This is a story about rape told from the viewpoint of the rapist’s little brother. It is…
Lately I’ve been partial to American realism, specifically Richard Yates, John Cheever and John Updike. I don’t have any first editions from this gang, but different editions of their paperbacks. I keep the Rabbit trilogy handy, as it really keeps my creative juices flowing while writing my own book. In the picture I have here, the four books are watched over by a shadowy Paul Auster. My collection is my own, sort of unique, based in nothing more than my tastes, which I think is how all collections should be.
“Media fawning is addictive,” Lionel Shriver writes in The Guardian, “but not very nutritious… The world is teeming with hungry has-beens snuffling around for public acclaim with all the unseemly desperation of heroine addicts. Snort a few hits, just don’t start main-lining.”
Both artist and bookseller stand at the vanguard of culture. Both struggle for something essentially impractical, unlucrative, and yet unspeakably necessary. Both have labored to build a life in accordance with a passionate vision. Both accumulate intangible rewards, usually in the absence of lower gratifications (prestige, affluence, vacations). Both are cursed and blessed to live in the conviction that what they do has relevance and worth in this world — to spend their days in service to something they love unreasonably and irredeemably.
Huey P. “The Kingfish” Long inspired numerous authors, though none of the resulting fictional characters entranced the public’s imagination like Warren’s Willie Stark. Stark bears the least resemblance to the politician, yet he’s the fictional character most associated with him.
How can we, as writers, best utilize our resources? What choices can we make to pay adequate tribute? What techniques have other writers used? What are our responsibilities? How can we best tell our stories while valuing integrity? What would a writer be without his or her borrowings?