All Write Already!

A Completely Unpretentious Literary Podcast

Episode 49 – Jac Jemc, Plus Old Writing and New Regrets

January 14, 2015 by karenshimmin

65571_675799585467_309907584_nJac Jemc’s first story collection A Different Bed Every Time is newly out from Dzanc Books. Her novel My Only Wife was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Jac is the poetry editor for decomP and nonfiction editor for Hobart. In 2014 she was named as one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex.

Jac stopped by to talk about fooling herself into writing, why she prefers to leave some questions unanswered, publicly sharing her rejections, and what draws her to work in different genres.

Jac cover artIn Jac’s words:

“In fiction, you’re always trying to draw the parameters of what the world of the piece is and making all of it up as you go along, and so you want to make sure that everything is adhering to the logic that you’re creating within the story. But nonfiction allows for so much. You can just decide how many different strands you want to braid together and make it all come together in this really beautiful way… I think that’s what is exciting about nonfiction to me. The world doesn’t end. You can keep reaching farther and find all of these things that actually make sense together.”

Plus, have you ever wondered how writers feel when they go back and read their early work? Back in December, the PEN American Center held an auction of 75 first-edition books, each of which was annotated by its author. The New York Times featured images from each of these books, as well as longer meditations by Philip Roth, Lydia Davis, George Saunders, Robert Caro, Marilynne Robinson, Jennifer Egan, and Junot Díaz on the experience of going back to re-read a book they had published years ago. Reading what these highly successful writers had to say about the works that, in many cases, got their careers going made us wonder what it would be like to return to our own early work. Since we have not been publishing for the last 50 years (like Philip Roth), this meant we had to return to work from an even more embarrassing time in our writing lives: college.

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