“As adults, we should hold each other’s work to high standards, and our own work to the highest of all. As writers, we shouldn’t settle for a single pale line. But before the poem is written, I say, we should lie to ourselves, the way we lied to that winded child. Before composition, we have to be gods.” Alex Chertok writes about literary pep talks for the Ploughshares blog.
The New Yorker has collected all the stories from its 20 under 40 series into a single, snappy volume, on sale now. Also out this week is the third volume of Edmund Morris’ biography of Teddy Roosevelt and a new literary foray by comedian Steve Martin, An Object of Beauty.
“I have a theory: the thing that makes you a unique writer hasn’t got so much to do with your influences as it does with how you became a writer in the first place. I think your preferences—your obsessions—come just as much from the first sorts of things you consumed and were passionate about. Whether that’s pop music, comics, “lowbrow” fiction, soap operas, or anything else, the thing that matters most is what started you writing stories.” Amber Sparks writes about “lowbrow” influences and the many paths to becoming a storyteller in an essay for Electric Literature.
The David Foster Wallace interview, Although of Course…, comes under the scrutiny of one of Wallace’s most attentive readers, in the NYRB.