Can’t Tell Me Nothing


The Rumpus doesn’t really do Kanye West. It doesn’t hate him and it doesn’t love him. It just doesn’t go there. But when the self-proclaimed “voice of this generation“— in an interview for the release of his book, no less — says, “I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life,” I feel like I have to say something. Or rather, I will scour the Internet for old interviews so I can let some of the best authors of  “this  generation” say something.

Daniel Alarcon at The Elegant Variation: “When we write stories we’re part of a tradition that stretches back to the beginning of history. The only way I know to approach the blank page is with humility before the scale of what has been already achieved, along with a sense of hope, and above all, playfulness.”

Zadie Smith on KCRW FM, via Orange Crate Cart: “(T)he problem with … the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film or watching TV … yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it.”

And the sometimes loved and occasionally hated Jonathan Safran Foer on “People seem to have two reactions to books. Either they describe what they’re about or they describe how the book made them feel. I’d much rather write the kind of book that inspires someone to describe the way it made them feel. When you’re talking about the book, you’re not referring to an object; you’re referring to an experience.”

Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →