The ending bears all the weight of the story, its task nothing less than imbuing the story with meaning and making it unforgettable. The ending must fulfill the reader’s expectations by answering the questions that have been raised in the reader’s mind (or at least some of them), and it has to make sense, but at the same time, it should be unexpected. I don’t mean I want a surprise—I mean, even if I know how the story will end, I want to be surprised by the way I get there. The writer has done his job, novelist David Leavitt says, when the reader’s reaction to the ending is “Oh my God,” followed by “Of course.”
A great post over at David Abram’s The Quivering Pen book blog, featuring Sackett Street instructor Marie-Helene Bertino.
My First Time is a regular feature in which writers talk about virgin experiences in their writing and publishing careers, ranging from their first rejection to the moment of holding their first published book in their hands. Today’s guest is Marie-Helene Bertino. Her debut collection of short stories, Safe as Houses, received The 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award and was published in Fall 2012. (via The Quivering Pen: My First Time: Marie-Helene Bertino)
What an amazing night at the 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation National Book Awards celebration last night at powerHouse Arena!
Interviewing Carrie Brownstein—Portlandia star and co-creator, musician, writer, fantastic person—was just one of the highlights of last night’s National Book Award ‘5 Under 35’ Awards.
Carrie was charming and we laughed about the word “artist” and how hard it is so take yourself seriously. She said she has always thought of herself as a writer foremost, and feels most comfortably defining herself as such, which was very interesting because she’s accomplished so much as a musician and actor as well.
I also had so much fun interviewing the 5 nominees—Molly Antopol (The UnAmericans), NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names), Amanda Coplin (The Orchardist), Daisy Hildyard (Hunters in the Snow), Merritt Tierce (Love Me Back); as well as nominators Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds), Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped), moderator Fiona Maazel (Woke Up Lonely), and host Carrie Brownstein.
A more specific summary of my conversations, especially those with Jesmyn Ward and Fiona Maazel, who I found particularly inspiring, coming soon.
Jesmyn spoke about the challenges of transitioning from writing fiction to nonfiction, especially when writing about close personal experiences, and Fiona had great advice on the writing-publishing experience, staying motivated, keeping perspective, and more.
They were all wise, funny, authentic, kind, and I’m in love with them all.
Rebecca Keith, who organized the event, gave a heartfelt introduction for Carrie Brownstein, and here’s a clip of Carrie Brownstein’s own introduction, which was, of course, very funny. In a perfect literary kind of way.
For example, her joke about the publishing biz—“Trees have never felt safer.”
“As much as some people would like to believe, for their own peace of mind, that the appearance of evil in this world had a clean cause, the truth was never that simple.”
― Marisha Pessl, Night Film
It’s official: My novel, Cutting Teeth, will be published on May 13th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press!
Congrats to the '5 Under 35' National Book Awards honorees—for the first time, all women!
I’m honored to be interviewing the nominees on video at the annual party on November 18th at powerHouse Arena in Dumbo.
Carrie Brownstein, acclaimed musician and a creator, writer, and star of…