“The dream is a second life.” On Gérard de Nerval and lobster-walking.
“In order to overcome their creative challenges, the authors I interviewed didn’t need to write prettier sentences: They needed to become more disciplined, more generous, braver. Literature seems to require these qualities of us, somehow, both in writing and in reading.” Joe Fassler‘s “By Heart” series at The Atlantic provides us with another year’s worth of writing wisdom, including advice from Alexander Chee, Michael Chabon, Lydia Millet, et al. We also highly recommend the conversation between Chee, Emily Barton, and Whitney Terrell about the decade each of them took to see their novels realized in the world.
What’s the deal with all of the novels about famous writers? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that, according to Heller McAlpin at The Literary Hub, “there’s a special frisson of pleasure in reading about writers’ early struggles when you know what the future holds for them—which in the case of most of these authors is posthumous literary acclaim beyond their wildest dreams.”
I’m thinking about installing a Delaney Nolan bat signal to alert the world of her new work whenever it appears. Previously I’ve evangelized about her writing in Guernica, Necessary Fiction, Sundog Lit, and The Rumpus, but this time I’d like to call attention to her photo essay about New Orleans in the latest issue of Oxford American.