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September 3, 2012
At the root of all this is male sexual entitlement and the desire to control female sexuality. That has been going on since the dawn of time and it continues today in all sorts of sickly ingenious ways — from blaming women for their own sexual assaults to restricting access to birth control and abortion. It’s no surprise that as women have gained greater sexual autonomy, a certain kind of man has gotten much, much angrier. By “a certain kind of man,” I mean any man who has been poisoned by our culture’s toxic masculinity, and who doesn’t get that to which he feels so entitled (read: any woman he wants).
Gigi, 19, and Bella, 18, are the latest sisters storming the fashion industry. Their savvy and good looks are no surprise given their impressive parentage: Yolanda Foster, a former model and current Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, and real estate developer Mohamed Hadid.
Yep, we shot in April. Actually, tomorrow I’m going to finish some audio. We’re submitting it to festivals.
It is a pleasure to be in conversation with you about “The Prize.” ?As you well know, I edited your novel “The Green Hour” and also your book of stories, “Self Portraits.” ?Both these awe-inspiring works also take art and love as subjects. ?I couldn’t have written “The Prize” at an earlier time in my life. ?It represents years of my thinking about art, betrayal, marriage, desire, love and integrity, and the way in which the past shapes the present. ?It is also about how professional lives shape and affect personal life. The two are intertwined. I grew up in a suburb in Cleveland, Ohio, in a modest home. Art was always at the periphery of my life. ?My first visit as a child to the Cleveland Museum of Art was transformative. ?I loved getting lost in the paintings and thinking about history and the way in which paintings can be a conduit. When I first moved to New York City 30-some years ago I was a young poet straight out of the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. It was a shark tank and I quickly learned that there were two kinds of writers, those who?were writing out of need and necessity and those who had grander ideas about the role art should play in their own lives. When I look back I think the seeds of this novel were germinating then. Since then I’ve lived and worked in New York City at the crossroad of where art and commerce converge. It’s palpable and continually fascinating. And you’re right, the novel, while also being set in the art world, is at its heart about a long marriage and the way in which an outsider threatens the marriage. I’ve juxtaposed this more conventional marriage with a marriage between two ambitious artists. I’ve been fascinated by “power couples.” We see them everywhere, in every field whether the art world, publishing, politics. I wanted to look at these very different marriages side by side, the rewards and the fallouts. ?You know, a novel is like a painting. It gets more complicated with each layer.
One of my authors, and it very well might have been you, said that you have to show up every day for the work because if you don’t show up you won’t know what will happen. I try and show up every morning, early, before the demands of the day take hold. Of course, I can’t always, but I do my best. ?I’m incredibly disciplined, almost to a fault. When I wrote my second novel, “The Life Room,” I told myself that I would wake up every morning and write five pages in my notebook and would not read anything beyond the last two pages I’d written. I followed that course until I had a first draft. This novel was different. ?It came in spurts and then I put it aside for interrogation, and this process repeated itself again and again. Writing is not a chore. It is a necessity and a delight. I read an interview in the Paris Review recently with John Banville. He quoted Auden with the saying that a writer should be loaded with as much trauma as children as they can bear and unfortunately my childhood was filled with it and writing became a way of reckoning. I feel most myself when I’m writing. But with that said, I have as much a desire to escape from it after I’ve put in my daily hours. I’m intensely self-critical and I never feel as if what I’ve committed to paper expresses the full scope or nuance of what I’d hoped for. The self-scrutiny is tortuous, as much as a delight, and I’m happy to leave it alone and tend to my full life outside of writing. It’s a privilege to work at a publishing house in which its ideals and books we publish match my own expectations of quality and excellence. ?And it is an honor to work with writers I admire and respect.