ALL ROADS LEAD TO BECKETT

Knausgaard and Donald Antrim: ADVICE for YOUNG WRITERS

A report from the Hammer Reading Series

***

Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”​

Do you have any advice for young writers?

This is a question that gets asked frequently at readings and it is a kind of Generosity Test. Some writers just evade it….Donald Antrim and K. Knausgaard didn’t evade it.

Knausgaard –which I think means Image“Heart-Throb” in Norwegian, judging from the numbers of swooning women around me—even two well-known writers, sitting in front of me, were both swooning, swooning. It was slightly distracting.  But he’s sort of sublime, this Knausgaard.  “When I couldn’t write,” he said, “and my normal thing is NOT being able to write….So you write…But you must be willing to fail every day.”

Donald Antrim said something like:Donald Antrim “I write to escape time and to be calm while I’m doing it.” He said that young writers should “get ready for anxiety. To avoid anxiety is to avoid the experience. It’s going to be terror.”

Here’s a link to the fabulous demi-monde depiction of depression that Antrim read—it’s a snippet from the New Yorker, called “Fed.”

One thought on “ALL ROADS LEAD TO BECKETT”

  1. This was such a terrific duo, Mona Simpson really outdid herself with those two. Thanks for linking to the Antrim–what an amazing depiction of depression. I’m watching it at close hand right now, and he really gets it right.

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