Ottessa Moshfegh at Ada Books!

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Ottessa Moshfegh will appear at Ada Books on September 22nd at 6 pm for a reading of her new critically acclaimed book, Eileen. Afterward, Moshfegh will sign copies of her book and offer a Q&A session.

The novel flows through the distinctive voice of Moshfegh’s narrator, “a lonely young woman working in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the early 60s.” Over the course of the story, Eileen becomes implicated in a peculiar crime.

The New York Times Sunday Review of Books writes: “Through Eileen, Moshfegh is exploring a woman’s relationship to her body: the disconnection, the cultural claims, the male prerogative. “And at the time, I didn’t believe my body was really mine to navigate. I figured that was what men were for.” As a result, physical urges, particularly desire, repulse Eileen.”

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Read Moshfegh’s interview on Electric Literature:

EL: I wonder if you remember the debate over unlikeable characters—if women are always expected to write likeable characters, and so on. Do you have some hope for how your book might engage with that debate?

OM: I hope that people might see how ridiculously sexist that is. And it’s so boring. As an artist, I say fuck that debate. Let’s be done with it. The notion of likeability is a concern that the book industry has because there are people who read to feel nothing—people who read in order to check out. They don’t want to be disturbed by the words that they’re reading. They’re scared. The moment they feel challenged, they put down the book and review it on Amazon, “I just couldn’t get into this; it was too dark.” So when you’re selling a book and you say, this might have an effect on you, it turns off cowardly readers. I’m not concerned with those readers. It’s not my job to please people who can’t tolerate anything but lukewarm baths.

Now We Know

Inspiration is a funny thing, but recent efforts in neuroscience have begun to demystify the process (if not the product, which will forever remain wholly individual and unexpected; who knows why, when May writes about a cream factory, she is instantly reminded of her childhood show dog moss sculptures?) The brain is plastic, is shaped by its environment and experiences. Sit down with a mind to create regularly, and you’ll (by force of will and repetition) strengthen your “creative” neurological connections.

wash on the line by Zama Ree Do on Flickr

When You Don’t Feel It, Forget About Feelings

Malcolm Ashman

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”  ― Maya Angelou

And while you’re playing mind games with your muse, try some mental manipulation. If invention is the mind’s misfire, the key to inspiration lies in self-deception:  http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius?language=en