On success

"I never studied with Conroy [Frank; the former director of the Iowa Writers Workshop], but he taught me one lesson I still remember. I was featured in Interview magazine that year as an emerging poet, and I showed him the page, with my face, huge, and my poem, tiny, almost hidden in my short hair. He smiled, congratulated me, and then said, “You succeed, you celebrate, you stop writing. You don’t succeed, you despair, you stop writing. Just keep writing. Don’t let your success or failure stop you. Just keep writing.”

Alexander Chee on getting his MFA in fiction at Buzzfeed.