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Delany interviews Russ

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At WisCon last year, Samuel R. Delany interviewed Joanna Russ by telephone; I was sad to miss the event, but now Broad Universe has posted a transcript of the interview.

I mention this partly because one of the things they talk about briefly, and then return to later, is the question of how writers can make a living--the difficulties of being a full-time writer, and the different difficulties of trying to hold down a day job while writing. Late in the interview they discuss this specifically with regard to teaching, which I thought some of y'all might find interesting. Sadly, they don't provide any Magical Answers that will solve the problem.

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Thanks for posting this, Jed. And yes, timely!

My impression is that the balance didn't really work all that well for Russ. She tried to keep up with teaching, but had to shake her head sadly and say no to things and/or teach the same class over and over again OR she had to say no to the new novel ideas. And now she's got chronic fatigue syndrome and hasn't written for ten years. In the interview, she seems happy enough with where she's at, but I wouldn't call it a story with a happy ending.

And so I take it as a cautionary tale...


Yeah, that was my impression as well, unfortunately. Sorry if my phrasing was misleading--I think in my rush to post and to phrase it cleverly, I wasn't as clear as I meant to be.

And Delany says he hasn't found that balance yet either.

But they also note that it can be hard to make a living on just writing, too, especially if it results in deadline pressure. A difficult conundrum. People do find approaches that work for them, one way or another, but it's hard.


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