Hiding the Body: My Susan Sontag Story, by John Weir

Essay John Weir Adapted from a photo by Jake weirick on Unsplash Like a dead pop star, Susan Sontag left behind a lot of fans who claim they knew her. After the release last September of Benjamin Moser’s new biography, Susan Sontag: Her Life and Work, they were all over the internet, sharing stories. Writers, of course. Especially queer writers. Does every queer writer who lived in New York City and published a book sometime between 1960 and 2000 have a Sontag story? I do! Here’s mine: Eighteen years ago, shortly after she won the National Book Award for her fourth novel, In America, some of which she had been accused of plagiarizing, and a few months before she published, in the New Yorker, maybe the only response to the 9/11 attacks, in their immediate aftermath, that was worth considering, she was invited, along with John Updike and Norman Mailer, to read at Queens College CUNY, where I teach creative writing. Surely the most impressive trio of literary bigwigs of a certain era ever to read together in Flushing. Three idols. I had long regarded their work with awe and envy. In my early twenties, in the 1980s, in a studio apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, hot and airless in summer, frigid in winter, I read—eagerly, jealously—everything they wrote. I was an aspiring writer, and they were my workshop instructors and problematic literary parents. Updike’s Couples taught me how to do a party scene. Mailer’s An American... Continue reading at 'World Literature Today'

[ World Literature Today | 2020-01-07 22:09:56 UTC ]
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