How do you write?

Rich wrote his novel in secret.
  • Transcript


Question: How do you write?

Nathaniel Rich: I wrote a big part of- of The Mayor's Tongue before I started working at The Paris Review. I did a lot of the editing while I was there, but basically I write at night if I don't go out and get too drunk, or I write- and I write on the weekends a lot. And, you know, with The Mayor's Tongue it was not an ideal situation because it was written over five or six years and there were a lot of stops and starts.

There was a- a year-- you know, at one point there was a- a year that I just took off early in the process. And when I was writing- when I was-- for a year and a half I lived in San Francisco between jobs when I was writing a book on Film Noir called San Francisco Noir, and I was writing that book in the morning, and in the afternoon I'd write the novel, but I wouldn't tell anybody about that. But that was when I did-- I was- I felt like I was wasting my- I was sort of screwing around, but I- I- actually that was definitely the most productive year in my life, or year and a half. And I wrote, you know, most of- I wrote one book- a short book on Film Noir and most of the novel in that period, and it's something I miss, but it's- my job is such that, you know, we're a literary quarterly so it's not- it doesn't have the same demand that a- a newspaper would have or even a monthly magazine. So I do have some time to myself to- to write as well.


Recorded On: 3/17/2008