"It helped that I could measure my progress with metrics like number of scabs collected, number of inches ollied. There was an objective truth to the sport; unlike my writing, my powerslides were self-validating. At home, a printout of my manuscript lay untouched on my desk."
A newborn baby has no muscles in its neck, and its vulnerability and helplessness are absolute, it can’t move itself, nor even raise its head, but has to be supported by the hands of others, lifted up to the faces of others, which are the first thing she sees as she opens her eyes. And then she enters the circle of faces, in which she will live out the rest of her life.
Q: Do you ever find your work isolating?
A: Writing—that’s a lonely job. Editors are lucky enough to be thrown into the company of many, but you have to make time to be alone. Because the work isn’t necessarily solitary, it’s easy to get distracted by meetings and hanging out. It’s important to have the time to do your work, but also to lie awake and worry.
“Seidel scared himself with poetry, and us too. How had he done it?” John Jeremiah Sullivan presented the Hadada Award to Frederick Seidel at The Paris Review’s Spring Revel last month. You can read the full text of his speech and three of Seidel’s poems. This seems to be a much better week for Sullivan because he also just won the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award for his essay “I Placed a Jar in Tennessee.”
New York just expects so much from a girl—acts like it can’t stand even the idea of a wasted talent or opportunity. And Miss Adele had been around. Rome says: enjoy me. London: survive me. New York: gimme all you got. What a thrilling proposition! The chance to be “all that you might be.” Such a thrill—until it becomes a burden. To put a face on—to put a self on—this had once been, for Miss Adele, pure delight. And part of the pleasure had been precisely this: the buying of things. She used to love buying things! Lived for it! Now it felt like effort, now if she never bought another damn thing again she wouldn’t even—
What was the very first ebook? It’s hard to say with any degree of precision, but a pretty good candidate is Peter James’s Host, which was copied and stored on a floppy disk back in 1993. At The Guardian, a look back at the early life of the format. You could also read David Rothman’s tribute to the ebook pioneer Michael Hart. (h/t The Paris Review)
At that point, one of the flesh-hungry demons loses his patience with Dante’s whole I-gotta-interview-the-sinners shtick and rips out a chunk of the sinner’s flesh. Before he is overpowered, the sinner tells Dante and Virgil about the other Italians he knows—Fra Gomita and Don Michel Zanche, both from Sardigna and constantly yapping about the place. The sinner, who seems far more glib about the threat of being torn to death, says almost tauntingly, ‘Oh, look at that one there, gnashing his teeth.’
Word came out yesterday that Jonathan Galassi and Year in Reading alum Mona Simpson will join the Paris Review editorial board. Former editors both — Galassi edited the magazine’s poetry, while Simpson edited its fiction — the two will join Rose Styron, Jeffrey Eugenides and other notable figures on the board. Simpson also has a new novel coming out in April.