“In order to overcome their creative challenges, the authors I interviewed didn’t need to write prettier sentences: They needed to become more disciplined, more generous, braver. Literature seems to require these qualities of us, somehow, both in writing and in reading.” Joe Fassler‘s “By Heart” series at The Atlantic provides us with another year’s worth of writing wisdom, including advice from Alexander Chee, Michael Chabon, Lydia Millet, et al. We also highly recommend the conversation between Chee, Emily Barton, and Whitney Terrell about the decade each of them took to see their novels realized in the world.
“He was known to step out for cigarette breaks onto a narrow ledge beyond the bedroom windows. Attached to the wall next to a door is a brass speaking tube that he used to call down for lunch.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby house on Long Island sold for $3 million earlier this year, but you can still own a piece of him: The Washington Post reports that the four-bedroom Victorian in Minnesota where he penned the manuscript This Side of Paradise is currently listed at $625,000.
Our heartfelt congratulations to Greg Fawcett, winner of this year’s Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest. He credits his success in the competition with “dedication, timing his haircuts carefully and paying attention to the length of his beard.” Looking good Greg, and all you other Papas in Miami.
“Reading is a type of reckoning with the self. That may sound like a simplistic platitude, but platitudes exist only because they are true, our self-serving intellectual mirrors be damned.” Cher Tan shares a lifetime’s reading history with Catapult, tracing her trajectory from “[k]eeping up with the boys” during high school to this past year, in which she made a personal pact to read only books written by people of color. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone in conversation with six authors on their childhood reading.
Does literature belong on the streets? Thanks to some forward-thinking initiatives like the Coffee Sleeves Conversation at Coffee House Press and the Chicago-based project “Poem While You Wait,” (in which poets stationed around the city produce original, on-demand poems for five dollars a piece) literature is finding its way to the masses.