Canadian writer Dede Crane is the author of the literary novel Sympathy. She has also published a teen novel, The 25 Pains of Kennedy Baines
and has been published in numerous literary journals.Dede has also
co-edited a collection of non-fiction stories about the experience of
giving birth. She is a former professional ballet dancer and
choreographer and currently calls Victoria, B.C. home.
with Dede Crane
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Dede Crane: From
start to finish probably about five years. Meaning I would leave a
story for another project, come back with what I felt I'd learned and
rework it. Never believing my writing up to snuff, I'd do this again
and again and again...
And then when it was accepted by Coteau
for publication, they were edited yet again, with some being
substantially overhauled. And then when I do readings from the actual
published book, I edit them again before the reading. My reading copy
is horribly marked up.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
at the start. After a while I did start to see a theme around middle
age and the demise of sexual passion, but as the collection progressed
not all fit under that label and I saw a broader theme of loss in
general. Sounds cheering. There is a lot of humour along the way
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
just knew which ones weren't strong enough or that didn't come from
that deep place which gives a story its layers, and which did. The
order is always difficult. One tries to put the strongest first, second
and last, hide in the middle the one or two you're not sure about and
then mix up the content for varied reading. It's a fool's game.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
Story means unearthing confusion, poking at a wound, an irritant that
confounds you or rubs you the wrong way or moves you or stops you from
moving ... and then giving it a context, a lens through which to look
at it, relieve it to the degree something can be relieved.
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
Me. I can only inform myself, entertain myself, express and explore
myself and trust that I'm transcending the personal into the
collective. Trusting that we, as individuals, are, at the same time,
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
I'm always interested in where people were engaged and if or when they
were moved by a story, whether it's moved to laughter, to sadness or
anger. If those things happen then I feel I've communicated and
connected and that's very satisfying.
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
DC: Disbelief. Are they?
TSR: What are
you working on now?
DC: I'm waiting for the release of my second teen novel this fall with Groundwood. That will be my first hardcover book which is kind of neat. And I have submitted a novel to Coteau
(that I've worked on for the past 5 years) and am waiting to hear if
they want to publish it or think it's garbage. I've recently adapted
one of my husband's stories into a play and am working with him on
that. Really I've kind of cleared the deck of projects I've been
working on for the last ten years, five of which have thankfully been
published therefore enabling me to truly move on, and am now waiting
for some inspiration to hit and write something new. Will probably
start with a few stories and then, if I dare, reach for another
novel. I did write a new story this spring that I just sent off to
a magazine. That was the first brand new thing I'd written in a long
time and that felt good. I had some fun. Hard fun. That's what writing
is for me. Hard fun.
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
DC: I read novels as a rule but the last collection I read was Sean Virgo's Begging Questions.
I love his writing, so sensual and perceptually rich. The opening two
story are especially stunning. Before that I read PK Page's latest. Her
stories are always a delight, full of humour and wonder, airy with
questions, fable-esque. And I read Patricia Young's collection Airstream.
There's an honesty in the writing that seduces you inside the story and
takes you over in a surprising way that by the story's end you kind of
wake up and wonder where you've been. Also her characters are just so
easy to love. I'd like to add that I aboslutely love Caroline
Adderson's latest collection and one of my favourite collections of the
last several years was Broken Record Technique by Lee Henderson.