Posted on Oct 31, 2012

Longform Podcast #14: David Samuels

David Samuels is a contributing editor at Harper's and contributor to The New Yorker and The Atlantic.

"You start by doing the thing you want to do, at whatever level you can. There's this idea that you work your way up by writing captions, and then capsule film reviews or whatever, and I don't think it works that way. I think you learn to master a form, and you start by doing the thing you want to do. At first you're not going to do it as well as you wish you could, and then you learn. At the same time, I think, there's so much dreck, and there's so many people who don't care about doing the thing well, that when that kid walks in your door and they want to do the thing, you say 'Sure,' because it doesn't cost you anything, you look at it, and there's actually some energy on the page, like, yeah, it's bad, but it's bad in a different way. It's bad in the way of someone who might eventually be good."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

Show notes:

  1. Samuels on Longform
  2. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Anthology)
  3. "Wild Things" (Harper's • June 2012)
  4. "Atomic John" (The New Yorker • Dec 2008)
  5. "Let’s Die Together" (The Atlantic • May 2007)
  6. "Dr. Kush" (The New Yorker • Jul 2008)
  7. "Barack and Hamid's Excellent Adventure" (Harper's • Jul 2010)