Happy birthday to Nelson Algren, one of Seven Stories's founding authors and patron saints. Algren was the first ever National Book Award winner, the one-time lover of Simone de Beauvoir, and an inspiration to artists as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut and Donald Barthelme, Studs Turkel and Lou Reed. But Algren was much more than his accolades and could ever show, as the following excerpt from his Noncomformity: Writing on Writing will attest. Beginning with an epigraph from F. Scott Fitzgerald in his 'crack-up' years, Algren's essay is, in some ways, the opposite of inspiring. It is a look into the depths of the writer's motivation (hint: vindictiveness), and a hymn to all those who "live underground." Perhaps enjoy is not the world—but we hope you'll find yourself moved and provoked by this lyrical and brilliant piece of writing on writing.