This Thing Is A Lot Like That Thing

There's something vaguely diabolical about Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious. The basic concept is that you hide good-for-you things like spinach and sweet potatoes in yummy things like brownies and mac & cheese. Except 1) People say her recipes are actually disgusting and 2) She may have stolen the ideas from another lady who thought of those gross combinations first. We smell another Frey-gate. Oprah is going to shit bricks now!

We're also extremely disturbed by this Raymond Carver debate that's been happening in literary circles over the past week. While it might seem tantalizing to read What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in its original form, we're pretty sure we wouldn't like it as much. Republishing it: not a good idea. This whole situation brings to mind a lot of questions about the editor-writer relationship and the idea of "making a literary legend." Who would Gordon Lish be without Carver's concepts, his words, his story ideas? Where would Carver be without Lish's ruthless red pen? More to the point, why is Tess Gallagher so hell-bent on showing the world a product that probably isn't nearly as good as it turned out to be in final form? Carver may not have been the brilliant minimalist he's pegged as in literary history, but clearly, he had issues with the style he is credited with inventing:

Also in the Lilly Library is a seven-page letter, dated July 8, 1980, which Carver wrote to Mr. Lish as he readied “What We Talk About” for the printing presses. In it Carver pleaded with Mr. Lish, “Please do the necessary things to stop production of the book.”

Tricky, tricky. Being edited is a difficult, often very painful process, but the truth is--for the most part--the work almost always benefits from it. Although, doesn't the author have a right to his own legacy? This whole situation is just so CARVER-y though--the drama, the darkness, the uncertainty. God, we need a drink! And a cigarette. Except we don't smoke. SIGH.

Final thought: In J-school, a professor we had, who spent years writing features for the Wall Street Journal and had two non-fiction titles (that actually sold well!) under his belt told us that he didn't know shit about writing a book until his editor "taught" him how. As in, they had a lot of conversations about the subject and the pitch and the this and the that, and over the course of their relationship, he learned how to write the book he wanted to write--from his editor. Who else is doing this? How far does it actually go?

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