Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Foer Interview

Here is an old Jonathan Safran Foer interview back from when he was 26, a little while after he had published "Everything is Illuminated." The most illuminating part of the interview is talking about how his bestselling novel barely got published.

JSF: That's one of those cases when an ellipsis is infinitely valuable. You know, I didn't write my book in a week.

RB: That was being claimed?

JSF: Yeah. I didn't come out of nowhere. That's one of those beautiful and romantic myths, which is, in fact, really ugly in the way that it's not true. I wasn't some naive person that wrote a book and the next thing he knew it was on the bestseller list. I was rejected by numerous agents and rejected by numerous publishers, and it's so important for people to know that because…

RB: You have to suffer to sing the blues.

JSF: No, it's not that I am saying that I deserve where I am. I am saying that a lot of young writers conflate commercial failure with artistic failure. And they think, "If I had written a novel like that than I would be successful." Well, it’s just not true. I was a half a degree from never publishing my book. I just got a great ride. I got really lucky. I kind of hit the lottery. But it could have been another way and it was another way for a while.

Read the full interview here:


Blogger KTB said...

So encouraging Matt, thanks. Sometimes I'm afraid at the end of this MFA degree will come nothing. No published book, no professorship job. And the truth is? That might be what happens. At least for awhile. I just need things like this to keep reminding me that doesn't mean I'm a failure. And rejection letters from lit mags, like the one I got yesterday, don't mean my poetry sucks. Thanks Hadji.

11:09 AM | Permalink  

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