Though Mark Twain first gained notoriety after publishing an essay about a famous jumping frog, the onetime Samuel Clemens didn’t really hit his stride until he became a public speaker, as the money he accrued from reading in front of audiences gave him a steady source of income. At Salon, Ben Tarnoff recounts Twain’s journey to the podium, one laid out more broadly in Tarnoff’s book about a group of San Francisco writers.
“I could measure my progress with metrics like number of scabs collected, number of inches ollied,” writes Nick Courage, in his great piece about rediscovering skateboarding in his thirties. “There was an objective truth to the sport; unlike my writing, my powerslides were self-validating.”
At Goodreads, join debut novelists Malena Watrous, Peter Bognanni, Emily Gray Tedrowe, and Sonya Chung for a meaty and candid discussion, including confessions about procrastination and the fact that we all actually really enjoy writing. Moderated by Katrina Kittle. Click here to join.
Reif Larsen’s “The Crying of Page 45” appears in this month’s issue of The Believer. This clever, inventive essay is excerpted from the book I co-edited The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. You can get a taste of the piece at The Believer website, but the full essay in all its illustrated glory is available in the print magazine as well as in, of course, the book.