Every Book Asks for Something Different


Tracy Kidder talks to the Bygone Bureau about the danger of rereading your work: “Only two things can happen, and neither one is good. Either I’m reading and think how can I possibly have allowed that sentence to go to print, or I think, ‘Did I used to write that well?’”  The quality of free writing: “Dreck.”  Writing talent: “Anyways, talent… I’ve never understood what that really is.”  Why he bought back the rights to one of his books so he would be the last person to ever read it: “I wrote it in a kind of swashbuckling first person, which I dislike.”  And, the intelligence of writers: “Yeah. I don’t think that all really good writers are very smart in a sort of academic way. In fact, some seem downright stupid.”  Don’t be insulted; I’m sure he wasn’t talking about you.

More wisdom from Tracy Kidder here…

Karen lives, writes, and produces radio in New York. More from this author →