Reading & Writing

Three Interesting Interviews

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A conversation with Lydia Millet, from Willow Springs (I might be biased here, because I was one of the interviewers, but throughout the conversation Lydia dazzled me with her wit and intelligence; if you haven’t read any of her fiction, I highly recommend you do).

I think any writer of substance is a cultural critic by nature. Almost any. I think books should have an agenda, but I don’t think you should be able to deliver a one-liner about what that agenda is … I just want to feel that it’s there, pulsing behind the bones.

An interview with Aimee Bender, from The Rumpus–an especially interesting read for writers with children, especially writers who are mothers, especially writers who are mothers who have read a good amount of Bender’s work.

Rumpus: How has being a mother of twins affected your writing routine?

Bender: So far no routine at all! But they’re very new and very little so I’m just taking a break from writing, which actually feels good. It’ll be different, though—my two-hours-in-the-morning routine can’t work like it has for a while

An interview with Amy Poehler about her memoir, Yes Please. Though the last two writers are both very funny, there’s such a difference between humor and comedy. I thought this would be a good contrast with the other two interviews. I certainly won’t posit that Poehler is an author in the same league as Bender and Millet, but she is a cultural icon in a way that the other two are not, and her book is memoir while the other two write fiction.

I’m used to writing in characters and not really writing about myself. And it was easier to share the early parts of my life rather than my own current events.

Reading & Writing

My Favorite Short Story

There are billions of short stories out there, and probably millions of good ones. Thousands of really good ones. I’ve read so many–both published and in the slush pile for Willow Springs–but when I think about short stories, there’s one that always comes to mind. It’s not a classic like “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” or “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” (which are both great). It’s not particularly famous, nor is its author. In fact, if I hadn’t worked at Willow Springs, I might never have known it existed. It’s called “The Land of Pain” and it was published in Willow Springs 56.

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It used to be available on their website, but I guess it’s been taken down. If you can get your hands on a copy, read it. In the mean time, read another of my favorites by Stacey Richter, “The Cavemen in the Hedges.”

And Stacey, if you’re out there, I hope you’re writing. Because I want to read it.