This week—in the spirit of candidness, “zigzag paths,” and the ways in which “shoulds” affect our writing and reading lives (and vice versa)—members of the Bloom staff share their “Unread Classics.”
One day I walked into a therapist’s office, one with whom I’d awkwardly run out of things to talk about, and I told her the only thing really bothering me was a story I was writing and would she mind, if it wasn’t insulting or illegal or whatever, if we spent the session analyzing a fictional character (Kat). She said sure and set her timer.
by Lisa Peet
These stories are a memento mori for difficult lives: As I am, so could you be, far more easily than you can imagine. Clever, and darkly funny, This Is Not an Accident is also mournfully intelligent about the human condition.
by Vicraj Gill
“There are people . . . like me . . . who seem to stay latent until a suppressed vocation gene is switched on by the attainment of some appropriate life stage. I remember registering the following thought: now that I’ve waited out the lived part of my life, my real work can finally begin.”
When I was 49, I thought, “You know, I’ve always wanted to go into the Peace Corps. Maybe I don’t really need to be writer; maybe this isn’t meant to be.” So I downloaded Peace Corps applications. I found that they did take old people. And I was really thinking about doing a whole other change in my life.
It was always clear I could conjure up better characters than the imperfect ones I met on the job, that the battles I am able to create are far more dramatic than the ones I took part in (not least because my own perspective, both as a war reporter and as a soldier, was rarely further than two hundred yards, and much unimproved by mortal fear).
by Lisa Peet
He had finished his first [novel] when he was 23. The book was never published, nor were the next three. Eventually, as he puts it, “the noise of the hungry bellies of my kids used to keep me up at night.” So he got a real job, this time as a war correspondent.