Triumphs and failures of life as a writer turn tangible in this four-sided fiction. A ten-year-old boy's father lectures on the folly of taking a teacher's praise to heart. A writer details the dreamlike landing of a two-novel deal, and the feeling of abandonment when his publisher is too governed by the bottom line to take risks on later novels. A successful writer counsels a beginner so anxious to write something worthwhile that she's dying from lack of sleep. With honest, precise prose and indelible characters, these and other narratives within The Man Talking Project flesh out what inspires, torments, and sometimes kills the devoted artist.