Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 81

DA: He would say, “If you want to get somewhere in this biz you gotta be ruthless.” And I can appreciate a ruthless review that points out things that other people were ignoring, but I saw no reason to be that kind of ruthless. Now, I really can’t say that I find a use in it except that it does get a lot of attention. That I see over and over again people making their remuneration by tearing down other people. It’s the fastest way to get attention and recognition, especially if you can say something really cutting that people will remember.

JGH: for writers trying to break through? that we haven’t already said?

DA: I think the most important thing is what I said earlier, which is to write about your own passion. But the other thing is, which is very very difficult to do, but go where you’re most afraid, go where you break a sweat, but mostly go to a place where you actually question your own assumptions.

JGH: Yes! Come at if from a new perspective...come in from the other view.

DA: Yes, yes! Which is so hard when everybody is so defensive and confrontational, but so rarely self-critical. Have respect. Respect is the essential thing.

JGH: Yeah, to at least hear the perspective and to come at it from their point of view.

DA: Or at least make the effort.

Dorothy asks me about the journal and has this to say about how she cut her teeth.

DA: I think that one of the things that shaped me as a writer, is that I did volunteer with so many little magazines. I’m talking about 1971/ 72 when there were a lot of experimental, alternative journals being published, and, I know you’re not going to know what this means, but we were printing on mimeograph machines.