cover image The Long Run: A Creative Inquiry

The Long Run: A Creative Inquiry

Stacey D’Erasmo. Graywolf, $17 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-6444-5292-9

Novelist D’Erasmo (The Complicities) takes a rewarding deep dive into why—and how—artists are able to go on making art. Driven partly by a painful and protracted spell of writer’s block, the author consulted and researched late-career painters, writers, composers, and others to find out how they’ve sustained their creativity. Landscape design artist Darrel Morrison draws inspiration from the earth itself (“Who needs human beings when nature is this polymorphous and sensual?” D’Erasmo muses). Critic and science fiction novelist Samuel R. Delany uses life’s “chance encounters” as a “wellspring of rich possibility” from which to create fantastical worlds, in the words of critic Matthew Cheney, while actor Blair Brown credits her ability to “traverse genres from sci-fi to high lit and mediums from the stage to the small screen to film” for her remarkably durable career. What emerges from these and other interviews is less a creative blueprint than an admiring portrait of the perseverance, talent, and drive that fuels creatives. While D’Erasmo’s self-reflections sometimes detract from the focus on her subjects, the final product inspires. Artists seeking inspiration would do well to check this out. (July)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misidentified one of the profile subjects. The actor interviewed was Blair Brown, not Bonnie Blair.