Dear Karl Ove,
I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but as curious as I've been about your work, I had to overcome my suspicion and jealousy resulting from the onslaught of critical praise and (though I wish I could ignore such things) rock-star photographs of your L'Oreal hair and heavy smoking habit. In any case, with the understanding that the third volume of My Struggle (Boyhood Island) was recently published in the U.S., I just finally finished the first one (A Death in the Family). I have to admit, I was impressed by the opening section. Your meditation on the decay of a human [...]
It’s difficult not to romanticize a link between writing and drinking. Wisdom hurts, so the more wisdom a writer has, the harder the writer will try to drown it with alcohol. Or maybe it isn’t wisdom that needs to be drowned; it’s the inner editor. Or maybe the great passion that leads to great writing also leads to great drinking. Or maybe… anyway, there must be some connection, so can we please put down our horrible manuscripts and pour ourselves some bourbon already?
There is no romanticizing in The Trip to Echo Spring, British journalist Olivia Laing’s new group biography of six alcoholic writers—Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, [...]
August 11th was a huge day in my life. I was at Think Coffee on Fourth Avenue. I had just finished, at age 27, my very first novel. I told the barista, who gave me a high five. This was nice of him, given that this probably happens at said coffee shop way more often than we'd like to think.
I had been working on it for two-and-a-half years, showing it to no one, periodically reading it aloud to only two people—my partner and my ex. The book was a story about the Baba Yaga, the witch from Ukrainian folklore. I first encountered her as a child in Neil [...]
"Anaesthetist Peter Morris says he was able to write a novel while his patients slept because surgeons took so long over operations."
"Of all the things I’ve been called in my time, the one that surprises me the most is 'California Writer.' When I hear that, I look over my shoulder, certain that the phrase must apply to the writer behind me or to my left. It’s the way I feel when I am addressed by my husband’s last name. It takes me a moment to realize his mother is not in the room. Categories trouble me."
"My financial records revealed that I have way too much money in my checking account." —Former terrible New Republic blogger and current New York and GQ contributor Jason Zengerle gets VP-vetted as a GQ stunt and the facts that emerge (okay, just that one fact) may surprise you. Also I guess he is prepared for the IRS to come at him over that whole "paying undocumented workers" and "not reporting income paid to household help" thing? Guess he won't have trouble with the small fines.
[UPDATE: This is a dick post. It was supposed to be mildly amusing and to convey mostly friendly teasing, and instead it [...]