. The campaign raised over $78,000, on a goal of $25,000. The project was described as being "A book about dead moms, queers, sexy extremism and sad feelings. In photo comic form with words on the photos, like, over top of them!".
Comeau is openly queer, has a degree in linguistics, and is an avid chess player. He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has three younger brothers. One of them, Adrian Comeau, is also an artist.
- Lockpick Pornography (Loose Teeth, 2005)
- Truth and Beauty Bombs (A Softer World book 1) (Loose Teeth, 2006)
- It's Too Late To Say I'm Sorry (Loose Teeth, 2007)
- Overqualified (ECW, 2009)
- Second Best Isn't So Bad (A Softer World book 2) (Topatoco, 2009)
- One Bloody Thing After Another (ECW, 2010)
- Bible Camp Bloodbath (self published, 2010)
- The Girl Who Couldn't Come (self published, 2011)
- Everybody Gets Got (A Softer World book 3) (Topatoco, 2012)
- The Complete Lockpick Pornography (ECW, 2012)
- Bravest Warriors Vol. 1 (Comic series collection) (KaBOOM!, 2013)
- The Summer is Ended and We are Not Yet Saved (ChiZine, 2013)
- Let's Do Something Wrong (A Softer World book 4) (Topatoco, 2014)
- We Are Become Pals (Topatoco, 2013)
- Bravest Warriors Vol. 2 (Comic series collection) (KaBOOM!, 2014)
- Bravest Warriors Vol. 3 (Comic series collection) (KaBOOM!, 2014)
- Ninja-rella (Capstone Press, 2015)
- Overqualified 2: Overqualifieder (ECW, 2015)
- Anatomy of Melancholy (A Softer World Best-of collection) (Breadpig, 2016)
- Ben Size Fazlayım (Turkish translation of Overqualified) (Tefrika Yayınları, 2016)
- Lockpick Pornography (German translation) (Luftschacht, 2016)
- Surqualifié. Lettres à des sociétés sans visage (French Translation of Overqualified) (Mémoire d'encrier, 2017)
- Malagash (ECW, 2017)
- ^"One Bloody Thing After Another". National Post Ampersand, July 12, 2010.
- ^"2010 Shirley Jackson Award nominees". Shirley Jackson Awards, April 2011. Archived from the original on April 17, 2011.
- ^"2011 ReLit Award Shortlist". Relit Awards, August 26, 2011.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "We All Got IT Coming". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "The Girl who Couldn't Come". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "Bookslut Interview". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "I am other people – Hamilton Chu". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "Joey Comeau Twitter". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "Joseph Dreamboat Levitt". Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "Joey Comeau Home". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^ abComeau, Joey. "A Softer World 4 Kickstarter". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- ^Dupuis, Chris (March 15, 2006). "In Print: Joey Comeau". Xtra!. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- ^Comeau, Joey. "Blogger".
- ^Comeau, Joey. "I am other people – Adrian Comeau". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- A Softer World Comeau's webcomic, created with Emily Horne; also hosts some of Comeau's other work