Following the Irish release of The Guts, the new Roddy Doyle novel that brings back Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments, The Irish Times interviews Doyle, who remembers a time when his writing garnered him death threats. Sample quote: “I drove the guy in the next room demented as I replayed an old tape, repeating the same musical phrase, again and again.”
Writing for n+1’s City by City series, Moira Donegan remarks on the “self-defeating contradictions” of working at a nonprofit in New Orleans. It’s a town, she writes, where most arrive to either “perform charity or to party,” and where, she feels, “many of the people who … come to help the city [are] also hurting it.” In certain ways, the piece can be read as being in conversation with Duncan Murrell’s 2012 essay for Oxford American about authenticity, preservation, posterity, and the Big Easy.
Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland that “There’s no ‘there’ there.” If the latest novel by Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue, is any indication, not everyone agrees -- the author set the book in the Oakland of 2004. At The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog, Matt Feeney delves into the book's racial politics.
Add this to the roster of great literary takedowns. Apparently Evelyn Waugh once wrote the following about Proust: “Nobody told me he was a mental defective. He had no sense of time.” (This stands in stark contrast with the views of Aleksandar Hemon, who wrote in a recent Year in Reading piece that Swann's Way is “one of those miraculous books that gets better with every re-reading.”)
Having kids changes everything, of course, but for the writer, used to working in quiet solitude, it can feel like the end. Jessica Francis Kane writes about how she learned to write again, in a new way, after having children and offers some tips for new parents who write.
This one goes out to all the visual learners out there. Here's a helpful, illustrated guide to writing scenes and stories with Jeff VanderMeer, author of the bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy. Bonus: here's an interview by VanderMeer with author Richard House from earlier this year.