Bad Advice Wednesday: Listen to Ira

categories: Cocktail Hour

1 comment

So I guess this very short but hugely inspiring talk by Ira Glass has been kicking around the internet for a while. I’m posting it here anyway, in part because it basically sums up the point of about half of the couple of hundred Bad Advice pieces Bill and I have written. To some degree it is pretty standard advice, but I love the emphasis on taste, something I had honestly never thought about before. No wonder I hated my early work so much. (In my clunky, early novels, characters tended to quote Thoreau to each other.)


No one is immune to this gap by the way. Leon Edel, in his biography of Henry James, writes of the young James: “A reader of Henry’s early tales, with their blurred emotions and rage-filled soliloquies, might understandably show a preference for his book reviews and art notices.”


Why? Well, click here and let Ira tell it:



  1. M. Graham writes:

    I agree–hugely inspiring, indeed. Of course, for older beginners, it’s also a bit concerning. What if you have just enough years left to get better, but not quite enough to get published? That’s a whole other metaphysics. 🙂