“A group of young, attractive, if somewhat emotionally crippled people, who otherwise seem to have things going for them, have decided upon a secret pact to effectively end their futures. They want you to join them. Dinner parties at other people’s houses are involved.” For McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Erika Vause asks the question that needed to be asked: Does this harrowing plot summary describe a critically acclaimed film of the 2010s, or does it describe your PhD program? (Spoiler alert: It’s both.) Pair with this list of horror films about writers from the archives and you’ve got a real scarefest on your hands. We’re laughing, but we’re also crying.
It’s a source of hair-pulling anxiety for artists of all kinds: how can you hold down a day job yet commit yourself to your art? It’s undoubtedly possible, but it’s daunting enough that apprentice writers often need advice on how to do it. Herewith, six artists (including writers Catherine Lacey and Shane Jones) explain how they pull it off. Related: Cathy Day on making a living as a writer.