The Day Jobs That Influence Our Writing


At the New York Times, writers Francine Prose and Leslie Jamison explain how their past jobs—at a morgue and in kitchens—have taught them about writing:

But it was another truth — the humility of that kitchen, confronting what I didn’t know — that has felt most resonant across my writing life. As my work has evolved, it has demanded uncomfortable, new kinds of capacity: learning how to pursue a difficult subject; how to seduce her in an interview; how to get corrected by fact-checkers; how to live in archives.

Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →