Does a writer need a devoted spouse to be prolific? At The Atlantic, Koa Beck examines the concept of having a do-it-all partner like Vera Nabokov and if this traditional gender role only harms female writers. Koa interviews various writers, from Emma Straub to Ayelet Waldman, on how their literary partnerships work. “I’d fantasized that being his Vera was a way for me to deal with being stuck as a stay-at-home mom—I’d subsume my own ambitions into something ‘greater!’ But that lasted about 48 hours,” Waldman said.
Writing a novel is an all-consuming project, so can you imagine not telling anyone? At The New York Times, Alice Mattison discusses keeping her novels secrets until at least the third draft. “If I talk about the book, I believe — I cannot help believing — my characters will be angry, and will no longer confide in me about their embarrassing, troubled lives.” On another side of the secrecy spectrum, Emma Straub writes about what it’s like to keep a personal secret even as her literary life was booming.
I always wondered why pregnant women counted their time in weeks instead of months, but it makes sense to me now. My husband and I are both counting the days, treating my body like it is made of a substance rarer than gold and more fragile than glass. Life changes both quickly and slowly, sometimes simultaneously, and one needs to keep track as precisely as possible. Maybe that should be the lesson to me — that keeping track requires a chronicling of the bad as well as the good, whether or not that information is shared. It’s always good to know that you’re not alone. When our companion of the last nine months finally makes his way into the world, we’ll be sure to tell him that.
I actually like waiting to read books, because then the hoopla has hooped down the street and the buzz has stopped buzzing and it’s just you and the page in front of you, and then the page after that. Still, even I am occasionally immune to my own rules, and accidentally read a book immediately after purchasing it.
Three wonderful Tumblr writers have new books on sale today, and what a diverse group they are:
Allie Hagan channels Suri Cruise in this very important instruction manual for fashion and for life. Based on Suri’s Burn Book. The party is 9/25, with the delightful Emma Koenig of Fuck I’m in My 20s.
This should keep you in reading material until at least next Tuesday…
Behold the power of Tumblr, ye literary mortals!
While you’d never know it from following her chipper twitter account, it kind of seems like Emma Straub must really like to cry. First there was her year in what seems like heart wrenching reading, and now she’s gone and compiled a list of some truly tragic tunes for Electric Lit’s blog. I’m thinking in sighs and welling up a little just thinking about a playlist that has Elliot Smith, Morrisey, and The Magnetic Fields belting out melancholia.