Gina Sorell: Being Funny Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be a Serious Writer

From a story on by Gina Sorell headlined “Being Funny Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be a Serious Writer”:

Before I called myself a writer, I was the long-suffering wife to the doofus husband, the exasperated mom to those crazy kids, the dour vegetarian waitress serving the hilarious, adorable rom-com couple. I was an actor, the so-called straight woman hired to play against funny people. On camera, I come across like a serious person; in real life, too. It’s my face. Still, more than once, people have remarked that they think I’m funny, and wonder why I haven’t written a funny book.

Sarah Hepola: The Things I’m Afraid to Write About

From a story on by Sarah Hepola headlined “The Things I’m Afraid to Write About”:

One evening, I sat on the brown-leather couch of a younger man who admired me for my writing, and maybe other things, if the salty text messages were true. He came from a different generation, but I was pleased to discover that he shared many of my unconventional opinions and favorite authors, that taste and perspective weren’t necessarily a matter of the year you were born. Joan Didion, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, though I had more reservations about that last one. Books were a common pleasure point, and I was eager to tell him about a literary party I’d recently attended in New York City, where I’d once lived and often visited in the Before Times.

A Ukrainian Writer Speaks to the World

From a New York Times story by Alex Marshall headlined “A Ukrainian Writer Speaks to the World”:

Andrey Kurkov, one of Ukraine’s most renowned authors, is often called a comic novelist for books like “Death and the Penguin,” about an obituary writer who takes in a penguin from a failing zoo.

But since Russia invaded his country on Thursday, Kurkov said he “didn’t feel ready to laugh at anything.” He had stopped writing a new novel, he added in an interview from his Kyiv home, and was devoting his time to speaking with reporters to explain what was happening in his country.

William Saletan: What I Learned in 25 Years of Writing for Slate

From a story on by William Saletan headlined “What I Learned in 25 Years of Writing for Slate”:

In 1996, Michael Kinsley called me with an offer. He was starting a magazine and wanted somebody to write a column, “The Horse Race,” tracking the presidential campaign. The race was boring—Bob Dole never had a shot against Bill Clinton—but the magazine, Slate, was exciting. Kinsley was going into the strange new world of online publishing.

Jami Attenberg: I Was Born a Writer—I Knew That I Would Live With a Certain Kind of Heartache Forever

From a review by Claire Dederer in The New York Times Book Review headlined “One Writer’s Beginnings”:

Writing My Way Home
By Jami Attenberg

There’s a comfort in reading memoir. Whatever outlandish or terrible events befall the main character, we know that in the end he or she is going to be essentially OK. The narrator has at least gotten her act together enough to publish the book. When the memoir in question tells the story, specifically, of becoming a writer, there’s a redoubling of this effect. The very existence of the book casts a sense of inevitability over the author’s struggles to become who she is meant to be….Such books exert an irresistible allure. We follow along with satisfaction as the narrator makes her way toward her imminent destiny as an author.

The Lit Hub Author Questionnaire: What craft elements do you think are your strong suit? Why should anyone have any interest in what you have to say?

From a post on by Teddy Wayne headlined “LitHub Asks: 5 Authors, 7 Questions, No Wrong Answers”:

The Lit Hub Author Questionnaire is a monthly interview featuring seven questions for five authors with new books. This month we talk to:

Evan Hughes (The Hard Sell: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup)

Andrew Lipstein (Last Resort)

Nikki May (Wahala)

Sequoia Nagamatsu (How High We Go in the Dark)

Weike Wang (Joan Is Okay) 

What craft elements do you think are your strong suit, and what would you like to be better at?

Antoine Wilson on What He Needs to Write

From a story on headlined “My Hoodie Is My Office: Antoine Wilson on What He Needs to Write”:

I love looking at photos of writers’ workspaces. Whenever I see a photo of one printed alongside an interview, I can’t help but scan them closely. What are the books on the shelves? What kind of device are they writing on? What items surround them—memorabilia, lucky charms, coffee cups, ashtrays?

What am I looking for? It’s not just nosiness, though that is definitely a factor. And it’s not interior decorating tips….When I’m looking closely at the cabins, the offices, the perches, the ADUs, I’m looking for the physical manifestation of a writers’ process.

Why the Act of Writing Is Work

From a story on by Jessie Greengrass headlined “Learning, Practice, and Repetition: Why the Act of Writing Is Work”:

If there is anything I believe to be foundational to the business of writing then it is this: writing is work. To frame it in this way is to acknowledge that good writing doesn’t come out, fully formed, at two in the morning; and nor does it require anything extraordinary in the way of genius or education, although it’s possible to have an aptitude for it, and reading helps.

Alice McDermott: Connection Is at the Heart of Why We Read and Write

From an interview on headlined “Alice McDermott: Connection Is at the Heart of Why We Read and Write”:

Mitzi Rapkin: I found through many of the essays as I was taking notes, a word that came up in several of them, which is a very profound idea, and that was the idea of connection. I wanted to ask you if you saw that in more than one of your essays? It didn’t always necessarily mean the same thing; it could be the connection of sentences, it could be the connection to the reader, the connection to the content, the connection to your own doubt. But when you hear me say that, I’m wondering what your reaction is.

What Leads Writers to Drink So Much?

From a story by Lawrence R. Samuel in Psychology Today headlined “Why Do Writers Drink So Much?”:

Alcohol has been a defining feature of literary life in this country, with some research showing a clear link to writing and drinking. . . .In her 2014 The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing examined the role that alcoholism played in the lives of six American writers (John Berryman, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Tennessee Williams), finding deep, psychological connections between their respective addictions and creative genius.