“You don’t have to immediately quit your job to become a writer. You need only to start writing.” The New York Times transcribes an excerpt from the “Dear Sugars” podcast with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. For more writerly advice, see our own columnists Swarm & Spark on whether writing a novel will jeopardize your mental health.
Reddit users asked one another to name their all-time favorite poems. Not to be outdone, Poetry Brain asked its Twitter followers to name their all-time favorite poems… to read naked. Since I imagine the latter group is usually only able to read in the buff while at home, I bet they really lament the 2001 demise of Harvard’s “Phone-a-Poem” feature.
It’s not a commonly held opinion, but Hilary Mantel thinks Henry VIII was a romantic. In a brief interview with Jamie Sharpe, the Wolf Hall author dispels the common view of the oft-married king as a philanderer. “He thought that he had to shape his life and shape his kingdom for each woman,” she says. “Men didn’t think that way in those days.” You could also read Damian Barr’s interview with her at The Millions.
Over at Bloom today, a lively Q&A with Charles McNair, whose Pickett’s Charge was the subject of Kevin Hartnett’s recent review here. In particular, McNair takes us through the harrowing blow by blow of his road to publication, the “sophomore jinx story” from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author.
To add to the awards lists, Believer has announced its editors’ shortlist for the Believer Book Award, which looks to acknowledge “the strongest and most underappreciated” novels of the year. The shortlist includes Danielle Dutton’s Sprawl; Kira Henehan’s Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles (reviewed for The Millions); James Hynes‘ Next, Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps (reviewed for The Millions); and Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies (reviewed here).