Darcey Steinke is the author of the novel Sister Golden Hair, which was on best-of lists at Vogue, Flavorwire, the Millions, the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, and Electric Literature; she also wrote Easter Everywhere and Up Through the Water — both New York Times Notable Books – and Milk, Jesus Saves, and Suicide Blonde. With Rick Moody, she co-edited Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her WORK has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GRANTA, The Boston Review, Vogue, Spin Magazine, THE RUMPUS, SALON.COM, THE Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Guardian. Her web-story “Blindspot” was a part of the 2000 Whitney Biennial. She has been a Henry Hoyns Fellow, a Stegner Fellow, and a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.
Darcey Steinke! Do you ever publish your work without compensation or for a nominal fee? If so, why, and how do you feel about doing it?
All writers work for free sometimes. If the project is interesting and not too time-consuming I will work for free. Also, many of the great innovative works made no money and were on very small presses, like Ulysses.
Does your craft alone provide you with a livelihood?
No. I teach as well and do magazine work.
If you have to hold a day job to supplement your income, or just make a living at all, do you feel you have as much time as you need to write?
I write no matter what I do. There is no excuse for not writing. No matter how much work you have. You can always make twenty minutes, or 30, or 60 a day to write. Even ten!
How do you know for sure when something in your work still needs another revision?
I rewrite all my work many, many times. Like 40 maybe or even 50.
When revising something in your work, how do you know for sure when it’s truly time to stop?
I show it to a few people and rework again and show it to a few people and rework again.
Do you feel that being a writer was a choice or a calling for you?
I feel both.
BONUS ROUND FOR PURE PLEASURE: What book did you probably read too young and it therefore haunted you forever after?
Looking for Mr. Goodbar.