My favorite take on the news about this year’s MacArthur Fellowships comes from the New York Observer, headlined “Junot Diaz is a ‘F$%ing’ Genius” – mostly, because I’d just read last week’s New York Times interview with Diaz about his writing.
That piece warned that it had been “edited lightly for clarity and with all of Díaz’s frequent swearwords removed.” OK, it’s the Times. But it was nice to see Diaz’s personality shine through in the Observer.
That said, the pre-genius Times story offered its own golden ticket, with Diaz rattling off a list of short-story collections he admires. Michael Martone’s “Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler’s List.” Dagoberto Gilb’s collection, “The Magic of Blood.” Matt Klam, with “Sam the Cat.”
One of the great frustrations of writing around the day job is that the writing cuts into precious reading time — much like when my kids were little, and life was an exercise in sleep deprivation. Then, as now, it took me forever to read a novel in snatches of stolen time. So I turned to short stories. I remember a fat Cheever collection that got me all the way through potty training.
This time around, Diaz’s suggestions seem like good ones to start with. After all, the guy’s a f$%ing genius.
Filed Under: Writing