I’ve gotten to the point now that I’m very calm when I go into the room to teach. I think that when we talk about concreteness in writing, or when we talk about the fantastic, or we talk about rules and logic, or the dangers of the pathetic fallacy, or the dangers of distraction and ruminative philosophizing and forgetting where you were on the page–when we talk about the difference between the conception of voice, the difference between the way that the character sounds as opposed to who you are as a writer—when we talk about those things we’re really doing something. That’s work. You see students come into more control and more awareness and a more direct access to something. It’s really exciting.
The new David Mitchell novel, The Bone Clocks, ends in rural Ireland, which explains why Kathryn Schulz chose to interview Mitchell on a walk through the Irish countryside. At Vulture, she talks with Mitchell about supercontinents, writing in childhood and the global scope of his work. You could also read the story Mitchell recently wrote on Twitter.
The idea was that whatever I felt or did resonated in life, caused people pain or happiness. This gave me a feeling of huge responsibility even as a child – to the extent that sometimes I had to block my own feelings or wishes. When I started writing fiction, suddenly I was allowed to do what I wanted.
Jason Booher talks with Slate Book Review about the process of designing book covers in general and the cover of Forensic Songs, dubbed “the most awesome book cover of the summer,” in particular. “Creating a unique package for a book is really about making potential readers see the book as a singular thing in a sea of sameness. Something that has a soul.”
Sheila Heti: What do you enjoy reading on Twitter?
Christian Lorentzen: Because I follow so many accounts I think of it as watching a stream of garbage flow in order to see what colour the trash is today.
"Designing a book cover is great because you can treat it as a piece of packaging, a mini poster, corporate identity, something to use illustration on, or photography, be purely typographical, figurative or conceptual with just the right amount of type to play around with, have complete ownership; and even if you mess up totally, nobody dies.”
Q: Does putting a series of covers together offer more or less challenges?
A: I think a series of covers is much easier. Turd Theory (one of The Twenty Irrefutable Theories of Cover Design, written by myself and Jon Gray) works on the idea that in a scary world of disorder and chaos people are programmed to seek out repetition and order. So even the worst cover in the world, repeated 20 times in different colours of the rainbow will get you an award or two.
People think of compassion as, like, kindness. The image comes to mind of some nice New Age guy bending to something with a look on his face like he’s about to cry. And I don’t think that’s it.