“For your writing to be great—I mean great, not clever, or even brilliant, or most misleading of all, beautiful—it must be useful to the world. And for that to happen you must form an opinion of the world. And for that to happen you need to observe the world, closely and steadily, with a mind open to change. And for that to happen you have to live in the world, and not pretend that it is someone else’s world you are writing about. A tendency of modern literature is to claim, “We must love one another or die,” or “be true to one another,” or “only connect.” Sweet as such sentiments may be, they give up on the world and imply that the best way to live in it is to hide from it in one another’s embrace. Instead, you must love the world as it is, because the world, for all its murder and madness, is worth loving. Nothing you write will matter unless it moves the human heart, said the poet A. D. Hope. And the heart that you must move is corrupt, depraved, and desperate for your love.”
“It’s tempting to take comfort in generalisations, and I have. I see myself as belonging to a generation of women who were raised to believe that we could do and be whatever we wanted - by women who, by and large, had not enjoyed that freedom themselves (and who perhaps envied their daughters for it). I grew up still wanting all the old things - to be pretty, to be good, to be liked - and also wanting not to care about such things. But old habits die hard.”
We all know that Newsweek is going through hard times, but how does the staff get by? We do a story about moonshine, of course! We organized a taste-testing of “legal moonshines,” which, though oxymoronic, is the latest trend in hipster drinking. This is why journalism and alcoholism both end the same way.
“You know what also makes me happy? That I’m the first woman editor of Newsweek, which is very exciting. You know that in the 1970s, the women editors of Newsweek launched a lawsuit against the management because there were hardly any women doing anything of any consequence on the magazine. And women’s liberation took over and they hired the great lawyer, Eleanor Norton, and they went to battle for their rights. I feel that it - you know, a merger has created what the lawsuit couldn’t.”
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”