Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Talking with the ladies

Book: The Paris Review Interviews Women Writers at Work

Authors: various (and lots of prizes); edited by George Plimpton

Published: collection in 1998 (Modern Library)

Pages: 451

Interviewer: So, you're 22, have had two short stories published in a random university quarterly, are just coming off depression from not getting picked for Machine of Death Volume 2, will include the phrase "apple pie-scented box of shame" in your next writing, and just finished reading over 400 pages about ladies who accomplished more literature than you'll be able to catch up with even if you give up your day job and Mad Men addiction. How does that make you feel?

Constant Reader: Er. Can I quote Peggy Olsen?...

Interviewer: No. That just exposes how much you've been procrastinating.

Constant Reader: Fair enough. Well, I feel very tired after reading about all this awesome literature production. I feel like I've written all 70 of Joyce Carol Oates's novels while wearing the wrong prescription in those groovy giant glasses she wears in her author photo. But in a good way.

Interviewer: Is that possible?

Constant Reader: If I have enough caffeine in me, then yes.

Interviewer: What's it like reading about other writers' work habits?

Constant Reader: Addicting. I--hell, everybody--always think there's some sort of magic lurking just past their murmurs about early morning and longhand versus typewriters and various shades of seclusion. But it's not magic, and that might just be the most magical thing about it.

Interviewer: Is that encouraging at all?

Constant Reader: Encouraging and scary, yeah, but definitely doable. "I can work like this. Let's get liberated." HA.

Interviewer: You're going to turn into Peggy Olsen before you get to the end of season four.

Constant Reader: You say that like it's a bad thing. I just don't want her bangs. 

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