Posts tagged "writers"

To every writer and publishing professional:

Please know that my mom happily reads every acknowledgements section in every book she reads because “everyone named worked hard and has a mom that’s proud of them. And if their own moms aren’t proud of them, I’m proud of them!”

There is a tendency to place the center of the writing universe in New York City. This is understandable—countless writers live there. Have you heard about this magical place called Brooklyn? The media certainly has. Most agents and publishers are based out of New York, there are countless reading series and other trappings of the literati. There’s a certain glamour to the city and what it means for writers. And yet. A little known fact is that there are countless writers living in the rest of the country. The technical term for these writers is college professors.

Still, there are benefits to not being in The City. This week, I went to the DMV to renew my car registration and there was no line. I walked right up to the counter, had a pleasant chat with the DMV lady, renewed my tags, and went on my way. My commute takes four minutes if I stop for coffee. I have this whole extra bedroom and my rent is still less than $1000 a month. This one time, at the gas station, a man on a horse pulled up to a gas pump. It was amazing. I still spend time thinking about what, exactly, he was doing. I travel once or twice a month so I get to join civilization with enough regularity that I don’t completely lose my mind. I also get to leave the chaos of cities behind. The last time I was in New York I had a blast. When my departing flight took off, I felt… relief save for leaving my friends (and I still cannot get over how many public bathrooms were so dirty except at WORD Brooklyn where the bathroom was immaculate and pretty as was the whole store).

A Literary Flyover | Tin House - A celebration of non-New York City writers by Roxane Gay

Then reproduce on a single sheet of clean, white paper the table of contents of the book, omitting the page numbers, and substituting for each number a grade from A to F. The grades should be childishly selfish and impudent measures of your own joy or lack of it. I don’t care what grades you give. I do insist that you like some stories better than others.

Proceed next to the hallucination that you are a minor but useful editor on a good literary magazine not connected with a university. Take three stories that please you most and three that please you least, six in all, and pretend that they have been offered for publication. Write a report on each to be submitted to a wise, respected, witty and world-weary superior.

Do not do so as an academic critic, nor as a person drunk on art, nor as a barbarian in the literary market place. Do so as a sensitive person who has a few practical hunches about how stories can succeed or fail. Praise or damn as you please, but do so rather flatly, pragmatically, with cunning attention to annoying or gratifying details. Be yourself. Be unique. Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows.

Since there are eighty of you, and since I do not wish to go blind or kill somebody, about twenty pages from each of you should do neatly. Do not bubble. Do not spin your wheels. Use words I know.

Kurt Vonnegut term paper assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. - Slate Magazine
Some people assume being a writer is easy. This is a vile thought to me. As many writers I know say: “I write because I have to. I don’t have a choice.”
See above a beautiful illustration of this: William Faulkner’s bedroom stark and plain, with the plot to his story The Fable written onto his walls and with a coat of shellack on top to stay there forever.

Some people assume being a writer is easy. This is a vile thought to me. As many writers I know say: “I write because I have to. I don’t have a choice.”

See above a beautiful illustration of this: William Faulkner’s bedroom stark and plain, with the plot to his story The Fable written onto his walls and with a coat of shellack on top to stay there forever.

Curiosities of a reader, feminist, lady of publishing, coverspy agent, writer and editor for Publishing Trendsetter, and lover of the Midwest.

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