Advice from Raymond Federman

I don’t remember when I got into Raymond Federman, but it was probably during the process of trying to look up every influence Mark Leyner mentioned in interviews.  If you haven’t read him, both Take it or Leave it and Double or Nothing are genius, and demonstrate his mastery of experimental narrative.  Both of those books influenced me greatly, and made me keep pushing to get Rumored to Exist done.

I found Federman’s email back in 1999, and dropped him a line, letting him know how much I appreciated his work.  I didn’t expect a reply, and was surprised when he sent this.  It’s probably the best advice I’ve ever been given, and I should probably print it out in 500-point type and paste it to the wall above my monitor.

Subject: Re: noodles
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 12:20:36 EDT

dear jon

in l966 in paris I was having lunch with the great samuel beckett and I told him that I had started a novel [it was double or nothing] and he said to me:

raymond if you write for money do something else

and after a moment of silence [very comfortable silence with sam] he added

and never compromise your work

I hope I have respected his advice

I now give it to you

write write and write some more and thensuddenly the writing will tell you if it’s finished — di not revise – jsut write between the words above the words under the words between the lines —

most important key on your computer – delete

tell the people a random house that federman has a great new novel jsut finished but he does not ocmpromise his work therefore he is not sending it to them

thanks for your good words about my work — what read the other novels too —

where did you arrive from – which planet – and what do you do to survive —

writing is like jogging – it must become an addiction – do it everyday same
place same time – except when you don;t do it

be aware that publishers are no logner interested in good writing —

more soon