“I have yet to publish a book. The reason for that is, in part, life gets in the way. There’s work and love and art and art usually comes last, (especially for we women writers). But for me, part of what weighs art down and keeps it in last place is overwhelming self-doubt.” In an essay for Electric Literature Lindsay Merbaum writes about writing, a crippling lack of confidence, and the connection between the two. Also included: that defining moment “when I first realized I was not The Shit.”
Elaine Kaufman supported writers at her restaurant when she was alive, and the Table 4 Writers Foundation keeps her legacy going with its grant. The third annual writers’ grants contest will award a $5,000 grand prize and two $2,500 prizes for promising writers. Applications are due by November 15 and can be submitted here. For more on Kaufman, read our own Bill Morris’s tribute.
Recommended Reading: Owen Hatherley at the London Review of Books discusses postcapitalism and a world run by clicks: “The sin of ‘original research?’ – a solecism nearly as grave as ‘citation needed’ – is another reminder that the non-postcapitalist labour of academics is the basis of nearly the entire operation. Wikipedia is less a new form of knowledge than a novel packaging of an old one.”
Last night I went to listen to Chris Kraus, Tamara Faith Berger, and Sheila Heti read the dirty parts of their books. Then I wrote a #LitBeat about it. For a little extra context, you might like to also read this article, written by Elizabeth Gumport for n+1, on Kraus’s writing and publishing career.
n+1 provides a fascinating study of today’s divisive concept of cultural elitism: “Today, though, it’s the bearers of culture rather than the wielders of power who are taxed with elitism. If the term is applied to powerful people, this is strictly for cultural reasons, as the different reputations of the identically powerful Obama and Bush attest. No one would think to call a foul-mouthed four-star general an elitist, even though he commands an army, any more than the term would cover a private equity titan who hires Rod Stewart to serenade his 60th birthday party.”
Over at The Paris Review, Wei Tchou travels to Flannery O’Connor’s farm in Georgia. As she writes, “The charm of Andalusia lies in gestures like this, the ones that urge you into feeling as though you belong. The place isn’t a fossil, it’s a home.” Pair with Nick Rapatrazone’s Millions essay on teaching and learning from “the greatest American writer ever to load up a typewriter.”
A couple weeks back, Jonathan Callahan published a crackerjack essay here on Volume 2 of Karl Ove Knausgaard‘s My Struggle. Little did we know that, even as he was writing it, he was being interviewed about his own literary debut, The Consummation of Dirk, by none other than…Rick Moody.
Overt at JSTOR Daily, Allana Mayer writes about visual literacy in the age of the Internet. As she explains it, “We have similar stories all throughout history: the moment when a perception—whether a literal way of seeing or a figurative mode of thinking—is assaulted and fundamentally shifts.” Pair with our own Bill Morris’s piece on the new Whitney Museum.