After the jump, a recap of Tuesday night’s softball game against Harper’s Magazine.
You might be familiar with the oeuvre of Caitlin Roper as The Paris Review’s resident tweeter. In between tweets, Caitlin is managing editor of the Review. For the summer issue Caitlin has surpassed herself—valiantly stepping in as interim editor between Philip Gourevitch and me. Issue 193 is her editorial handiwork. —Lorin Stein
It’s been thrilling to put together an issue, and to do it with my sharp, talented colleagues, Christopher Cox and David Wallace-Wells.
It’s strange now to see this issue, which we’ve been working on for a few months, finally sprout legs and amble out into the world to meet its readers. There’s a story, “Rhonda Discovers Art,” by Katherine Dunn, that I can’t wait for you to read. I think passionate fans of Geek Love will not be disappointed; Dunn is still as twisted and as genius as she was in 1989.
The summer issue also includes a stunning portfolio by Jeff Antebi of bonfires shot at night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He says, “the fires seem almost like sentient creatures coming alive of their own free will, and staying awake as long as they care to.”
Did you know that R. Crumb saw God in a dream in 2000? It’s true. He talks to Ted Widmer about his vision, his work habits, his influences—from early TV to Norman Rockwell, LSD to Donald Duck—in the first Art of Comics interview in our fifty-seven-year history. I won’t rattle off the entire TOC, but I hope you enjoy the issue. It’s full of surprises.
This is the second installment of Maud Newton’s culture diary. Click here to read part 1.
8:07 A.M. I don’t work on Wednesdays, but I’m up early anyway, mildly hungover and with tea in hand, to write. The dinner scene looks clunkier now; commence line-edits.
9:30 A.M. Online grazing: Garrison Keillor publishes an infuriating death-of-publishing op-ed. Kingsley Amis argues that Keats isn’t a great poet. Graydon Carter says that Kingsley Amis was “an accomplished womanizer, drinker, and conversationalist” who was “funny and raffishly rude, and had the thinnest, whitest skin I’ve ever seen on a man—like a condom filled with skim milk.” The NYPL and the Brooklyn and Queens library systems are beginning major layoffs; protest by joining the postcard campaign.
10:30 A.M. More writing, further consultation of Memento Mori.
12:30 P.M. For lunch: bagel with tomato, onion, lox, and cream cheese. I’ve set aside a little time here because I’m excited to take a look at the galley for my friend Amitava Kumar’s A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, about the U.S. terrorism-detection machine/industry.
2:00 P.M. Back to work on my novel draft.
8:12 P.M. After six hours’ work, I’m feeling more optimistic about the way all the hullabaloo with the dogs leads into the dinner scene.
8:45 P.M. Sushi and drinks with Max. Lately when I drink gin, I’ve been doing it Kingsley Amis’s preferred way, with a little ice, lemon, and water. It’s growing on me. I don’t know why I’m drinking the things he and Muriel Spark did.
11:00 P.M. Time for another episode of Damages (second of Season Two).
1:23 A.M. Amis on owing to/due to: Never say “Due to lack of interest, the carol service has been cancelled”—only “Owing to…”
A director’s take on the 2010 World Cup.
If you want to have a successful World Cup you have to have one team that you absolutely want to win. Three is even better. Five is fantastic. More than seven and you’ll start to have trouble keeping them straight.
Herewith, a few guidelines/ground rules:
- Everyone is required to support Brazil, it is absolutely the done thing.
- It is never ever OK to root for the oppressor over the oppressed—really, how terrible a person are you to want Portugal to beat Angola or France to dispatch Senegal? Hasn’t enough harm been done already? (And so, despite the global love affair with Obama, everyone, all the billions watching around the world, wants the US to lose.)
- You can simply follow the team of the country that issued your passport. This puts you in the category of fan, which means you must be willing to enter into arguments with people who don’t like your country about the relative merits of both soccer and national style. I would caution against going too far down this road. It leads to something that feels a lot like politics, which is much less fun than soccer and has, historically, led to many more bouts of hooliganism.
- Or you can support both your country of passport and your country of familial origin. Let’s say you’re Italian-American: Italy is much more likely to win than the US so the odds on your happiness have just improved. (Plus if the Italians win, as they did last time, you have something to crow about over all your friends.) This strategy merits consideration even if the country before the hyphen doesn’t have a prayer but does have a reputation for likeability and a certain grooviness among the fan base. There is nothing better to be at the World Cup than Cameroon—nobody knows anything about the place, but the word itself rolls nicely off the tongue and whenever the camera cuts to the crowd, they seem to be having a good time. Everyone likes Cameroon.
9:47 A.M. Wake early (for a Sunday). I still haven’t replaced the French press that shattered week before last, so I make tea the Muriel Spark way: warming the pot first, measuring out loose leaves, drinking from china. Absurdly precious, I know, but I give myself a pass because, really, if you’re going to start the day without coffee, you’re going to need to distract yourself somehow.
10:15 A.M. Pick up Memento Mori for dialogue inspiration and involuntarily become engrossed again. If I read to the end, that will make four times in as many months.
10:45 A.M. Open novel draft file on laptop.
10:48 A.M. Embark on the inevitable Sunday morning boondoggle: the outline is not only possible, but imperative. Purchase and download an iPad note-taking application. Pass an hour training myself to write with index finger.
11:55 A.M. Outline the story in this fashion.
12:45 P.M. Email PDF of “handwritten” outline to myself; notice how late it’s getting; castigate myself for wasting weekend writing time.
1:00 P.M. Return, with egg sandwich, to draft. Assemble revisions and notes. Set MacFreedom to shut down Internet access for four hours. Begin writing.
2:00 P.M. Half the day is gone now. Resume work on novel; work diligently for four-and-a-half more hours.
7:00 P.M. Max (husband) suggests leaving the apartment before the sun goes down. We walk to the local market and buy fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, and chocolate—the five major food groups.
9:30 P.M. Dread resumption of office job in the morning. Regret all choices and circumstances that have led to necessity of having a day job. Recall A.O. Scott’s hilarious (yet sympathetic) indictment of Generation X in last week’s “Week in Review” piece on Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask. Track it down and reread. Reflect on the ultimate pointlessness of trying to escape the slacker mindset.
9:40 P.M. Begin drinking (bourbon).
10:45 P.M. Sit down with Max to watch the first episode of the second season of Damages, which arrived yesterday courtesy of Netflix.
11:55 P.M. Get into bed. (So virtuous! So old.) Start into Kingsley Amis’s The King’s English, his (out-of-print) guide to modern usage.
Thank you, Mike Leaverton, for your notice in SF Weekly about our event at The Booksmith in San Francisco next Monday, June 14. (Hope to see you there!) And thank you, too, for the opportunity to clarify a few things about the legend of the Paris Review slush pile. Your version went like this:
The Paris Review throws all unsolicited submissions, three-pointer style, into an ancient, fire-belching potbellied stove, which a soot-covered intern, such as Philip Roth (Summer, 1946) or Don DeLillo (Fall, 1952), keeps eternally lit for this very purpose.
While we do receive more than a thousand fiction submissions every month, we don’t use them to heat our office, or to play trash-can basketball. We read them all, every single one, before burning (or sending back via SASE).
In fact, the summer issue, which hits newsstands and mailboxes next week, includes a story, “Elk Stalled in Snow,” by Chaz Reetz-Laiolo, who came to our attention through a slush submission. Mr. Reetz-Laiolo will join me at The Booksmith on Monday night, along with photographer Jeff Antebi and poet Matthew Zapruder.
And just one more thing: Philip Roth was never a Paris Review intern. But his story, “Conversion of the Jews,” was plucked from, yes, the slush pile, by Rose Styron in 1958. The odds might be long but, like you, we’re always dreaming of the jackpot.