I’m J. Robert Lennon, novelist, short story writer, and creative writing professor at Cornell University. Literambivalence will be sent out every Sunday between now and April 2021, when my two new books—Subdivision, a novel, and Let Me Think, a collection of stories—are published by Graywolf Press. If people seem to like it, I may continue.
The newsletter will consist of three sections each week—something about fiction writing, something about music, and something about photography. The first is my career; the latter two are avocations. But these interests inform one another, and each of the three has historically helped me to do work on the other two. The weekly entries may be creative work, like a short story, a song, or a photo; they may consist of links with commentary, recommendations of other artists, or prompts for creative projects. I may also sometimes talk about teaching, which represents the other half of my career as a writer. I’ll use the newsletter to let you know when I have something new out, but it won’t be primarily for self-promotion—there will be actual content you won’t necessarily get anywhere else. If you like my stuff, consider this newsletter a little something extra: lagniappe Lennon.
“Literambivalence” is a title I’ve been using occasionally for years—it’s something of a semantic eyeroll, an acknowledgement of my congenital skepticism and literary disloyalty. I prefer to think of my ambivalence about all things as a check on what might otherwise be a tendency toward overconfidence or sanctimony: I think it’s dangerous for an artist to be a little too sure of anything! For me, doubt is an engine of discovery. I hope that, if you enjoy it, this newsletter might inspire you, but also if you don’t.
The current welcome page image is a collection of utility access panels I photographed on the street in various towns in Tenerife, Spain. The crow logo comes from Kyle G. Hunter’s excellent cover for my new novel, Subdivision.
Thanks for reading!