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 “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: “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.”