Writer’s Corner: Dreaming on Paper

satanicverses1Last November, Salman Rushdie gave a talk at Dartmouth about magic realism, among other things. As part of the talk, he provided an important caveat to the well-worn “write what you know” dictum: “… if what you know is interesting.”

Rushdie elaborated:

Write what you don’t know. One way to do this is to leave home and go find a good story somewhere else. The other solution is to remember that fiction is fictionable and try to make things up. We’re all dreaming creatures. Dream on paper…

Reader’s Corner: Authorial Garbage

kenlopezFor writers who are looking for another reason why they never ever need to clean up after themselves, now they have something to work with besides: “I just need to polish this chapter.” The success of literary estate bloodhounds like Ken Lopez has proven the strange marketability of all kinds of marginalia (especially “interesting paper piles”) that nobody would ever have thought made sense to hang on to. Norman Mailer sold over a thousand boxes of his odds and ends in 2005 for $2.5 million.

Also, according to the Wall Street Journal, sometimes the buyers of this margnalia (university libraries, normally) can help function as a kind of executive assistant:

In 2006, for an undisclosed amount, Salman Rushdie sold [Emory University] 200 “falling apart, crappy cardboard boxes,” as he said at the collection’s opening in 2010. After Emory’s archivists put his “mess” in order, Mr. Rushdie capitalized on their tidiness to research his own 2012 memoir.

All authors need now to ensure that their various scribblings, laundry lists, and whatnot will fetch a pretty price in the future is to become wildly beloved by critics and preferably sell a million or so copies of their work in order to achieve a profitable literary immortality. Cake.