Now it can be told: The inspiration for the “Great Rock and Roll Pauses” chapter in Jennifer Egan‘s A Visit From the Goon Squad (i.e., the PowerPoint chapter) was Semisonic’s “Closing Time.”
Speaking of: Trying to write a novel and raise a kid simultaneously? Jennifer Egan and Darin Strauss are here to help. (Well, in Manhattan to help. For one evening, on September 14.)
Alyson Hagy considers the appealing strangeness of Sherwood Anderson‘s “Paper Pills.” (Winesburg, Ohio was a series of “grotesques,” after all.)
Alice Walker keeps (or at least once kept) a pile of leaves by her writing desk: “She rustles them when she does her writing, because it makes her feel closer to nature as she works.”
Oscar Hijuelos on inserting himself as a character in his most recent novel, Beautiful Maria of My Soul.
Ron Currie Jr. on reading Infinite Jest: “By the time I’d finished, my copy was a mess of grass clippings, sweat drips, and smears of axle grease and 50:1 gas/oil mix.”
The quintessential Jamesian sentence.
“I think that Shteyngart is part of a whole sweeping movement of young Jewish writers who are bringing a new multicultural picture to American Jewish fiction.”
Ben Fountain remembers the Dallas poet Robert Trammell.
Detailed writing advice from Maxwell Perkins (to be portrayed by Sean Penn on film at some future date) to Ernest Hemingway: “I’m glad you’re going to write some stories. All you have to do is to follow your own judgement, or instinct + disregard what is said, + convey the absolute bottom quality of each person, situation + thing. Isn’t that simple!!“