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K…and also for cos, cosse, and cus––the Old English and Middle English expressions that are the etymological origins that lead up to a word and an activity that most of us are very fond of.

“Yit wol he stele a cuss or tuo.”-John Gower, Confessio Amantis

Even if we are unfamiliar with the author, Gower’s 1390 meaning is recognizable. Samuel Coleridge’s sentiment in Ode to Sara (1797) is even clearer: “Can danger lurk within a kiss?” Neither were referring to another definition of kiss–the kiss of peace used in rituals of the primitive church.

So why am I talking about kisses? Because kiss is a more appetizing word than kick-box or knuckle or any of the other K words that came to mind and because of Isaac Fitzgerald, an editor at Buzzfeed. (See links to interviews in The New Yorker and The Rumpus below.)

Buzzfeed is the splashy online publication that gets 80 million views per month, more than the New York Times. Buzzfeed is trendy, but has a solid global news team and  effectively tailors its articles for about a jillion platforms.

Fitzgerald was the token extrovert on “Networking for Introverts,” a panel at the recent AWP (Association of Writers and Writers Programs) conference in L.A. “I live out loud,” he said, advising writers to “Do anything that gets you out of yourself. Get out of the fetal position. Get yourself on the page. Collect people. Be excellent. Be quick and be gone.”

He had the most energy, the best sense of humor of all the panelists. As I sat and listened to his comments during the panel, I skimmed the New Yorker interview below.  I liked his approach to book reviewing: “Why waste breath talking smack about something…the overwhelming online books community is a positive place.”

I signed up for his tweets and then I uncurled myself from my fetal position in my chair, at the back of the lecture hall, trudged tentatively up to the front, and asked if I could take a picture of him?

“Sure,” he said, “but why don’t you be in it? Here,” he said, handing my phone to the nearest person, “take this picture, wouldja?”



Interviews with Isaac Fitzgerald