Look at trees—look at rocks—look at birds and grass and leaves. Step out briefly from the human world into the world where “I” exists, like a figure in a Chinese landscape painting, as a small point in the periphery.
In this online exclusive we ask authors to share books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired them in their writing. We see this as a place for writers to turn to for ideas that will help feed their creative process.
When I become stuck in my writing (which is to say, almost every time I try to get something onto the page), I often consider where else I experience stuck-ness and what sensations emerge in my body. Today, I am thinking about rock climbing.
All writers must engage in two major activities—composing and revising—and I’ve never met a writer who didn’t greatly favor one over the other. I love revising, which I can engage in anytime, anywhere.
Yukio Mishima was one of the most complicated and fraught figures in twentieth-century literature, and his sophomore novel, Confessions of a Mask, published in 1949, remains a classic.
I believe I became a writer when, at the age of fifteen, after staying up all night reading Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, I glanced at the acknowledgements page and saw that she’d thanked somebody who had the same unusual name as mine.
To escape the net, I need to dance it out—to return to my body and its elated improvisation. With my first book, As She Appears, it was a careful writing and, at times, a difficult one.
I rarely get stuck in my writing and that’s not a flex. I just make sure to have a bunch of options at my disposal. For one thing, I work on multiple manuscripts at the same time so I’ll always have several books I can jump into, which helps demystify the singular artifact.
I often find, while stuck in the mire of a book—when progress feels stalled—the best thing I can do is to teleport through space and time to a different part of the story.
In hip-hop there is something called a cypher. A cypher is a circle of emcees. There they “spit” or perform their best rhymes in a highly competitive and supportive atmosphere. According to the emcee Rakim from the group Erik B.
I remember the dramatic moments that nearly stopped me as I wrote my first story collection. After a tough manuscript review with a top-notch editor, I dove, seemingly irretrievably, into deep despair. I lost belief in myself. I mean, it was bad. Days dragged into weeks, my desk uninhabited.