Are you interested in the thoughts and lives of the bookish people of today? Don’t look any further and read the best interviews of the week.
Renata Adler talked to Buzzfeed about writing, being fearless and punching up.
There’s no point, really, in going after something or someone and saying no, absolutely not, unless that thing is very powerful. And you’ve got to be awfully careful about whether it’s truly a powerful villain, because people are more fragile than one thinks.
Read an excerpt of The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson over at The Nervous Breakdown.
The people on the hill liked to say that God’s smile was the sun shining down on them. In the late afternoon, before scarlet ibis bloodied the sunset, light flooded the stained glass windows of Bird Hill Church of God in Christ, illuminating the renderings of black saints from Jesus to Absalom Jones.
And a story by Lucia Berlin from her collection A Manual for Cleaning Women.
The train slowed down outside of El Paso. I didn’t wake my baby, Ben, but carried him out to the vestibule so I could look out. And smell it, the desert. Caliche, sage, sulphur from the smelter, wood fires from Mexican shacks by the Rio Grande. The Holy Land.
And then original fiction by Alice McDermott called These Short, Dark Days.
February 3rd was a dark and dank day: cold spitting rain all morning and a low, steel-gray sky in the afternoon. At four, Jim persuaded his wife, Annie, to go out to do her shopping before full darkness fell. He closed the door behind her with a gentle wave. His hair was thinning, and he was missing a canine on the right side, but he was nevertheless a handsome man who, at thirty-two, might have passed for twenty.
Writers talk about their most formative rejections. One by Holly LeCraw.
Two days later 00 yes, two days — my SASE came back with a letter, which read, in its entirety: “Dear Ms. LeCraw: You write intelligently, but ‘Sailing’ seems to us loosely organized, short of event, mannered in the telling (present tense), and inconclusive. Try us again?” It was on letterhead, and signed from C. Michael Curtis, the fiction editor.
Cara Nicoletti is cooking her way through good books.
So often, the foods scenes that are most powerful in books are not necessarily the most appetizing. But that doesn’t make them any less powerful.
Adam Johnson has a new book out, this time a collection of short stories.
I think the short story is a machine, and it has lots of gears that turn: Voice, style, architecture, chronology, scene selection. They all interplay and make a meaning-making machine that cranks out some understanding of the human condition. It happens quickly, it often happens outside the writer’s control, but it’s so powerful when it goes to work on a moment of human life. I think they’re difficult, but they can be very perfect and powerful — I missed them, working on a novel for many years.