David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

“Everyone Needs a Reader. I Just Happen to Be Married to Mine”

Question: Do you and your husband ever \r\ncritique each other’s\r\nworks in progress?


Siri Hustvedt: Always, actually.  We both read to each other during the\r\ncourse of the book.  When Paul's\r\nwriting a novel, he reads to me at intervals of about a month, month and\r\n a\r\nhalf, two months, something like that. \r\nAnd he will take a batch of the story, read it to me aloud, and \r\nlisten\r\nto what I have to say. 


Earlier in my life as a writer, I had a tendency to\r\n hoard my\r\nmanuscripts from Paul and not show him anything until  I had a complete \r\ndraft.  And then he would usually read it\r\nsilently and talk to me afterwards. \r\nIn the last few years, the last three books, I've read to him as \r\nI'm\r\ngoing along, chunks of 50 to 70 pages, and get his\r\n feedback.  So,\r\nthis is very important to us. \r\nEveryone needs a reader. \r\nAnd I just happen to be married to mine and he happens to be \r\nmarried to\r\nhis. 


The good thing about the two of us is that I and he\r\n are very\r\nfree to be brutal if we feel it's necessary.  And I\r\n think that all works because there's an essential\r\nrespect always of the project of the other person, so what you're really\r\ntalking about is, "Does this help the overall project, or is there a \r\nweakness\r\nhere.And I don't think that in\r\neither case we've ever rejected the other person's suggestions.  I have resisted a couple of times, but\r\nin the end I think he's always been right.  And I \r\nhad—with one novel he read me three endings before\r\nI thought he hit on the one that really worked.


Question: How do you discipline yourself \r\nto overcome the challenges of writing?


Siri Hustvedt: I'm better at this now.  I've always been extremely disciplined\r\nin the sense that I can wake up early, sit at my desk and work for hours\r\n and\r\nhours every day.  This is never\r\nbeen a problem.  What I've\r\nunderstood as the years have gone on is that the best place for me \r\nanyway for\r\nme to be when I'm writing, is in a state of great relaxation and \r\nopenness.  And I think when you're in that state\r\nall kinds of unconscious material can become available.  For\r\n me, the danger is being tight,\r\nbeing constipated, in a sense.  And\r\nthat will create constipation. \r\nThat will create a day of looking at a paragraph, erasing it, \r\nwriting\r\nanother one and getting rid of that.


And I think of this as a state of play, that you \r\nreally are\r\nopen to the creative possibilities of what will happen, what can happen.  And both, I think, both playing in\r\nchildren and fantasizing in teenagers. \r\nI don't know—you're much closer to your teenage years then I am, \r\nbut\r\nthose years are particularly prone to all kinds of fantasies, especially\r\n about\r\nthe future, you know, what am I going to do.  Oh, \r\nthe beloved. \r\nAll kinds of fantasies.  And\r\nI think that writing novels comes straight out of those two... first the\r\nchildhood play and then the adolescent fantasy to making art.  But that the process is very similar.  And\r\n you need to be open, loose and let\r\nyourself play in order for the work to happen.

The novelist on having a fellow author (Paul Auster) as a spouse, and the state of mind that’s essential to good writing.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less