No one’s going to say this about my neighborhood
The link is being passed around everywhere but Sara Gran’s hysterical and to-the-bone essay about why being a writer in Brooklyn might, just might, be hazardous to your literary health is definiteliy worth a look:
Let me tell you the hard truth: Brooklyn is the worst place on earth
for a writer. The competition is fierce and sometimes deadly. The
“local authors” shelf in your bookstore has Kathryn Harrison and Paul
Auster. Take your laptop to your local coffee shop to do a little work,
and you’re likely to find Touré (“Soul City”) sitting at one end of the
counter and Norman Mailer at the other.
Jonathan Safran Foer
and Nicole Krauss might be sharing the vegetarian special at a booth in
the back, and don’t be surprised to find Colson Whitehead and Darin
Strauss commiserating about book tours over coffee and pie.
phrase “anxiety of influence” takes on a whole new meaning when your
influences are right there in the room with you, eating lunch.
Anywhere else in the country, people say, “Gee, you really
published a book?” In Brooklyn, they ask when you’re going on Charlie
Rose and if you know Jonathan Lethem. If not, end of conversation, time
to move on. Getting off the F train right now is a young woman whose
first novel was just pre-empted by Vintage for high six figures. The
New York Times Magazine is writing her profile, Marion Ettlinger is
taking her head shots, and she’s preapproved for a co-op on Prospect
You try writing a book under these circumstances.
Which is why I think I’ll stick to my neighborhood, though any move to call it “Central Park North” is wrong, wrong, wrong.