It’s a source of hair-pulling anxiety for artists of all kinds: how can you hold down a day job yet commit yourself to your art? It’s undoubtedly possible, but it’s daunting enough that apprentice writers often need advice on how to do it. Herewith, six artists (including writers Catherine Lacey and Shane Jones) explain how they pull it off. Related: Cathy Day on making a living as a writer.
“You have turned to stone. A hairline crack runs along your entire length from crown to toe. Your feet have turned to liquid, and you are melting onto the kitchen floor.” Are you living in an Elena Ferrante novel? Li Sian Goh at The Toast has compiled a helpful list of ways to tell whether or not you might be a character in Ferrante’s final Neapolitan novel, The Story of the Lost Child.
James Salter reviews Paul Hendrickson‘s Hemingway’s Boat for The New York Review of Books. Relatedly, Helena Price has been using 1000memories to compile “memory pages” to “explore the life of Ernest Hemingway as well as his friends and family.” Of particular note is this poster imploring us to “Live the HemingWAY.” Also related, The Paris Review shares a letter from Papa to his sister Ursala Hemingway.
MacArthur Genius™ Deborah Eisenberg, whom we’ve often celebrated here, publishes her 1,000-page Collected Stories this month – we ardently commend it to your attention. If you’ve read ’em all already, get your Eisenberg fix at the NYRB, where she reviews Dezsõ Kosztolányi‘s “quiet, shattering, perfect” novel Skylark.
What do you do when McSweeney’s rejects your humor piece? You could, like most people, slink off and write something new, perhaps after a quick look at the site to get a better sense of what they’re looking for, or you could write a new humor piece about getting rejected by McSweeney’s. At The Nervous Breakdown, Rachel Pollan takes the latter route (with a cameo by the movie Swingers).
Don’t miss Jon Cotner‘s “Poem Forest” at the NY Botanical Gardens Nov 4-5 and Nov 11-12, 12-4:30. It’s a self-guided tour that promises “a new kind of poetry experience, as well as a new kind of walking experience. Poet-walker Jon Cotner has fused lines selected from 2500 years of nature poetry with Thain Forest’s autumnal landscape.” Details at the Poetry Society of America.
Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“
A while back, I linked to a contentious letter between Saul Bellow and Jack Ludwig, written not long after Bellow found out Ludwig was sleeping with his wife. Now, here’s a (somewhat) less angry piece of correspondence, sent from Philip Larkin to Barbara Pym. Sample quote: “Has anyone ever done any work on why memories are always unhappy?”