PhD student living in Washington, D. Don DeLillo's Point Omega, she told me.
She had been asked to discuss craft. She did not discuss craft. What would be the point, she Joy williams writer, to discuss the craft of Jean Rhys, Janet Frame, Christina Stead, Malcolm Lowry, all of whose works can teach us little about technique, and whose way of touching us is simply by exploding on the lintel of our minds.
It is not technique that guided them. Their craft consisted of desire. We are American writers, absorbing the American experience. We must absorb its heat, the recklessness and ruthlessness, the grotesqueries and cruelties. We must reflect the sprawl and smallness of America, its greedy optimism and dangerous sentimentality.
We might have something then, worthy, necessary; a real literature instead of the Botox escapist lit told in the shiny prolix comedic style that has come to define us.
She smiled, thanked the audience, and sat. There were no questions. The novel, her first, would be nominated for the National Book Award when its author was thirty. She went on to write three more eerie, eccentric novels of life on the American margins as well as four renowned collections of stories, upon which her reputation solidly rests.
They are, as Williams probably hoped, unteachable as craft.
Now she divides the seasons between Arizona, Florida, and New England, crisscrossing the country in an old Ford Bronco with two sable-black German shepherds, writing in motels or as the occasional guest of a college. She uses a flip phone. She types postcards in lieu of e-mail.
She has never owned a computer. She continues to wear the same prescription sunglasses, indoors or out, night or day. She was a writer-in-residence at the University of Wyoming when this interview was arranged.
It was October; snow whipped between the ranges like a sandstorm, while several big rigs had jackknifed on black ice coming into Laramie. I phoned from a coffee shop, and she gave me directions: Williams was staying in a red-roofed log cabin with a porch swing and fire pit.
Everything about the wintry scene felt germane to this particular artist: Huddled in a hoodie, Williams made coffee with almond milk before sitting across from me at a pine table.
She got up several times to retrieve objects or fuss with the dogs.
When the talk was over, she drove us into town for a martini and we returned after dark. There was a fat moon.
Is there a philosophy you try to impart? Well, it could also be intimidating.English department hosts novelist and short story writer for two-day Visiting Writers series.
Download Media Advisory. On Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26, Hillsdale College will host author Joy Williams as part of its annual Visiting Writers Series presented by the English Department.
Joy Williams is the author of four short story collections and four novels. The compressed—almost meditative—sections of her most recent work, Ninety-Nine Stories of God, were written partially as an homage to Thomas Bernhard’s The Voice Imitator.
Williams is the author of four novels and five collections of stories, including most recently The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories () and Ninety-Nine Stories of God (). She has also published a highly regarded volume of essays and a travel guide to the Florida Keys.
Williams is a brilliant writer, and the book is laced with exquisite lines, many startling and some bizarrely funny — but it all comes to naught, in a quite deliberate way.
Joy Williams (born February 11, ) is an American author of fiction. The legendary writer Joy Williams returns to Books on the Park to discuss her collection, Ninety-Nine Stories of God (Tin House).
Praise for Joy Williams: “Joy Williams has been enlightening us for a very long time about the short story but now in her collected stories we .