Notes From Class

Against Fame: On Publishing, Popularity, and Ambition

“The problem with fame is not its rarity; it’s that it is out of our control.”

Jan 26, 2017
What I Think of the Fact That You Keep Asking Me What My Family Thinks of My Writing

When men create characters based on themselves, they are innovative; when women do it, they’re shaming their families.

Oct 18, 2016
Breaking Taboos and Loving the Characters We Fear

“I turned to Toni Morrison and Jamaica Kincaid. Their work documenting sexuality, especially female sexuality, gave me permission to write my own.”

Making It New

“Was it okay to write about keeping a notebook when Joan Didion already did that? Or puberty? Or anorexia?”

May 13, 2016
Reader-Based

On Virginia Woolf, making hats, escapism, and how to write a novel that readers will read.

Reading for an Audience

“The closest my chosen literary life comes to the stage.”

Apr 13, 2016
Rumpelstiltskin Goes to the Dentist

“Would someone take away my firstborn—my first book—after I had seemingly spun straw into gold to produce it?”

Mar 11, 2016
To the Quick

“Once I started focusing solely on lowering the word count, everything looked baggy.”

Feb 23, 2016
On Serving Knausgaard Coffee and an Omelet

“It’s hard to say why this work means so much to me. You sense the cost of it. It is vulnerable. It feels necessary.”

Feb 11, 2016
The Fiction Just Beyond Us

“I wanted very badly to feel myself graceful on those thin metal lines.”

Feb 02, 2016
This Far

The night before our class, nine people were shot to death in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I suddenly felt ill-equipped to lead the discussion.

Sep 09, 2015