An opposition to politicized forgetting is precisely the task of art. We are responsible, as artists, for documenting, witnessing, and remembering even those truths that are not in our political interest to recall…I believe we are called to recover whatever truths we have the knowledge and the desire to hunt down, those are the truths we are required (by some sacred unwritten universal law) to write down and preserve.
I recently talked with author Joanna Eleftheriou about her debut essay collection, This Way Back, how to engage in the dialectic of identity, confront the privilege of choosing an identity, and how writers prioritize discovery. You can read the full interview here on The Common Online.
We deserve to see ourselves in art. We deserve to see ourselves on TV. There is no greater anguish than the sense of not-existing that our absence in (popular) culture incurs.
Find out more about Joanna Eleftheriou on joannaeleftheriou.com. Joanna’s book This Way Back (September 2020) is available from West Virginia University Press.
I’m striving to approach my writing with renewed joy, to recognize that motherhood—in all of its messy, infuriating, exhilarating ups and downs—informs my writing like no other experience.
I recently talked with author Lara Ehrlich about her prize-winning debut story collection, Animal Wife, and the possibility, power, and resilience steeping within. You can read the full interview here on CRAFT.
That defiance against becoming the thing we are told we should become plays through the rest of the stories, in different forms. We’re told we should be mothers, and that we should devote our whole selves to motherhood. To me, the answer is not to refuse motherhood—it’s to choose for ourselves how we define motherhood. We’re told we should act like ladies. The answer is not to act like men, but to choose for ourselves what it means to be a woman. That is the true resistance.
Find out more about Lara Ehrlich on laraehrlich.com. Lara’s book Animal Wife (September 2020) is available from Red Hen Press.
In the collection, the mouths of the three main speakers struggle to articulate a kinder world still unfathomable to them, in efforts to forge a path there. Articulation is conjuring. I believe it’s the realest magic our bodies are capable of.
I recently talked with poet Jihyun Yun about her prize-winning debut poetry collection, Some are Always Hungry; the mouth as metaphor; a few favorite Korean fairy tales; and the ways in which language connects food, women, and violence. You can read the full interview here on The Rumpus.
I do find it very troubling in itself that it’s easier to imagine the female body as food, as something hunted, as prey, but I think it’s also speaking to a truth of how language, too, can be a knife, and how it is often brandished.
Find out more about Jihyun Yun on jihyunyun.com. Jihyun’s book Some are Always Hungry (September 2020) is available from University of Nebraska Press.
I am constantly being interrupted by my characters, major and minor. I believe in the benevolence of interruptions. It is my way of communing with something beyond me, to let myself be thrown off my intended path, to be thrown off knowing. It’s a sort of disappointment, I’m literally being disappointed from my place of knowing. For me, in art as in life, I am very curious about the creative power of these metaphorical and literal disappointments.
I recently talked with novelist Yelena Moskovich about her newest novel, Virtuoso; conformity; rebellion; post-soviet diaspora; the textures of ideology; writing queer desire; the trauma of flight; and much more. You can read the full interview here on MQR Online.
Our cosmic song, as we have it now, is very much off-key. But there is also beauty and meaning in discord. My current contribution is mainly to listen. My next verse is one I give from my open ears.
You can follow Yelena Moskovich on Twitter and Instagram. Yelena’s book Virtuoso (January 2020) is available from Two Dollar Radio.
The first line came to me, and it hung out in my head like a buzzing fly…It felt like a door was opening, and all I had to do was step through it and follow the path beyond.
I recently talked with novelist Sarah Rose Etter about her debut novel, The Book of X; tragic characters; volcanic landscapes; how to ground readers in surrealism; and more. You can read the full interview here in CRAFT Literary.
Explore, have fun, be an artist on the page. Don’t limit yourself to writing what you’ve been taught. Write what is in your guts. Go into the mud.
Find out more about Sarah Rose Etter at sarahroseetter.com. Sarah’s book The Book of X (July 2019) is available from Two Dollar Radio.
If you’re looking for ways to “fix” something that isn’t “broken,” then you’re really doomed to go on searching for answers that aren’t there. And really what needs adjusting are the kinds of questions we ask. There’s a parallel, of course, to how we think about neurodiversity—so much of the obsession is with “fixing” something. But shouldn’t we be in the business of listening instead?”
I recently talked with poet Oliver de la Paz, author of the outstanding poetry collection,The Boy in the Labyrinth, about mythic metaphors, the problem with story problems, empathy in the digital era, and the role of poetry in the endless exploration of ourselves. You can read the full interview here in The Common.
There’s something beautiful in the attempt to reach beyond ourselves, yes? Beautiful but also a kind of reaching into the void. You’re never sure the vehicle your tenor is riding on will get you where you need to go.
Find out more about Oliver de la Paz at oliverdelapaz.com. Oliver’s book The Boy in the Labyrinth (July 2019) is available from University of Akron Press.
The book is very much about the power of the unsaid, too. Things don’t have to be explicitly stated for you to know them to be true.
I recently talked with novelist Sion Dayson about her debut novel, As a River; writing characters full of contradictions, how to face emotionally-charged scenes, deciding when to reveal secrets & more! You can read the full interview here in The Adroit Journal.
“Writing has always worked best for me when I don’t prod too much at my creative impulses and let my curiosity guide me.”
Find out more about Sion Dayson at siondayson.com. Sion’s book As a River (October 2019) is available from Jaded Ibis Press.
“Change isn’t a big grand gesture we make. It’s those little decisions we make all day long.”
I recently talked with novelist Rene Denfeld about her newest novel, The Butterfly Girl; everyday rebirths; the frequent misconceptions that society has about homelessness; and the ways in which our imaginations can save us. You can read the full interview here in The Rumpus.
“The greatest healing comes in proximity to others, when we invest in our own vulnerability and care, and when the love we show others can become a mirror to our own soul.”
Two years ago, I interviewed Rene about her novel, The Child Finder, and now our conversations have become a sort of a tradition. I will support Rene’s writing for as long as we live. She brings such magic, empathy, and sublime knowledge to everything she does, and our world is better for it.
Find out more about Rene Denfeld at renedenfeld.com. Rene’s book The Butterfly Girl (October 2019) is available from Harper Books.
I’m not sure you can really know a person—or a character—without knowing what they believe.
I recently talked with my former professor and Hunger Mountain editor, Miciah Bay Gault, about her debut novel, Goodnight Stranger; loneliness; the supernatural; the role of belief in living and writing; and our failure to belong in specific “categories.” You can read the full interview here in Electric Literature.
I believe we (writers) should chase our fears and delights, looking for what’s true about us.
Find out more about Miciah Bay Gault at miciahbaygault.com. Miciah’s book Goodnight Stranger (July 2019) is available from Park Row Books.
We have the choice to either give in to inevitability or to scream something back into the void.
I recently talked with poet Brandon Amico about many of the central themes in his poetry collection, Disappearing, Inc.: social media, obsessions, politicized violence, climate change, and the role of poets & writers today. You can read the full interview here in The Adroit Journal.
“We create, in part, to fill the gaps that have opened in our lives, or that will open one day, because everything is on a limited basis.”
Find out more about Brandon Amico at brandonamico.com. Brandon’s book Disappearing, Inc. (March 2019) is available from Gold Wake Press. Brandon is also a freelance copywriter who helps other authors with their book marketing. See his freelance website here.