Posts Tagged: the writing life
Writing in Mexico City is like holding a conversation when you’re under the takeoff and landing path of the city’s airplanes: you have to shut up sometimes, to let the noise take over everything, to let the sky split in two before picking up where you left off.
Writers experience all sorts of anxieties and doubts, such that many find themselves taking a spiraling descent into the worst existential crises. No writer should feel alone in this—over at The Millions, Robert Fay writes about the many writers who have fought the long hard battle against nihilism in their writing careers....more
For The Millions, Marcia DeSanctis shares how she learned to become a “second-career writer” after resisting her literary ambitions while working as a television news producer:
A stifled artist was scratching through all of my work identities, and though my jobs were fascinating I never really had the mettle to soldier on.
Rufi Thorpe writes for Vela on the responsibilities of writing and motherhood, and the transformation of a woman writer into an “art monster”:
But any soldier will tell you that much of the Army is similarly boring and routine. Yet we do not ask a war poet, Do you ever worry your work will become clouded with bureaucratic detail?
Can women really have it all? Like, all of it? But how could they possibly have multiple things at the same time? How can they even think human thoughts after they’ve subsumed their corporeal selves into an all-encompassing prison of motherhood?...more
But dip into nearly any of Stevens’s poems, to the last, and be braced by a voice like none other, in its knitted playfulness and in its majesty.
For most of his life, Wallace Stevens worked a day job as an insurance executive, and yet he still found time to become one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century....more
Even after authors finish writing their book, they have plenty of work to do to promote it. With so many books and limited space in media outlets, the literary hustle is a major part of any book launch. Over at Publishers Weekly, Camille Perri looks at the challenges and subjectivity of book coverage:
I also try to remind myself that even though the list of books that garner the most buzz each season can feel arbitrary or even disheartening, I do believe the cream rises to the top.
A new essay by Nigerian author A. Igoni Barrett (Love Is Power, or Something Like That and Blackass) highlights the ways poverty and struggle work against those in Nigeria who would be writers:
I found nothing there for me [at his university in Ibadan].
Success in the literary world often demands money in the real world. For Lit Hub, Lorraine Berry calls out the system that excludes working class voices from the conversation:
How much more dedication did one need to prove beyond that?
Without his wife Jane’s faith and encouragement in his writing, it’s highly likely we wouldn’t know Kurt Vonnegut’s name from Adam. The New Yorker explores Jane’s influence on her husband throughout his career as an author.
Kurt was more pragmatic, casting about for career ideas—teaching, reporting, opening a library with a bar.
New York is the worst. What are all these writers still doing here?
My years spent in New York (where I had also grown up), had made it clear to me there was less and less room for failure in that city, and therefore less room for creative freedom.
And I just thought, “I have to teach myself how to write in a new way.” … I just wanted so badly to figure this out, to figure out how to write.
As part of the Paris Review’s “My First Time” series, the lovely and ingenious Sheila Heti reflects on becoming a writer, learning the writing process, and inventing selves....more
In a poignant and funny essay, Vela Magazine’s Sarah Menkedick discusses being a writer while being a mother:
The house looks as though someone has flipped it upside down and shaken it, we’re surviving off cans of refried beans, the poor dog is curled beneath the walnut tree in a state of shocked repair, and I am looking up shades of orange (Mahogany!
The writing life ain’t cheap. Longtime Rumpus friend and contributor Antonia Crane has declared this the “Summer of Love: Stop Stripping, Start Writing” and she can’t make it happen without us. Help her raise the money to attend Bread Loaf and Byrdcliffe Art Colony this summer, and score some pretty cool perks in the process (naked VIP manuscript review, anyone?)....more
Over at the Ploughshares blog, Rebecca Makkai puts together a series of graphs depicting ironically depressing stats about books and writers....more
At The Billfold, Christine Sneed gets real about the long, hard path to finding success writing books—even after being published—and why she wouldn’t have chosen a different career path regardless:
I can’t imagine not being a writer. Maybe this seems a failure of imagination.