Katie Roiphe: Don’t Mention It

Do not ask Katie Roiphe what she’s been working on. In today’s installment of “Stray Questions,” on The Times‘ Paper Cuts blog, Dwight Garner asks the author and NYU journalism professor just that and receives this answer:

Because I can’t really answer this question I have noticed that people ask it all the time. I never go anywhere without someone asking me what I am working on, and without me stuttering and fumbling over an answer. I can’t answer because I am working on a book so new and unformed it is still in the delicate phase before words. It hasn’t yet reached a point where I can confidently sum it up in a neat sentence and be done with it. I am also a little bit superstitious.

When Garner asks whose books she finds herself shelved next to, Roiphe says, “Occasionally my books are next to my mother’s books, which is a little strange, and reminds me of the extreme lack of imagination I showed in my career choice. It also reminds me of something my older sister said to me once: ‘Our entire professional lives can be reduced to the kind of drawing that children make for their mother to put up on the refrigerator with magnets.'”