In a letter I wrote last year for The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail I mentioned that for a long time my approach to writing fiction was a little bit like strangling myself while trying to sing.
I finished writing the letter as I was beginning my essay that’s just out in Harper’s, and a lot of what I said about spontaneity, authenticity, and excitement in writing stayed on my mind during the many, many months I was holed up in my apartment working on the piece.
As I really start delving into my book on the science and superstition of ancestry, I thought I’d post the letter here, both for myself and for anyone else who might like to see it.
(If you’re curious about all the letters I mention, here’s the threesome about the affair: from the other woman, from my grandfather, and from my grandmother to the other woman’s husband. And the letter concerning my grandmother’s sister, who died in the mental institution, is here.)