I was a Fellow at the Royal College of Art in London, where I taught writing. I always admired the imagination, courage, and essential obstinacy of my students. What I like is that if you are a visual artist and you take no risks at all, you are nothing, you are irrelevant—you might as well just chalk up imitations of old masters on the side walk and hope a few kind people throw coins in to your upturned hat. It would be exciting if this kind of daring and curiosity were valued in mainstream literature too. Is it possible that we are only now becoming contemporaries of James Joyce? Does it matter?
Margaret Atwood, “Abstract painting created by a polar bear clawing its way through an empty building,” Nunavik
I wish American writers in general were less anti-intellectual, more interested in the interior life and exterior systems of power. I don’t come from a subculture that had much in the way of an intellectual tradition at all. My people believed there was only one answer to every question, and after that you stopped thinking. I’ve been leaning hard on a couple of generations of postwar American writers of various Jewish ancestries—Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Bernard Malamud among them. They set the stakes sky-high, they never stopped with the insistent questions, they weren’t afraid to be wrong, and if sometimes they were, it’s only evidence of their fearlessness. At least they were braving the conversation.Kyle Minor @ PEN Ten
[[insert metaphor here]]
Himself sat in the chair by the fire. Increasingly.Anakana Schofield, Malarky
Nightly he read the paper, remarked abstractedly that nothing was worth anything. Everything pointed to the fact that every young fella and girl had a degree and at one time it was worth something, but these days… Silence. You can see by it, when a man can’t get a fair price for his cattle, you know something has gone off. It’s not gone away off in isolation. Everything, everything is lost once a fella can’t sell his cow for a fair price.
An unconscious look about him, like he was in another place, shouting back in the distance after cars that had run over him.