Paul Auster visited Yale at the end of March for the Schlesinger Visiting Writer Series. They asked him a few questions.
Q: Yale is teeming with aspiring writers. Is there any golden advice that you would like to give them?
A: Don’t do it. You are asking for a life of penury, solitude, and a kind of invisibility in the world. It’s almost like taking orders in a religious sect. Writing is a disease, it’s not anything more than that. If a young person says, “You are right, it would be a stupid thing to do,” then that person shouldn’t be a writer. If a young person says, “I don’t agree with you, I will do it anyway,” alright, good luck! But you’ll have to figure it out on your own, because everyone’s path is different.
Author Jonathan Rogers was passed up by Senior Ms. America in last April's Music City Half-Marathon. It proved transformative.
Here in my forties I have gained wisdom from running that I never gained from books. To wit: I have learned never to ask, “Can I run 13.1 miles?” (the answer is probably no) but only to ask “Can I run to the next telephone pole” (the answer is probably yes). To apply this principle to my line of work, people don’t write books: they write sentences.Mark Bertrand writes about a new favorite author and the novel, Scandal, in which a Catholic novelist and public intellectual discovers he has an identical, evil double of himself. This other man is encouraging the community to believe the moral novelist is a flaming hypocrite. "The hunt for his doppelgänger," Bertrand explains, "draws him into an underworld — actually, that’s not quite right: the quest has more to do with realizing that this world is the underworld."
This appears to be the kind of thing The Shadow claimed to know: the evil that lurks in every man's heart.