Lauren Acampora Recommends...

“When I feel uninspired or uncertain about my work—especially when struggling with self-doubt and falling prey to comparisons with better writers—I find it helpful to think about art. I remind myself that, just as there’s room for a wide variety of visual art to coexist, there’s room for a wide variety of fiction to coexist without ranking. We can love Rembrandt and also Paul Klee; we can admire both Vincent van Gogh and Louise Bourgeois without ever dreaming of comparing them. In the same vein, we can love both Don DeLillo and Lydia Davis, Charles Dickens and Kelly Link. We can admire and appreciate those who work big and those who work small. Our reading lives are enriched by the expansive, the economical, and the comical. We love George Saunders and want him to keep being George Saunders, not try to be Charlotte Brontë. Just remembering this—and maybe taking a peek at a weird or original piece of art—reassures me that there’s room for the whole cornucopia, and that an idiosyncratic vision or style can be worth cultivating. I’m reminded that it’s okay to be myself on the page, to do my own thing, and not worry too much about being as good as anyone else.”
—Lauren Acampora, author of The Paper Wasp (Grove Press, 2019)