Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life might well be the only book in history to draw comparisons between creative writers and stunt pilots. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova calls attention to a description of Dave Rahm, the real-life pilot who inspired Dillard’s analogy.
Has Joan Didion become “the Ultimate Literary Celebrity“? In an article for the New Republic Laura Marsh says “yes,” and then explains how that happened. Marsh’s efforts pair well with Franklin Strong‘s recent Millions essay on “The Manliness of Joan Didion,” Joan Didion being a literary figure who easily adapts to any description.
Another packed line-up: New this week is Stephen King’s 11/22/63, Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetary, Ingo Schulze’s, and Adam and Evelyn (all three of which were previewed by us). We also have new biographies of Kurt Vonnegut and Catherine the Great. And new in paperback, sometime Millions contributor Matthew Gallaway’s The Metropolis Case.
Steel your nerve, readers! Kim Liao at The Literary Hub thinks that everyone should shoot for at least 100 rejections per year. At least some of the satisfaction, she argues, lies in knowing that “in the towering waves of slush, be it high tide or low tide, my own modest submission is out there, like a tiny sailboat, bobbing afloat.”
“The internet teems with writerly advice, almost all of which suggests that creativity is served best by monasticism, a quiet life filled with pencils—but that kind of advice seems to take a very short view of history, overlooking the one classic way to rouse the capricious Muses: sexually transmitted disease.” According to The Hairpin, maybe it’s not an MFA you need, just syphilis. After all, it seems to have worked for James Joyce, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Oscar Wilde and many, many others.