Arguments Worth Having

Art = Absurdity = Provocation = Contemplation = Wisdom = Love

David Shields vs. Caleb Powell: I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel

with 2 comments

Publishers Marketplace
New deals for April 26, 2013

Art?

Art?

Caleb Powell: You excoriate the traditional novel and fiction in Reality Hunger, yet you began writing fiction. It turned out not to be your forte. Why the attack? Isn’t it like an impotent man vowing abstinence?

David Shields: That’s a funny analogy. And I’d be a fool to think that type of criticism won’t emerge… (from The Rumpus)

David Shields and I, at antipodes since the UW, headed into the Cascades for a few days and threw down. The focus? Art vs. life. The result was announced 4/26/13 at Publishers Marketplace:

Life?

Life?

NONFICTION General/OtherNYT bestselling author David Shields’s I THINK YOU’RE TOTALLY WRONG: A QUARREL, a debate about life versus art, in which Shields’s co-author, Caleb Powell, always wanted to become an artist, but overcommitted to life (stay-at-home dad to three young girls), whereas Shields has overcommitted to art and forgotten to become a human being, to Ann Close at Knopf, by PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit (NA).

“Twenty years ago, another undergraduate, Caleb Powell, was in my novel-writing course; we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve read and critiqued his stories and essays. A stay-at-home-dad and freelance journalist, he’s interviewed me occasionally when a new book came out. We disagree about nearly everything. I’ve sacrifice my life for art; Caleb, vice versa. He’s one of the most contrary people I’ve ever met…” David Shields, from How Literature Saved My Life

Caleb:  …that opening of our interview in the Rumpus, when I asked, “You began writing fiction; it turned out not to be your forte. Why the attack? Isn’t it like an impotent man vowing abstinence?”

David:  Only about fifty other reviewers used the same trope. I’d say I’m more like a man in love pointing out to the man on Viagra that he’s fucking a sex doll. (from I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel)

Update:  I Think You’re Totally Wrong – The Movie

“Riding a Mower” vs. Reality Hunger:

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Written by Caleb Powell

May 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

2 Responses

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  1. […] Sexist Stay-at-home Dad & Writer:  I’m not just a sexist stay-at-home father, but now, officially, writing is a hobby and…ahem, a quasi-profession. My lovely wife may disagree, as she knows that my wage is mighty low, but nevertheless, I signed a deal with Knopf. More here:  David Shields vs. Caleb Powell: I Think You’re Totally Wrong. […]

  2. […] children—assuming this is of interest to them—but only one.” In our forthcoming book, I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel, David Shields and I discuss parenting. Specifically, having children, how many, and how this can […]


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