Jay Baron Nicorvo Recommends...

“In my mid-thirties, I started jogging and, shortly thereafter, I began a new novel. My wife, Thisbe, and I had recently bought our first house in the Catskills, some three miles from Woodstock. I’d finished but failed to publish three earlier novels. I always hated jogging. I found the slog dull. Nevertheless, the new novel centered, at first, around a runner. A middle-aged ultra marathoner inspired by Diane Van Deren. After about a year of writing nearly every day, over hundreds of pages, I figured out the novel wasn’t about my runner. It was about a Borscht Belt resort and the homeless veterans who squatted there. But through it all, dumbly and Forrest Gump-like, I kept running. As my conditioning got better, I became able to think, while running, of more than that lone crucial word—breathe. I began to revise while I ran. Lines of dialogue would come to me. Or descriptions, a figure of speech, sometimes a whole scene. I’d shuffle in after four, five, six miles, and squat at my laptop to type a few notes, dripping on the keys, before I lost the thought. Some six years later, after thousands of miles, after a thousand pages sweated down to a lean, mean 358, I’ve got a first novel to show for it. Writing about running helped me to appreciate running, if not love it. I believe my running, in turn, made me a better writer. The evidence is anecdotal and may be coincidental—who knows—but I can be sure of one thing: as soon as I finish writing this, I’ll go for a run.”
—Jay Baron Nicorvo, author of The Standard Grand (St. Martin’s Press, 2017)

Photo credit: Thisbe Nissen

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