January 29, 2015
“Do you recall your first editing project?
I do. Did you see the movie Wonder Boys?
Well, the movie and the book revolve around a professor of creative writing, played by Michael Douglas, who has this two-thousand-page novel he’s been working on for many years. In the last scene of the movie, the wind picks it up and blows it away. But in real life, that novel was sent to FSG. And I ended up editing it. It’s called The Honeymooners, by Chuck Kinder.
Chuck was very gentle with me, but in general if I could go back and do it again, not specifically Chuck’s book but all of them from the early time, I would be less sure of my judgments. Not judgments of what I like, not that I would edit less. But I realized later on that every strong editorial feeling I’ve ever had, every fight I’ve ever had over an editorial question, after enough time I didn’t think I was really right. That has been true, always. Once you begin arguing about an editorial question, there will come a time when you look back and think that you weren’t right. I wish for the sake of some of the books and some of the people I worked with, that I had known that.
Do you think the way you work changed over time?
Yes, I know it did. Nowadays, if I find myself in disagreement with a writer, I partly know that given enough time, I will end up agreeing with the writer.
And does that guide how you edit now?
I hope so. Of course, in the heat of the moment, you still get bossy and wrong.”
— Lorin Stein with Astri von Arbin Ahlander, ‘People Wear Khakis’, MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction, ed. Chad Harbach, n+1/Faber and Faber, New York, 2014, pp. 162-163.
September 24, 2014
I’m pleased to say that my short story, ‘Civility Place’ (originally published in The Sleepers Almanac No. 9), will be republished in November in The Best Australian Stories 2014. Thanks to Black Inc. and this year’s editor, Amanda Lohrey, for inviting me into the fold. Here is the list of contributors. 17 of the 23 are […]
September 14, 2014
After the launch of The Sleepers Almanac No. 9 at Bella Union earlier this year, I had a drink with the Sleepers Publishing team in the pub across the road. As a person who specialises in asking strange questions, I asked Lou and Zoe whether all writers are strange people. They said that many are, but […]
July 27, 2014
A lizard keeps following me around the house. I tell the Tattoo Man about it when we’re sitting on his verandah one afternoon. The Tattoo Man has puffy eyelids and a black beard that he strokes when in deep thought. He’s sitting in his rocking chair with a stray orange cat at his feet, swishing […]
Breakfast is last night’s leftovers. You leave your plate in the sink and splash water over it. You brush your teeth. You rub gel between your palms, work it through your hair, and use a comb to arrange a neat side part. You cut Friday’s dry-cleaning tags off your suit. You straighten your tie. You […]
June 1, 2014
“The lawyer pushed up his sleeves. Through an opening of his robe, he vigorously scratched his chest. It sounded like someone currying a horse. He placed his magistral cap on the head of a shiny banister beside him and started his counsel’s speech.
“Gentlemen of the jury,” he said, “we will disregard the motive of the murder, the circumstances in which it was committed, and the murder itself. Under these conditions, with what do you accuse my client?”
The jury, struck by a side of the case they hadn’t considered, was silent and rather uneasy. The judge slept, and the public prosecutor was sold to the Germans.”
— Boris Vian, ‘Fog’, Blues for a Black Cat, transl. Julia Older, The University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1992, p. 80.