Jenny Xie Recommends...

“I grow concerned when I find myself slipping into the same familiar skin while writing—when my mind reaches for the overworn but close-at-hand images, diction, syntax, and moves. To jostle myself out of my own stale rhythms, I like wading in strange, unfamiliar work and voices. For me, this means dipping into wild translations (books from Zephyr Press are favorites), old Buddhist sutras (Wisdom of Buddha: The Samdhinirmochana Sutra, translated from the Tibetan by John Powers comes to mind), aphoristic texts, critical theory, catalogues for art exhibitions, and so on. The less I hear my inner voice, the better. Even as one takes up the same subjects and preoccupations, the shape of one’s thinking gets warped when subjected to the weather of new voices and modes. Having to run your thoughts through fresh syntax and registers can be estranging—a translation of sorts. In ceding control and making room for odd, nonintuitive movements on the page, there’s an opportunity to bypass the rigidity of the conscious mind and write into self-surprise.”
—Jenny Xie, author of Nowhere to Arrive (Northwestern University Press, 2017)