Kim Parko

Kim Parko lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband and dog. She teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Short Story Collections

Cure All
(Caketrain, 2010)

reviewed by
Jarred McGinnis

Interview with Kim Parko

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Kim Parko: The writing in the book spans nine years.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

KP: No, as explained below. 

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

KP: I had several hundreds of pages of work that I sifted through in the initial stages of creating this book. I culled together a rough manuscript in this process and created the “cures” that served as dividers between the pieces. My husband helped me make more sense of it all, and through his input I reconfigured the manuscript and sent it to Joseph Reed at Caketrain (we had been talking about the possibility of Caketrain publishing a book of mine). Joseph then asked for more material, added some of the new work I sent him, omitted some from the original manuscript, made some adjustments to the arrangement of the work, and made character and place names more consistent. I credit him with strengthening the narrative arc of the book. The whole process of working with Joseph was extremely gratifying, as it felt to me collaborative in an invigorating way: I was able to see my work through another lens and perspective that said to me “Wow, this person really gets my writing on a fundamental level”. And I’m hoping that the reciprocal of this was that Joseph felt a deeper creative connection to the whole endeavour (besides the obvious creativity of book design). I feel grateful to have had such a keen and thoughtful reader to help shape the book.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

KP:  Pulls a thread from the heart and wraps it around a drowning spider. Attaches bait to the hook and submerges it in the atom-field. Eats the dead flesh from a live wound. Stokes the fire in the duff. Intersperses the firmament with the terra firma. Forgives with an arrow and seeks vengeance with a white feather. Saves the last bite on the plate for the “One Who Does Not Eat”.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

KP:  My characters are my readers. I want to do right by them. Whatever it is that allows me to imagine a character is inextricably linked to that which allows me to imagine a reader.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

KP: My writing process is like this: I net language/ substance debris that has risen to the surface of the flood and then arrange the debris into tableaux on my raft. So I wonder how people constructed “story” while reading the book, and how that process might be different from the reading of a more straightforward narrative.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

KP: I feel deeply appreciative.

TSR: What are you working on now?

KP: One project I’m working on now is a novel involving characters who experience continuous states of mental, physical, and temporal morphing and transformation. What is emerging is a highly mutable narrative: not so much an arc as a undulating spiral.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

KP: Fugue State by Brian Evenson, The Lives of Rocks by Rick Bass and Recipes for Endangered Species by Traci O’Connor.
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>