Jia Tolentino Makes Sense Out of This Nonsense Moment
What happens when America’s darkest crime writer sees the light?
On a Presidential paper trail.
“Anytime I was called a New Journalist I winced a little with embarrassment.”
On growing up, writing, and succumbing to bullshit.
“It takes this huge amount of will and energy for anything to happen to you.”
“There has to be some pleasure in this job, and that’s it. To go around in disguise. To act a character. To pass oneself off as what one is not. To pretend.”
On creativity in the age of Trump.
“As a young reporter in Eastern Europe in 2001, I expected to witness the ‘end of history’ and the flowering of democracy. That was just one of the mistakes I made.”
An interview with Maurice Sendak.
The role of a writer in 2017.
How the writer works.
I don’t think there’s anything that I’m not afraid of, on some level. But if you mean, What are we afraid of, as humans? Chaos. The outsider. We’re afraid of change. We’re afraid of disruption, and that is what I’m interested in.”
What’s a writer to do when the audacity dwindles?
“You revise your reader up, in your imagination, with every pass. You keep saying to yourself: ‘No, she’s smarter than that. Don’t dishonour her with that lazy prose or that easy notion.’ And in revising your reader up, you revise yourself up too.”
An interview with Joan Didion.
How dancing can inspire a writer.
A conversation with the anonymous novelist.
“The final evaluation of a play has nothing to do with immediate audience or critical response. The playwright, along with any writer, composer, painter in this society, has got to have a terribly private view of his own value, of his own work. He's got to listen to his own voice primarily. He's got to watch out for fads, for what might be called the critical aesthetics.”
The author on Lolita, his work habits, and what he expected from his literary afterlife.
“You try to learn as much about the people as you can. I try never to give psychohistory. There is no one truth, but there are an awful lot of objective facts. The more facts you get, the more facts you collect, the closer you come to whatever truth there is. The base of biography has to be facts.”
On being a mom, a wife, and a writer.
“I believe that all the survivors are mad. One time or another their madness will explode. You cannot absorb that much madness and not be influenced by it.”
A profile of Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning author Larry McMurtry.
“Things don’t just flow out of your brain. It’s not like, Hey, I’m brilliant. Show up, paper right here, bam, another banger. No—you sit and you struggle with yourself and you stop cutting your hair. I’m not cutting my hair right now. You stop shaving, like I’m not shaving right now. You remember that you can fail. I’ve failed several times. The fact that everybody else don’t see that don’t give me the right to not see it.”