Thursday, June 5, 2008
On Trusting Yourself
"The Sportswriter was released as a paperback original by Vintage Contemporaries in 1986 and was named one of the five best books of the year by Time magazine. A PEN/Faulkner finalist, it sold over sixty thousand copies (total sales have tripled since then, and Knopf has recently reissued the novel in hardcover for the first time). Indeed, it was the breakthrough book Ford needed, but early on, he almost didn’t finish it. A well-known, flamboyant editor at Knopf had seen the first one hundred fifty manuscript pages and said Ford should forget about the novel. “He told me I should put those pages in the drawer and go back to writing what I knew best. I guess he meant the South, or maybe he meant stories set in Montana. Anyway, he was wrong. I spent six months after our conversation fretting and brooding about his ‘advice,’ and not writing. But finally I just said, Well, this is the book I’ve chosen to write. I don’t actually harbor any bad feelings about that. He had the right to be wrong, and he thought he was giving me good advice. You just can never tell, though, how a young writer will develop.”"