Archive | March, 2015

John Urschel Says Have Cheap Obsessions


Denis Johnson at Trapdoor 62: The Dream Interpretation Panel (October 20, 2005)

Denis Johnson who I once had the pleasure of doing a reading, performance (Trapdoor 62) in Seattle had one main piece of writing advice that was I think key and yet wasn’t really about writing at all. He said live on as little money as possible. By little, he meant as close to zero as possible.

Here is an NFL lineman (Baltimore Ravens) and part-time mathematician John Urschel saying the something similar (even though he has a lucrative contract): “I drive a used hatchback Nissan Versa and live on less than $25k a year. It’s not because I’m frugal or trying to save for some big purchase, it’s because the things I love the most in this world (reading math, doing research, playing chess) are very, very inexpensive.”

If the MFA thing is a bit of a racket, the industry around aspiring the college football and the NFL completely dwarfs it. Denis Johnson is a writerly freak. John Urschel is even more of a freak. He is a widely published mathematician who also says, “I play because I love the game. I love hitting people. There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you.” Continue Reading →

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