Here’s a year-end series with some sharp teeth. In the spirit of The Partisan Review‘s provocative questionnaire from 1939, Full Stop is asking dozens of writers “specifically political questions”. The series began yesterday with Marilynne Robinson.
“Part of what I realize now I was doing in Proxies was to integrate the incongruous aspects of my self: the child of the truck driver and Primitive Baptist self, the queer intellectual poet self, the professor without an office self, the prizewinner who was ‘midcareer’ before he was ’emerging,’ the middle-aged man at the entry-level rungs of the gig economy.” Go check out this interview with Brian Blanchfield over at The Rumpus. This is the second Blanchfield interview we’ve told you about, both worth taking a look.
“In publishing, we see this play out in a number of ways. Marginalized writers are told by white editors, we need your stories now more than ever, as if we have not always needed them urgently. We are told our experiences are timely, exotic, and trendy. We are told our stories are not authentic if our characters do not suffer, as if the only way to prove that we are human is to bleed.” Natalia Sylvester on the erasure that comes when marginalized writers are constantly being told by the publishing industry and others that your book about your marginalized identity is ‘timely’.
“In eleven years, I’ve written four books: three novels and one story collection. Only the story collection has ever seen the light of day; the first two novels, including my thesis, were never published and the third novel is making the rounds with agents right now. I’d like to believe I’ve learned a few things about how fiction works over this time, but perhaps it is more accurate to write that I have learned how my fiction does – or in many cases, does not – work.” Michael Nye, who’s written for us before, shares his “Lessons in Failure and Writing a Novel” on the Missouri Review blog.