Jessica
Jessica asked Jeff VanderMeer:

Your projects tend to be a little out-of-the-box: huge anthologies that could kill people if they fell asleep reading them, books that are hard to summarize, and a writing book that was basically an art project as well. Do you ever get stuck and think, "Oh god, what am I doing? Did I bite off more than I can chew? Who is going to buy this?"

Jeff VanderMeer Thanks for the question, Jessica. The answer to biting off more than I can chew--all the time. But I'm guided by the first writer who completely ignited my senses and my creative brain: Angela Carter. She always said that your reach should exceed your grasp, that it wasn't worth not going for broke. Even if you wind up not getting all the way there, you get farther than you would have otherwise. So I take a lot of leaps off of cliffs and have faith I'll have knitted myself the parachute before I hit.

But I never ask "Who is going to buy this?" One of my most successful creations was the Lambshead fake disease guide. If I'd stopped to ask "Who is going to buy this?" I'd never have started that project, and it wound up getting a huge amount of attention, being translated into other languages, and involving writers like Neil Gaiman.

That said, it is a bit of a relief that the Southern Reach novels are easy to summarize: strange place, expeditions into it, secret agency overseeing it. The end!!

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