Everything's Prose-erific

Now that we've reserved her hotel room, we have to believe that, indeed, Francine Prose is coming to Denver on September 30 to be our next Writer's Studio guest. The author of so many books I can't even order them all, Prose has already dazzled me with her willingness to take on any subject--from the academic PC culture to skinheads--and push beyond the cliché of it to find what's really interesting. When you think Blue Angel, for example, think Humbert Humbert, only he lusts after talented writers instead of pre-pubescent nymphs. And turn it around so that the object of his affection is a writer who's stealing his own life story for her novel... well, it's a helluva lot more interesting than another dirty-old-professor-afraid-of-death yarn.

You can tell the woman's brainy, and so as not to intimidate with her mental faculties, she's funny as sin. And full of interesting advice, such as this (from the Atlantic's Web site, which you can no longer access without a subscription, which seems like a terrible shame--almost as bad as the Atlantic leaving Boston and no longer publishing monthly fiction):

I used to tell my students to write every day, but I no longer say that. It
turns out to be destructive advice. You tell people to write every day and
they're consumed with guilt when they don't. So forget that. I do tell people to
be careful about whom they show their work to in its early stages. It must be
someone you trust, who has your best interest at heart. Reading constantly and
carefully is also very important. Finally, be observant. Watch what's going on
around you. Listen to people. You need to listen to people's voices, to how they
tell their stories.

Of her work as an editor at the (sadly) defunct mag Doubletake, which also underscores the poetic justice of her surname:

My experience as a writer affects my work as an editor more than the other way around. I'm a maniac about sentences and sentence structure and how things are written -- I'll rewrite something a zillion times until it shows some improvement. I expect that same meticulousness from what I'm reading and what I want to publish. I know how important and difficult careful writing is, so I think, Look, if I'm going to work that hard, everybody else ought to as well.

And one more little ditty. Living with a poet, I can appreciate the distinction she’s making:

I think poets are much more dramatic, more theatrical than fiction writers.
Poets and fiction writers cannot have the same habits. If you're working on a
novel you work every day. As Flaubert said, it's a life that requires bourgeois
habits. I can't imagine -- although the minute I say I can't imagine something,
I usually find out that it happened -- a memorial service for a fiction writer
in which people are throwing themselves on the coffin.

She's coming, everyone, so get ready now. Start reading all the Prose you can get your hands on! (Pun intended.) Oh, and save Saturday and Sunday, September 30 & October 1, for the woman herself.