Links: There’s a Fire

What does it take to make a debut novel successful? The Austin American-Statesman has a tick-tock on John Pipkin‘s Woodsburner, from writing to editing to publication to indie-bookstore hit.

James Salter looks back on his career.

Robert Olen Butler has written nine screenplays in the past twelve years, but not one of them has been produced. In completely unrelated news, Olen’s new novel is titled Hell.

Audio, video, and transcripts from PEN America’s recent “Reckoning With Torture” event are now online. Among the speakers were Nell Freudenberger, Don DeLillo, George Saunders, Jonathan Ames, and Paul Auster.

Don’t tell Auster his strategy of using nested stories makes him some kind of postmodernist: “There were certain kinds of books I was attracted to as a young person, two jump to mind. Wuthering Heights and The Scarlet Letter. These fascinated me. You know full well these are fictions within fictions. The act of telling becomes part of the story.”

Poets & Writers has a list of the top creative writing MFA programs in the country.

Ben Greenman is a better speller than many of his peers.

And maybe it’s mean to make fun of Gore Vidal, but he does have a way of saying things that make such behavior understandable.

Rhymes With “Lemons”

Ben Greenman, author of the erratic-but-fun (or is that amusingly erratic?) short-story collection A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both, has been spoofing musicals for a while now at McSweeney’s Web site. His latest one riffs on the Roger Clemens-Brian McNamee foofaraw, and has Clemens’ character singing some of the funniest lines I’ve read in a while:

I’ll flatten you out like a Passover matzo.
Don’t think I’ll do it? Ask Mike Piazza.
Only an idiot angers an ace.
I’ll unretire my fist from your face.


Update: The Clemens-testimony-as-poetry-meme trend has begun!