Soon and very soon…

…I’ll be starting a Kickstarter campaign on behalf of my latest assault on mortality. Trying to get it put together before this thing starts on Thursday. (“I got your future of the Catholic literary imagination right here.”) But in the meantime, the New Yorker has the third chapter of Joseph Mitchell’s unpublished memoir, which prompted this very interesting response from our friend Mr. Elie.

UPDATE: Zadie Smith weighs in!


  1. Funny what you learn… I thought I was the only one who stopped doing that sort of thing and feel guilty for doing it. In fact, it may be that Elie and I stopped at pretty much the same time. 96 sounds ‘about right.

    • “feel guilty for doing it” – that is guilty for no longer doing what I was doing – keeping a journal.

      OK. Enough.


  2. Quin Finnegan says

    Very interesting indeed. The day, or at least the year, I gave up writing the diary is when I began writing the novel.

    Am I alone in preferring “diary” to “journal”? To my ears, a journal is one of those things filled with articles by many different writers and suitable, really, for publication only. As in “Lady’s Home” or “New England Medical”. When I hear “diary” I think of Kafka and Gombrowicz … and twelve year old girls, true, but then even that seems a plus to me.

  3. Why blame the journal when depression was clearly the first mover?

    Through the lens of Elie’s own experience, indeed. He who is too writerly to keep a lowly journal does not resist the temptation to view others through his own neurosis and prejudice.

  4. Not to mention, Mitchell only got to chapter 3 of his memoir? Narcissist.

    I’ll bet you a dollar Elie has at least three volumes of pre-1996 personal history awaiting a time of …ripeness.

    I have no patience for this, “and then I became a writer” talk. Because you quit thinking about yourself? Ha ha.

  5. Duffer,

    You made me want to pick up my vellum and fountain pen again…!


  6. UDPATE: If I wrote like Zadie recommends – well, jail would only be the beginning of it…


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