Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

187

Money (2014)

0
terms
1
notes

Gessen, K. (2014). Money (2014). In ? (ed) MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 187-208

193

We moved to my next profound question: What do you know that no one else knows? My premise was that good writing depends on a kind of specialized knowledge—whether of some process, or some relationship, or some situation or event. If people would just tell us what actually happened! We would know so much; we would learn so much. Of Kafka’s commitment to telling the whole truth about himself and his life, Elias Canetti wrote: “A human being who offers himself to knowledge so completely is, under any circumstances, an incomparable stroke of luck.” We do not have to be Kafka—but we can at least tell one truth, or two, about our lives. As the editor of a literary magazine, I had read so many “stories”—fiction or nonfiction, it didn’t matter. They were made-up, and the more made-up they were, the more conventional. Where truth was left out or kept general, cliché filled the void. The mistake made over and over was to search for the “universal,” when (this is itself a cliché, maybe, but still) it was the specific stuff that readers wanted to know. But of course it’s not so easy to figure out what the specific stuff is. One’s life contains so many things; how are you to know which of these things is distinctive?

—p.193 by Keith Gessen 2 years, 5 months ago

We moved to my next profound question: What do you know that no one else knows? My premise was that good writing depends on a kind of specialized knowledge—whether of some process, or some relationship, or some situation or event. If people would just tell us what actually happened! We would know so much; we would learn so much. Of Kafka’s commitment to telling the whole truth about himself and his life, Elias Canetti wrote: “A human being who offers himself to knowledge so completely is, under any circumstances, an incomparable stroke of luck.” We do not have to be Kafka—but we can at least tell one truth, or two, about our lives. As the editor of a literary magazine, I had read so many “stories”—fiction or nonfiction, it didn’t matter. They were made-up, and the more made-up they were, the more conventional. Where truth was left out or kept general, cliché filled the void. The mistake made over and over was to search for the “universal,” when (this is itself a cliché, maybe, but still) it was the specific stuff that readers wanted to know. But of course it’s not so easy to figure out what the specific stuff is. One’s life contains so many things; how are you to know which of these things is distinctive?

—p.193 by Keith Gessen 2 years, 5 months ago