“I hope your lives all go to hell”

(rather long) quote o’ the day:

[Lee} Martin himself has a directness that is often startling. At the end of our course, as the last workshop ended, he grew quiet. He said that if things in our lives went bad — if trouble came — it wouldn’t be the worst thing for our writing. We were stunned.

Martin remembers the odd send-off as something he’d heard years before. “One of my teachers at Arkansas, John Clellon Holmes, told us on the last day of a workshop something like, ‘Well, I hope all your lives go to hell.’ I can’t claim that these were his exact words, but in my memory that’s what he said. So I often pass along a form of the same to my students. Life will test you, I tell them. It will test you as a writer, and it will test you as a person. The two are never separate.”

This was, I realized later, a telegram to our older selves, deliverable in the sleepless nights that follow coarser days. It was directing us toward our own dark corners, where the real stories might lie.

–‘Where The Real World Lies’, Amos Magliocco, Poets & Writers


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