Friday, March 14, 2008

New Post on Louise Erdrich's Demolition Derby

Okay, so I've been AWOL. I've been invited to be a guest columnist on Emdashes, a classy fan site for The New Yorker, covering New Yorker fiction. My latest post, on stories by Louise Erdrich, Haruki Murakami, Thomas Meehan, and William Gaddis, went up a few days ago. I've also done posts on Jean Stafford's awesome story, "In the Zoo"; another on three not-so-awesome stories by John Updike, E. L. Doctorow, and T.C. Boyle; one on who's published the most stories in The New Yorker; and another linking to some audio/video of the delightful essayist Adam Gopnik and short story master Mavis Gallant.

(Incidentally, if you're wondering why the column's called "The Katherine Wheel," it's because Katherine White was the first fiction editor at The New Yorker, and of course Catherine Wheel has the dual meaning of being an instrument of torture and a kind of firework, which aptly describes the possibilities inherent in any piece of fiction ... )

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Isaac Babel on Good Writing

From one of my favorite short stories:

"A phrase is born into the world both good and bad at the same time. the secret lies in a slight, an almost invisible twist. The lever should rest in your hand, getting warm, and you can only turn it once, not twice."

--Isaac Babel, "Guy de Maupassant," trans. by Walter Morison. From The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel.

Stumble Upon Toolbar