"Like most writers I am deeply fascinated with the human condition. I like to ask my students to define the human condition. They have all sorts of intelligent things to say about it, better answers than I could come up with most of the time. Then I draw a stick figure on the board and put an X through it. This is the human condition. That we will end and we don’t know when or how. Everything we do, I think, revolves around this reality though we pretend otherwise."
The Mouth of the River: Fragmented — My Writing Process Blog Tour
These words belong to my dear friend, Emily Casey. She is a wondrous human being.
"And we can’t really share the lowlights, at least not most of them. I’m not going to tell you when a story is rejected, because I don’t want you to doubt my work. I won’t tell you that the panel I did was horrible, and everyone on it was a jerk, and the guy next to me put his hand on my leg. I’m not going to tell you if I’m afraid my new novel is a disaster. I’m not going to tell you if I get eviscerated in Publisher’s Weekly. Everything is peaches and sunshine. Sunny peaches. Peachy suns. Because if you believe my book is amazing, maybe you’ll order it. And I can earn enough money to buy food."
Writers You Want to Punch in the Face(book) | Ploughshares
This is a hilarious post about writing and social media.
Thanks to my talented fiction writing buddy Ben Woodard (@woodardwriter) for tagging me in this blog tour. Read his awesome response here.
1. What are you working on?
I work part time as a blogger and journalist, but I’m not going to focus on that here. Creatively, I am finishing up a novel-in-stories called “Joy, Somewhere in the City.” It’s the story of a group of people reacting in various ways to a single tragedy, the death of a young actress. You can read some of it here and some of it here.
Right now some people who have a greater perspective than I do are reading my manuscript. I am waiting for feedback and amusing myself by playing around with some short fiction entirely unrelated and also writing a new chapter in the form of a two-act play. I’m deciding whether the play should be written by me, the author, or I should turn it into a fictional play written by one of my characters, with all the players loosely based on other characters from my novel—or would that be too meta? Such are my current writing dilemmas.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I think my premise, which keeps the voice of the central (deceased) character totally inaccessible, is challenging and exciting, but my work’s language and concepts are meant to be really resonant and accessible. I favor that combination of experimental and direct.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Writing is a continuation of the imaginative play that was central to my inner and outer life as a child, combined with an attempt to make some kind of sense of a senseless adult world.
Also, I get cranky when I don’t write.
4. What is your writing process?
My writing process involves holding the kernel of an idea in my heard for days, even weeks. My best inspiration comes while out walking or when I’m waiting to fall asleep, both of which are inconvenient times. When I finally commit my ideas to paper, I tend to think they’re genius and then I recognize that they’re crap and edit and revise obsessively for weeks, months, years.
Next Up: @chaneldubofsky, a talented comrade in both fiction and feminism, who blogs stunningly at idiverge.wordpress.com
"I spent years thinking, you know, if I could just get one piece of writing published, I will die happy. Then I got one piece of writing published and I thought, oh, what I would really like to do is get a piece of writing published at the New Yorker. And then I got a piece of writing published at the New Yorker, and I thought, I would like to write a book. And then I sold a book to a publisher, and I thought, I hope this book sells well. I hope that I achieve some measure of cultural success. And then I read accounts like Emily’s and realize, that wheel just keeps on turning regardless. Nobody’s fully successful, and no one’s fully a failure. We’re all just doing the best we can to survive in an economy that hates writers, and in fact hates pretty much everyone. There’s a level on which just continuing to try is sort of heroic."
The Futility of Chasing a “Successful” Writing Career – Flavorwire
Michelle Dean on literary success. This sums up so much, ladies and gentlemen. So much.