As Dubus put it in my interview with him, “I think most writers quit between the ages of twenty and thirty for various reasons. They are alone then unless they have exceptional parents; even if they have very loving and tolerant parents, they still know in their heart of hearts that their parents wonder about what in the fuck they are doing. Unless they live in a community of writers, like at a graduate school, they don’t have friends who really understand what they are doing. They don’t get published. They work and of course, don’t get money for it. There is no one to set the alarm clock for. There is no one who cares whether they get there to work, no one who can threaten them with firing or reward them with money, and you put all that on one poor young man or woman’s back, and it takes an awful lot of courage, because it comes down to that person believing in him or herself and saying, I will do it. While having a job that supports me. And you finally do publish in something as lovely as Tendril or Ploughshares, for example, and you call your mother or father and tell them, and they say, ‘What’s that?’ I think that is why young writers can be persuaded so easily to change things to be in The New Yorker. Not for the goddamn money. What’s three thousand dollars going to do? You can’t live in Mexico on it and write. Not for long anyway. Won’t change your life. I think they do it because it takes care of those blank faces when you say, ‘Yes, I’ve published,’ and they say, ‘Where?’ and you say, The New Yorker, and they say, ‘Ooh! You must be real!’ “
3 thoughts on “Publishing in the New Yorker takes care of those blank faces when you say, Yes I’ve published”
This is how I feel. Being 21, moving to Egypt as soon as possible, taking online courses in writing at Iowa, after studying for 2 1/2 years, Arabic and Islam. All my friends are wondering what the hell, my family, for the most part, just accept it and my brother already has his degree in linguistics and is in Egypt. My girlfriend, oddly, is the most supportive of it. She’s an artist too, though, a dancer and singer. She gets it. Artists always get it.
Either we get it or we’re idiots. Or both.
Thank God for the Blogosphere and the community here! (Poet and I show it.)