On the first day of my [writing] workshop with Angela Carter, in my sophomore year, Carter was charged with reducing the number of would-be participants in her class to fourteen. Maybe thirty people were in the room, and she simply stood before us and tried to take questions. Some young guy in the back, rather too full of himself, raised his hand and, with a sort of withering skepticism, asked, ‘Well, what’s your work like?’
You have to have heard Carter speak to know how funny the next moment was. She had a reedy and somewhat thin British voice, toward the upper end of the scale, and she paused a lot when she spoke. There were a lot of ums and ahs. Before she replied, she cocked her head and said ‘um’ once or twice. Then she said, ‘My work cuts like a steel blade at the base of a man’s penis.’
But if I were to write my title, like, going through the airport and you have to put down what you do, I would literally write ‘Creative Genius’ except for two reasons. It sometimes takes too long to write that and sometimes I spell the word ‘genius’ wrong.
Of all of them, Peggy is my favorite. I identify with her struggle. She is so earnest and self-righteous and talented and smart, but dumb about personal things. She thinks she’s living the life of “we.” But she’s not. And every time she turns a corner, someone says, “You’re not part of ‘we.’” “But you all said ‘we’ the other day.” “Yes, we meant, ‘we white men.’”
—Matt Weiner, The Paris Review (Spring 2014)