At Write or Die Tribe, Jenny Tinghui Zhang discusses her debut novel, Four Treasures in the Sky, and shares advice for emerging writers trying to finish their books. “Don’t get distracted by the progress of others and that’s a roundabout way of saying, you know, don’t compare yourself to the progress of others or what others are doing,” she says. “Don’t feel panicked or in distress because something good is happening for someone else. You know, they got an agent or they sold their book or whatever it is. The goals that you have and the work that you’re trying to do, remember that you’re the only one that can tell the story you want to tell. I hate to use this platitude, but it really is a marathon and not a sprint for people who want to be writers and write books. That’s a lifelong thing. That’s a lifelong journey. And hopefully, you will write many books over the course of your lifetime. I certainly hope I write more books after this one. But zoom out from all of the announcements on Twitter and all the book news on Instagram. This is our life’s work. So just remember that you have all of your life to make it happen for yourself.”
April Bernard is not a fan of Writers’ Houses because she does not believe the “private life, even of the dead, is ours to plunder.” Earlier this year, our own Luke Epplin also noted some of the limitations of Writers’ Houses.
Christopher Higgs was teaching Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps, and one of his students was inspired to make a mixtape featuring “the twisted, crusty, and often sublime characters found within the novel.” (The book, by the way, was one of my selections for Year in Reading last year.)
Last week, I wrote about the disparity between Norman Rockwell’s inner life and the cheerful art that made the painter famous. In the new issue of The Atlantic, James Parker writes about the “unconscious energy” of Rockwell’s work, while on the magazine’s website, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz republishes an old article that examines how Rockwell’s style could seem outdated even in the fifties.