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May 8, 2014 5:01 PM   Subscribe

"I decide I should really read this Updike biography from cover to cover right now if I want this essay to be worth reading." Heather Havrilesky (of the fantastic Ask Polly) on How to Write.
posted by Sebmojo (20 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

Ha! This is really great.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:29 PM on May 8

As a Working Writer, this hits a wee bit too close to home.

**goes off in search of tequila**
posted by mynameisluka at 5:37 PM on May 8

Awful lot of first person singular. Followed mostly by second person singular referring back to said first person singular. For me, myself, I found it kind of distracting.

But that's just me.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:50 PM on May 8

Oh god. I don't know if I can look at this at this stage of my life.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:04 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

This is great, too.
posted by maudlin at 6:36 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]

Heather Havrilesky is totally the new Sugar, over at The Hairpin. She's doing awesomely on that advice column. Blows my mind on a weekly basis and I'm still rehashing two columns in my head quite a bit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:52 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

look the best way to write is *an arrow shoots him in the neck, he falls&
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 PM on May 8

"free copies of Ploughshares" ftw!
posted by gottabefunky at 8:32 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Needs more editor ass-kissing
posted by gottabefunky at 8:44 PM on May 8

I love her, but she seemed to joke about resenting paying for her stepson's education in a way that screamed I AM NOT ACTUALLY JOKING ABOUT THIS.
posted by kate blank at 8:59 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Whoa. Suddenly my day-to-day drudge seems shiny and doom-free.
posted by Taft at 9:34 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Haver...Havi... Havileri..

Heather from Suck really hasn't changed much over the years, has she? Except for the kids and the step child. And the becoming more of herself, distilled-like, the way we do.

You know what's missing from this? A mention that teaching pays. While the editor doesn't. Stay in school, kids!

Maybe the editor could have queried on that?
posted by notyou at 10:08 PM on May 8

It's crazy that after all these years I still remember specific "Filler" pieces she wrote. And I was never a religious follower of Suck, either. I'm very tickled she has a Terry Colon illustration on her blog.

On the other hand, I usually forget that the name Jake Tapper is familiar to me for reasons other than being a White House correspondent.

All that said, the present topic is but one in a long tradition of writers writing about not writing. I feel Thurber wrote one, but I can't find it, and I also feel if Thurber had been a woman it might have sounded a bit like this.
posted by dhartung at 12:38 AM on May 9

To me, this article is simultaneously depressing and affirming. Depressing because she seems exasperated, the industry callous, and the choice of career and concomitant lifestyle regrettable. Affirming because her experience of actually knuckling down and writing comes as hard to me as it seems to do to her—a 20-year veteran.

Fucking writing.
posted by flippant at 2:09 AM on May 9

Is that Mike Birbiglia in the photo?
posted by HumanComplex at 4:50 AM on May 9

I love this essay. My editor seems to be ignoring me at the moment. I am going to go kick a puppy.
posted by Mistress at 5:32 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]

Her...I want to drink with her.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:40 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]

It is, HumanComplex.
posted by tooloudinhere at 5:52 AM on May 9

Boy do I miss Suck.
But this is an excellent substitute.
posted by chavenet at 5:54 AM on May 9

Link for those who didn't know Heather back when she Sucked.
posted by straight at 12:10 PM on May 9

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