“[E]ach video is a portrait of the artist as a beginner—and a look at the creative process, in all its joy, abjection, delusion, and euphoria.” The Paris Review has a new video series called “My First Time,” in which big-name authors talk about getting their start. Helen DeWitt, Jeffrey Eugenides, Sheila Heti, a chain-smoking Karl Ove Knausgaard – what more could anyone want? More origin stories, that’s what! Six writers – Colum McCann, Alexander Chee, Jami Attenberg, Emily St. John Mandel, Justin Taylor, and Anthony Marra – look back on their first books for us.
Full Stop editor Anna-Claire Stinebring argues that Roy Lichtenstein’s art has “come full circle” thanks, at least in part, to the popularity of Mad Men and 1960s nostalgia. Matt Weiner’s drama, after all, “explores but also glamorizes the world that produced the material for Lichtenstein’s most famous paintings.”
To give context to a new William Vollmann essay about reading his own FBI profile (available to subscribers only, sadly), Harper’s Magazine published a few pages from Vollmann’s file online. Among other things, they reveal that the FBI considered Vollman “exceedingly intelligent and possessed with an enormous ego.” (For a taste of the Harper’s essay, you can read this WaPo article on Vollmann’s connection to the Unabomber.)
There’s been a lot of talk about women breaking into traditionally male fields and hobbies, but in a blog post at The Missouri Review Caitlin Rosberg laments the continued underrepresentation of female characters and creatives in comic books. She then explores the work she’s doing to improve the situation by publishing women writers and artists in works like the Ladies’ Night Anthology. As she says, “I’m motivated in no small part by being able to say to those ‘make your own’ strawmen, ‘I do. I’m an editor contributing to published comic books. Are you?'”
“In no particular order, except one of hallelujah, here’s a necessarily partial list of some other living Korean American writers whose work or person, or both, I’ve had the great good luck of encountering”….you’ll have to read the interview for the lengthy list as well as the thoughts of four Korean American writers who gathered at the behest of R.O. Kwon to discuss the influence and impact of Alexander Chee. It’s full of beautiful insights from Kwon, Nicole Chung, Alice Sola Kim, and Matthew Salesses such as “Alex said he ‘wanted to plant that flag in the culture,’ and until he said that I don’t know if I’d thought about it as a reason to write. The need to exist in the canon, in the literary world. I found that very powerful, and very brave”. Chee’s newest book is an essay collection, How to Write An Autobiographical Novel, that we eagerly anticipated last month.