• In a 1969 interview with E.B. White on the art of the essay from the archives of The Paris Review: “I have no warm-up exercises, other than to take an occasional drink. I am apt to let something simmer for a while in my mind before trying to put it into words. I walk around, straightening pictures on the wall, rugs on the floor—as though not until everything in the world was lined up and perfectly true could anybody reasonably expect me to set a word down on paper.”
•Kudos to fellow Stonecoast MFA alumna Kim Dana Kupperman, whose essay collection, I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence, won the 2009 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize in Nonfiction, and will be published this summer by Graywolf Press
•You labor for years, writing, writing, writing. Finally a book's success brings in some decent money...and then do you give most of it away to charity, while inspiring others to make contributions too? Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind, did. "I thought, 'I've been poor my whole life,'" he recounted. "'I might as well be poor for a good reason.'" His story here.
•The slush pile is dead. I think most people pretty much know this already, but apparently the Wall Street Journal just got the memo. Still, it was sobering to read (yet again) about the marketing-over-literary value judgments in today’s publishing industry:
“A primary aim of the slush pile used to be to discover unpublished voices. But today, writing talent isn't necessarily enough. It helps to have a big-media affiliation, or be effective on TV. "We are being more selective in taking on clients because the publishers are demanding much more from the authors than ever before," says Laurence J. Kirshbaum, former CEO of Time Warner Book Group and now an agent.
"From a publisher's standpoint, the marketing considerations, especially on non-fiction, now often outweigh the editorial ones. "These days, you need to deliver not just the manuscript but the audience," says Mr. (Jim) Levine (of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency). "More and more, the mantra in publishing is 'Ask not what your publisher can do for you, ask what you can do for your publisher."
•Check out this meaty interview with novelist Tayari Jones.
•Not sure what wiki wart, mobile necking, and blog dodger mean? Get the deets on these and the rest of the latest social media buzzwords here.
•One writer’s take on the problem with the marriage memoir.
•Joyce Carol Oates, author of some 80 novels and short story collections, is to publish her first memoir. An article at WSJ Online, notes the book will cover,” the aftermath of her husband Raymond Smith's death in February 2008. She describes the book, "A Widow's Memoir," as practical and darkly funny (Ms. Oates says she plans to include a "widow's handbook" with advice on fundamentals such as how to pick out a grave plot).” Oates is legendary for her self-editing, the article explains: "She's an obsessive self-editor. She has rewritten short stories and revised a novel after publication for anthologies or updated editions of her books. She had a finished manuscript of her recent novel, "Little Bird of Heaven," but held onto it and rewrote it after her husband's death, in part to keep herself occupied, she said. During a reading in the fall at Barnes and Noble in New York, Ms. Oates told the audience that "Little Bird of Heaven" was "a life line" after her husband died, and the only thing that got her out of bed.”
•A Room of Her Own Foundation now has an online book club and blog.
Have a great weekend.