Many of these stories first appeared in The New Yorker, where Harold Ross, Gus Lobrano, and William Maxwell gave me the inestimable gifts of a large, discerning, and responsive group of readers and enough money to feed the family and buy a new suit every other year.
—John Cheever, from the preface to The Stories of John Cheever (p. viii) (which I got out of the library after hearing Garrison Keillor quote the latter part of that sentence two mornings ago, on Cheever’s birthday, on The Writer’s Almanac, which also had another quote that made me want to read Cheever’s Journals).
We had lived, from 1957 on, in Ipswich, a large, heterogenous, and rather out-of-the-way town north of Boston, and my principal means of support, for a family that by 1960 included four children under six, was selling short stories to The New Yorker.
—John Updike, from the foreword to The Early Stories (p. x).
(N.B.: Is this Updike’s foreword republished in its entirety? It might be, but I don’t have the book in front of me, so I can’t say for sure.)
Published earlier this week at Yankee Pot Roast: “The One-Room M.F.A. Program.”
My new Y.P.R. bio explains everything:
Back when he was gettin his em-eff-ay from en-why-you, Thomas Hopkins was in Chuck’s class this one time, and Jen was sayin how she would’ve preferred to learn writin back when old Steve Crane was still kickin around, which was when Robin cracked wise about one-room M.F.A. programs, and Tom was all “Jehoshaphat’s whiskers that’s good stuff,” and Robin was all “Well, Shadrach on a stick, stuff is yours, go on and use it.” And so Tom did. Tom says: Thanks, Robin! Tom also claims this story is funniest read out loud all Foghorn Leghorn-like. But friend, I say, ah, friend, you be the judge.
It’s all true!