“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.
Before James Franco’s class began, he assigned each of his students to conceive a short film inspired by a different C.K. Williams poem about “decay, but also a sense of memory and rejuvenation.” This November, the class will travel to Detroit to shoot the movie.
After the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska died fighting in the trenches, Ezra Pound wrote a book about his work, inspiring a wave of interest that brought the sculptor to prominence. The book came out in 1916, a year after Gaudier-Brzeska’s death, and kicked off a succession of great books that tackle his sculptures. Yasmine Seale writes about their legacy in the LRB.
Pacific Standards profiles Ken Layne who quietly started the popular quarterly literary magazine, Desert Oracle for a town of 8,000 people. Now it has gained far more readers than that as it highlights works related to the American desert. “The reason that the Oracle works is that it’s always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it’s not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It’s a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has.”
Paris Review editor Lorin Stein was interviewed for Days of Yore. Topics include: the “perverse power” of editing your parents’ work; his rise through the ranks of NYC publishing; and the new story collection, Object Lessons. Elsewhere you can check out his “five favorite short story collections.” And, in case you missed it, be sure to check out our own Bill Morris’s interview with Paris Review deputy editor Sadie Stein (no relation) about the Object Lessons collection as well.
I have an essay in the September issue of Poets & Writers on “The Social Value of MFA Programs.” Sadly, P&W deems the piece too valuable to give away for free on the Web, so if you want to read it, you’ll have to go to your local newsstand and buy a copy.
Equal parts voyeuristically indulgent and unapologetically stimulating, Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books is the second installment in Yale University Press’s ongoing series, a journey into the personal libraries of thirteen favorite authors. This installment? Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Díaz, Rebecca Goldstein, and more.