Identity Theory

“I’m not exactly who you think I am. I mean, well, I guess the best way to put it is: I’m your girlfriend from eight months in the future.”

“You’re what?”

“I’m from the future. There was this time fluke that sent me back to the beginning of our relationship. Where I come from, we had a really good thing going. I mean, we were really in love…”

Read more of “My Girlfriend from the Future,” a short story by Ryan Rickrode

To be competitive and on, all of the time, involves discipline and schedule, a lot of super-focused manic intensity, and the need to ignore outside distractions, all of which is huge for writing.
Beirut Photos by Rola Khayyat
theparisreview:

RIP our co-founder and longtime friend Peter Matthiessen. We are honored to have known him and will miss him dearly. 
Read his Art of Fiction interview.
Read his story “A Replacement.”
Listen to Matthiessen on the art of travel writing.
Pictured: Matthiessen with Paris Review co-founders William Styron, Tom Guinzburg, and George Plimpton.

theparisreview:

RIP our co-founder and longtime friend Peter Matthiessen. We are honored to have known him and will miss him dearly. 

Read his Art of Fiction interview.

Read his story “A Replacement.”

Listen to Matthiessen on the art of travel writing.

Pictured: Matthiessen with Paris Review co-founders William Styron, Tom Guinzburg, and George Plimpton.

I don’t know many writers who really read [book reviews]…You can’t really learn anything positive. You just get a general impression if people like it or they don’t…And in five years, the book will make it or not and succeed or not and it’s not up to the contemporary reception—it just never is for any book. There will be five or ten years and then history will take charge after that and…books will surface or die over time. It depends more on the passage of time, history and word of mouth.
Tim O’Brien, in conversation with Robert Birnbaum (2002)
You can’t really make the world up–make something more zany than the world is. So, I mean I can’t make anything up that isn’t already superseded by something that already is.
Richard Ford interviewed by Robert Birnbaum (2007)
Daylight strobes but the mountains are steadfast and predictable in their terrors. On these sublime and chilling spines I need to weigh my importance against small things. To the cosmos in my purse I am a mountain casting shadows. My lip gloss, the post card from Pompeii of a nude statue about to fuck a headless woman carved from a mountain’s shoulder. My purse is their whole world. Their whole safe world. This van is our whole world when I avert my gaze from the window. This notebook. This pen is all that exists. This thought.
"Sweet Little Comforts," an essay by Jalina Mhyana
theparisreview:

Geoff Dyer’s ten rules for writing fiction
1 Never worry about the commercial possibilities of a project. That stuff is for agents and editors to fret over—or not. Conversation with my American publisher. Me: “I’m writing a book so boring, of such limited commercial appeal, that if you publish it, it will probably cost you your job.” Publisher: “That’s exactly what makes me want to stay in my job.”
2 Don’t write in public places. In the early 1990s I went to live in Paris. The usual writerly reasons: back then, if you were caught writing in a pub in England, you could get your head kicked in, whereas in Paris,dans les cafés … Since then I’ve developed an aversion to writing in public. I now think it should be done only in private, like any other lavatorial activity.
3 Don’t be one of those writers who sentence themselves to a lifetime of sucking up to Nabokov.
4 If you use a computer, constantly refine and expand your autocorrect settings. The only reason I stay loyal to my piece-of-shit computer is that I have invested so much ingenuity into building one of the great auto-correct files in literary history. Perfectly formed and spelt words emerge from a few brief keystrokes: “Niet” becomes “Nietzsche,” “phoy” becomes “photography” and so on. Genius!
5 Keep a diary. The biggest regret of my writing life is that I have never kept a journal or a diary.
6 Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.
7 Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it’s a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It’s only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I always have to feel that I’m bunking off from something.
8 Beware of clichés. Not just the clichés that Martin Amis is at war with. There are clichés of response as well as expression. There are clichés of observation and of thought—even of conception. Many novels, even quite a few adequately written ones, are clichés of form which conform to clichés of expectation.
9 Do it every day. Make a habit of putting your observations into words and gradually this will become instinct. This is the most important rule of all and, naturally, I don’t follow it.
10 Never ride a bike with the brakes on. If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else. Try to live without resort to per­severance. But writing is all about perseverance. You’ve got to stick at it. In my 30s I used to go to the gym even though I hated it. The purpose of going to the gym was to postpone the day when I would stop going. That’s what writing is to me: a way of postponing the day when I won’t do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss.
(via)

theparisreview:

Geoff Dyer’s ten rules for writing fiction

1 Never worry about the commercial possibilities of a project. That stuff is for agents and editors to fret over—or not. Conversation with my American publisher. Me: “I’m writing a book so boring, of such limited commercial appeal, that if you publish it, it will probably cost you your job.” Publisher: “That’s exactly what makes me want to stay in my job.”

Don’t write in public places. In the early 1990s I went to live in Paris. The usual writerly reasons: back then, if you were caught writing in a pub in England, you could get your head kicked in, whereas in Paris,dans les cafés … Since then I’ve developed an aversion to writing in public. I now think it should be done only in private, like any other lavatorial activity.

3 Don’t be one of those writers who sentence themselves to a lifetime of sucking up to Nabokov.

4 If you use a computer, constantly refine and expand your autocorrect settings. The only reason I stay loyal to my piece-of-shit computer is that I have invested so much ingenuity into building one of the great auto-correct files in literary history. Perfectly formed and spelt words emerge from a few brief keystrokes: “Niet” becomes “Nietzsche,” “phoy” becomes “photography” and so on. Genius!

5 Keep a diary. The biggest regret of my writing life is that I have never kept a journal or a diary.

6 Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.

Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it’s a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It’s only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I always have to feel that I’m bunking off from something.

8 Beware of clichés. Not just the clichés that Martin Amis is at war with. There are clichés of response as well as expression. There are clichés of observation and of thought—even of conception. Many novels, even quite a few adequately written ones, are clichés of form which conform to clichés of expectation.

Do it every day. Make a habit of putting your observations into words and gradually this will become instinct. This is the most important rule of all and, naturally, I don’t follow it.

10 Never ride a bike with the brakes on. If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else. Try to live without resort to per­severance. But writing is all about perseverance. You’ve got to stick at it. In my 30s I used to go to the gym even though I hated it. The purpose of going to the gym was to postpone the day when I would stop going. That’s what writing is to me: a way of postponing the day when I won’t do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss.

(via)

But who can say what’s best? That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a lifetime, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.
Haruki Murakami (via malapropsbookstore)