At the Rumpus, Jo Hamya shares the writing process behind her debut novel, Three Rooms, and how she reluctantly deals with reader assumptions about her narrator as a stand-in for herself. “A lot of people think it’s autofiction, and that I’m the narrator,” Hamya says. “The hardest thing about writing the book was that at regular intervals I’d stop and be like, what if people think this is me? […] As I was writing, I kept thinking about how I don’t like this narrator at all. I understand why people feel sympathy for her, but she’s not my idea of a great person—she’s necessarily ineffectual and vague, because otherwise the book would wrap up neatly with her getting her life together. She’s a composite of the worst tweets I could find, and as I was putting her into various situations or environments that I’d been in my life, and having her act differently, I kept thinking how it would be awful if someone thought this was me, but it does seem to be happening [laughs]. I suppose that’s unavoidable. You can’t control what your readers think. I’ll just have to deal with it.”
The Boston Globe profiles Daniel Coquillette, co-author of the first comprehensive history of Harvard Law School. “Deeming the previous attempts lackluster, Coquillette and Bruce Kimball resolved to produce an honest, critical look at Harvard Law School’s founding — and its oftentimes bigoted history.” His book inspired students to take action to retire the school’s crest.
“American television has been a juvenile medium for most of its existence,” David Simon tells Salon. This defense of ‘Treme’ was published three days after David Thier called the show “deeply boring” in The Atlantic. “There is nothing New Orleans loves so much as New Orleans” Thier says, “but the show can’t get past the desire to be authentic.” Sarah Broom, during last May’s PEN World Voices Festival, said “this ‘love of place’ is really just from people who are stuck in a lots of ways.” But hey, at least the show’s attention to detail is admirable.
In an in-depth interview for Nomadic Press, Shira Erlichman describes what it’s like to make art while living with mental illness. As she puts it, “The thing that is so strange to me is that it was so wide-lensed. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you go crazy, like in the movies. You’re just suddenly crazy.’ But there was such a domino effect. One little thing—it’s almost like 70 dominoes lined up in one track that all lead to one conclusion.” Pair with Gila Lyons’s Millions essay on writing through illness.