Earning a Living

Margaret Atwood was a coffee-shop worker. Octavia Butler labored as a dishwasher, a telemarketer, and a potato-chip inspector, among other endeavors. Agatha Christie was part of a Voluntary Aid Detachment working at a military hospital in Devon during World War I; she was also an apothecary’s assistant. Harper Lee toiled as a ticket agent for… Read more


“What a good editor does is make your text the way you really would have wanted it to be if you had been doing it on your most disciplined, best day. It’s like Michelangelo looking at a piece of marble. There’s a shape inside it. And one of the ways to get that shape out… Read more

E.L. Konigsburg

Interviewer: Do you have any advice for people who want to be writers? E.L. Konigsburg: I always give one word, and the word is: finish. The word is finish because I think the difference between being a person of talent and being a writer is the ability to apply the seat of your pants to… Read more


“What is an essay? An essay is a work of literary art which has a minimum of one anecdote and one ‘universal idea.’ If it has no anecdote, it is at best doctrine and at worst shouting in the motel bar. If it has no universal idea, and its anecdote is autobiographical, it is at… Read more

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