Furst, Didion, more

Robert Birnbaum talks with Joshua Furst (Short People) about the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, moving around, and the two novels* Furst is working on right now.

Katie Roiphe seems very concerned that Joan Didion’s personal essays aren’t as revealing as they are reputed to be:

The personal information she imparts is so stylized, so mannered, so controlled that it is no longer personal information. The “I” in her essays is an elegant silhouette of a woman. There is something shadowy about her, something peculiarly obscure, like the famous photograph of her hiding behind huge sunglasses. She is, in the end, a writer of enormous reserve.

(Via Arts Journal.)

Jan Morris, Robert Lipsyte, and Joyce Maynard write about their experiences of New York City. (Via The Morning News.)

Steve Almond reveals that he has written and abandoned three novels:

The first one was semi-autobiographical dreck. A work of profound hope and narcissism. It is suitable for burning, perhaps. The second and third were aborted efforts at copying the writers I love (Bellow, Morrison, Updike). The most recent one actually stands a chance, but only if I completely rewrite it, this time actually finding a way to love the characters. But listen: these novels were a kind of apprenticeship. It’s incredibly hard to write anything authentic (a poem, a story, a novel) and writers need practice. So that’s what those novels were: practice.[*]

(Via Scott.)

Pia Z. Ehrhardt‘s “Babysitting” is new, as is David Fromm’s “This Time Last Year.”

* Excuse me while I go and shoot myself in the head.

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