M Train by Patti Smith

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I don’t tend to read memoirs, but I picked this one up after having read excerpts from her previous book, Just Kids. I haven’t found a book that kept me this excited from beginning to end since maybe Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich, even though it didn’t quite deliver all the goods, but that’s another write-up I probably won’t get to. 

Smith’s book travels as much as she does, across continents, from New York, to Iceland, to Morocco, to Berlin, to Japan; from the West Village to Rockaway Beach; from the present to her time in Michigan raising a family with Fred “Sonic” Smith, former guitar player for the MC5 who died of heart failure in 1994. She mentions many of her favorite things in great detail—Arctic exploration, cafés, Japanese film, favorite authors whose works she’ll read in their entirety, it seems, references to lives of other artists. Memories of her late husband are the most engaging parts of the book, because they seem to me the most personal.

I was left with a renewed sense that the world is a place to explore, and there are many things to do, many things to be excited about, even when we lose people and places we love and move on to other things. These experiences might not necessarily be the same for me or for you as for Smith, but her book makes the world feel like a playground that we should all try to visit with the same sense of wonder and excitement she does.

 

 

Next Sackett Street Event: The Realities of Publishing, 6/27

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This is happening 7pm at BookCourt, Monday June 27.

Appearing:
Jennifer Baker (Moderator)
Todd Hunter
Ebony LaDelle
Diana Pho
Connor Goldsmith
Stephanie Jimenez
On the Docket: 
Audience Q&A
Panel Discussion

Join Sackett Street Writers Workshop and the Minorities in Publishing podcast for a discussion and Q&A with publishing professionals.

About the Event:

What exactly is the difference between marketing and publicity? Will my editor hate me if I need more time on edits? What will an agent expect when I sign with them? How do I query an agent? How do I even get my foot in the door of publishing? Questions like these along with many others will be tackled in “The Realities of Publishing” talk moderated by Jennifer Baker (creator of Minorities in Publishing, production editor) with Todd Hunter (editor, Atria Books), Ebony LaDelle (marketing manager, Simon & Schuster), Diana Pho (editor, Tor), Connor Goldsmith (literary agent, Fuse Literary Agency), and Stephanie Jimenez (associate publicist, Riverhead Books) on their experiences as well as what to expect as someone climbing the ranks in publishing or as a writer entering the business. A Q&A will be held after the panel and wine will be served.

Latest Sackett Street Event: MFA vs. NYC at BookCourt, 9/14

Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop
Mon Sep 14, 7:00PM

Host(s): 
Julia Fierro

Appearing: 
Alexander Chee
Rob Spillman
Hannah Tinti
Jessica Loudis

On the Docket: 
Panel Discussion
Drinks Served

Can you live in Brooklyn and learn to write? Will getting an MFA truly make you the writer you always wanted to be? Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop Founder Julia Fierro hosts a panel discussion about the differences between the lessons learned from living and writing in Brooklyn and those gained from an MFA. Joining her on the panel are Alexander Chee (Queen of the Night, forthcoming from HMH), Rob Spillman (editor of Tin House), Hannah Tinti (founder and editor of One Story), and Jessica Loudis (critic and freelance writer) to offer their take.

1st Annual Queens Lit Fest, August 1–2

InspiredWordNYC presents a celebration of grassroots literary arts in the New York City borough of Queens – the first annual Queens Lit Fest @ LIC Bar. 

When: Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2, 2015

Time: 11am-5pm both days (open mic sign-up starts @ 11am)

Where: LIC Bar
45-58 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City, Queens, NY 11101
http://www.licbar.com/

Age Limit: 21+ (must bring valid ID)

Admission: FREE

RSVP now! And please SHARE on social media with the hashtag #QueensNYCLitFest.

Next Sackett Street Reading, 7/13

This is at 7pm, at BookCourt:

Editors from NYC publishing houses talk about what really goes into the complex process of creating a book.

Brenda Copeland, Executive Editor, St. Martin’s Press
Emily Graff, Editor, Simon & Schuster
Anya Lichtenstein, Editor, St. Martin’s Press
Maya Ziv, Editor, Harper Collins

Author Bio(s):

Brenda Copeland is an Executive Editor at St. Martin’s Press, where she has worked since 2010.  Brenda publishes a vibrant mix of fiction and non-fiction, from the commercial to the literary, and looks for strong stories told with a strong voice.  Current authors include Matthew Dicks, author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Ann Leary, author of The Good House, and Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives. Over the course of her career Brenda has published such bestselling authors as Dean Koontz, Claire Cooke, Cecily Von Ziegesar, Melissa de la Cruz, as well as Gotham and Deepak Chopra. Brenda teaches book editing at New York University and has a weakness for cheese.

Emily Graff is an editor at Simon & Schuster. She previously worked as an editorial assistant at The Penguin Press. Recent and forthcoming titles include Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes by Dominique Ansel, The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella, and Tales from the Back Row by Amy Odell. She is acquiring books across genres, including literary and upmarket commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, food, and memoir. She graduated with honors from Harvard College.

Anya Lichtenstein came to St. Martin’s Press as an editorial intern. After a second summer at Macmillan working at Picador, she made her way back to SMP, initially as a publicist. She’s back to editorial these days, and is the U.S. editor of bestselling Israeli author Yochi Brandes. Anya is acquiring in all sorts of categories, from accessible literary fiction and upmarket and commercial women’s fiction to narrative nonfiction with a quirky, feminist, or Jewish voice and pop-science that fixates on a singular topic.

Maya Ziv knew she wanted to work in publishing from the day her aunt, an editor at Scribner at the time, took her to “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” A Manhattan native, Maya began her career as an intern at Brandt & Hochman. After a year and a half on the agent side at Brandt & Hochman, she moved over into editorial at HarperCollins. An editor now, she has been with the company for more than six years.

Kelly Braffet Interviewed in The Los Angeles Review of Books

How do you keep the reader interested as the story unfolds?

That’s the six-million-dollar question. I think it’s a question of pacing and tension. You have to keep the story moving, quickly enough that nobody gets frustrated and slowly enough that you have time to build the world, to make the story full-fleshed and evocative. And there’s also the matter of controlling what the reader knows and when they know it. When I’m writing a book I sort of think of it as a dark ride at a carnival: over here there are some dangly things to brush against your face in the dark, but down the line the car spins around and a skeleton jumps out. You have to make sure all of your creeps are creepy and all of your surprises are surprising.

I love this analogy of the dark ride at the carnival. You can read the whole interview here.

Paul Bowles’ Paris Review Interview

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Paul Bowles, The Art of Fiction No. 67

I’ve read this before several times, I think. I don’t know what drew me to it today, but it might be a longing for something foreign. Life in Tangier as an American ex-pat qualifies. In it, I’m drawn today to Bowles’ admission that he has no ego, no ambition. And that if he did, he would have returned to New York. He also states that he never thought of himself as having a career after he quit his career as a composer. He never thought of having an unconventional marriage, and it was never discussed with his wife, Jane. He never thinks or plans, but allows things to happen to him. He writes from a place, he says, that is not himself. He doesn’t own what he writes. And everything he writes is completely fabricated, he says. He doesn’t model characters after people he knows. He doesn’t write if he doesn’t feel like it.

Sackett Street at Books Beneath the Bridge Tomorrow at 7pm

Offsite: Brooklyn Bridge Park
Books Beneath the Bridge
Mon Aug 11, 7:00PM

Host(s):
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Appearing:
Marie-Helene Bertino
Scott Cheshire
Robin Black
Julia Fierro

Courtney Elizabeth Mauk

On the Docket:
Reading
Audience Q&A
Book Signing

Marie Helene-Bertino is the author of Safe as Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize. An Emerging Writer Fellow at New York’s Center for Fiction, she has spent six years as an editor and writing instructor at One Story. A Philadelphia native, she currently lives in Brooklyn.

Scott Cheshire earned his MFA from Hunter College. He is the interview editor at the Tottenville Review and teaches writing at the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. His work has been published in Slice, AGNI, Guernica and the Picador anthology The Book of Men. He lives in New York City.

Robin Black is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, a finalist for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including One Story, Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and the anthology The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I. A recipient of fellowships from the Leeway Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, Black was the 2012 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bryn Mawr College and has taught most recently in the Brooklyn College MFA Program. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.

Julia Fierro is the founder of The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, which has been a creative home to over 2000 writers since 2002. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow, her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Millions, Flavorwire, and other publications, and she has been profiled in The L Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The Observer and The Economist. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two children.

Courtney Elizabeth Mauk is the author of the novel Spark. Her short work has appeared in The Literary Review, PANK, and FiveChapters, among others. She is an assistant editor at Barrelhouse and teaches at The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and The Juilliard School. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.