“My sense, though, was that he was a very complicated man. He could enter a room and be the organizer of games and magic tricks and funny stories and a brilliant mimic and holding forth and entertaining and holding the center. But he was also incredibly controlling; he was domineering.” Ralph Fiennes on playing Charles Dickens.
This week in lit news: VIDA, the organization that’s been counting appearances by women writers in major literary journals since 2010, will expand their 2014 count to include data on race/ethnicity.
“I thought there were would be more in this writing life, an easier path to walk. I write those words and know they are the unwise thoughts of my younger self and that I am still too stubborn to give up on my dreams. When Annie Dillard invited me outside for that smoke, she knew very well what it would mean to a young writer like me. She intuited my ambitions and it was her way of encouraging me.” This essay is ostensibly about smoking cigarettes and playing catch with Annie Dillard, but it’s also about the incredibly important role that an established writer can play in helping a struggling up-and-comer.
Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
There is going to be a documentary about Joan Didion. We repeat: a documentary about Joan Didion. This is not a drill. Watch the opening trailer and consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign here, and be sure to read our own Michael Borne‘s review of Blue Nights and S.J. Culver‘s Millions essay on “Getting Out: Escaping with Joan Didion.”