Any writer who has felt the sting of rejection—that is, all writers—will be inspired by the story of Dick Wimmer, who has died at the age of 74. Over the course of 25 years, a total of 162 agents and publishers rejected Wimmer’s first novel, Irish Wine, before it was finally published by Mercury House in 1989. The New York Times called it a “taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel.” The L.A. Times invoked James Joyce in its review. Wimmer, the iron man of the rejection wars, went on to publish two sequels, Boyne’s Lassie and Hagar’s Dream (All three books are now available in a single volume from Soft Skull.) The moral of Wimmer’s story? Never give up.
Coincident with the release of her new novel, Marie-Helene Bertino published an excerpt in the latest issue of Granta. It features, among other things, a character using the phrase “better-him-than-me kind of park.” You could also read Bertino’s interview with Jessica Gross, which followed the publication of her debut book of short stories.
Earlier this week, our own Thomas Beckwith reported on the Hermione/Ron scandal. Now, Mallory Ortberg has penned Ron Weasley’s secret diary at The Toast. “I don’t want to die. I’ve never even seen a movie. Seventeen years old and I’ve never seen a movie and I still don’t know what math is.” No wonder why J.K. Rowling wanted Hermione to end up with Harry.
“Limits stop you from living a life without limits,” writes Augusten Burroughs. “Of course, this is only an illusion. What limits really do is give you an acceptable excuse to avoid doing something.” (He’s talking about life, not Oulipo.) The piece is excerpted from his recent book, This Is How.
The longest word in the English language is not antidisestablishmentarianism. Nor is it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It is, in fact, the chemical name of titin, the largest known protein. And now you can listen to all 189,819 letters of it being pronounced. Bonus points if you work it into your next conversation.
“The first sentence, itself described as a ‘decoy for attention’ in a 1930 story on the new art, is a lure within a lure, created in a new economy increasingly predicated on commercial diversification and instant appeal, in a book market that had never been so populated.” Electric Lit takes us through the history of the novel’s first sentence. Pair with our essay on the art of the opening sentence.