“After ten years of painting, that is to say ten years of using an abstract, invented language, writing stories was the closest I had come to working in the realm of ‘realism.’ It was the most direct I had ever been in my art. Perhaps the most direct I had ever been. But, as I learned from the comments of my peers in workshop (‘this isn’t a story,’ ‘this is poetry,’ ‘what is this’), my writing was something other than what we referred to as literary realism. By which I mean, the writing many have come to believe most accurately represents life.” Susan Steinberg asks what happened to American experimental writing.
Recently, we featured five writers’ reminisces about the novels they ultimately shelved. Here a sixth, Elmo Keep, explains what led her to throw away her first novel, quite outside considerations of craft:”I could not resolve the conflict of a story that was not mine.”
In a short biographical piece for Open Letters Monthly, Sam Sacks writes about the book reviewing career of Katherine Mansfield and the ways in which it “helped her build the writing muscles needed” to finish her masterful short stories. While some critics might take umbrage at the way Sacks characterizes Mansfield as “turning out deadline copy like an ink-stained Fleet Street hack,” his look into her reviews culminates in the realization that “the point [of reviewing books] is not to be constructive but to construct something of lasting value in the little space and little time you’re granted. Like all writing, it should be a passion, not a pastime. The point is to dazzle.”
Rosecrans Baldwin’s Paris I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down is set in Paris, France. But there are also 25 Parises in the USA. For “Our French Connection,” a series of features for The Morning News, Baldwin hit up four towns called Paris in America and asked locals to opine on the French way of life. You can buy the whole four part series as an epub for $3.
“Dr. Kristin M. Barton is seeking proposals for an edited volume … which will explore Arrested Development from a scholarly perspective,” reads a call for submissions on H-Net. I can see the titles of these essays now. Can’t you? “Desperation Economics: There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand” or “I Don’t Know What I Was Expecting: An Exploration of Dead Doves and Tragicomedy.”