Website: inspirationalsports movies.blogspot.com
Mary Hamilton is a writer, teacher, and optician living in
Chicago, where she is also the co-host and co-founder of the QUICKIES!
Reading Series. Her work has been published by Smokelong Quarterly,
Storyglossia, Pindeldyboz, Eclectica, Dogzplot, and Thieves Jargon,
among others, and has been included in the Best of the Web anthology.
She blogs about inspirational sports movies at
with Mary Hamilton
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Mary Hamilton: The oldest story -- at the time I submitted the collection -- was
probably about 3-4 years old, the newest story was about 2 months old.
Each story has it's own pattern of time, but usually I work a story in
my brain for about 3-4 weeks before writing it and then the writing
itself takes about 2 hours.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
MH: No, I'm really terrible at thinking big picture. I write a story to
write that story and when it's done I move on. So, when I decided to
figure out something to send to Rose Metal for their contest, I looked
at a big group of stories to narrow down. When I was looking at my
stories, trying to think of how to have a collection, I noticed that
this group had a similar feel or idea behind them.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
MH: I write the names of all my stories on post-it notes and stick them to
the wall in my office and occasionally rearrange them. That way I can
see everything around me. And, since I don't take the post-it off the
wall, it's a constant way of thinking about how the stories react to
each other and what should come next.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
MH: It's sort of the undefinable thing. I don't put any rules around what
makes a story a story, I think that kind of defeats the soul of the
thing. So I actually don't think about the word or the concept much.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
MH: No, maybe I should? When I'm writing, it's pretty much because I have a
stomach ache and the only way to feel better is to tell the world why my
nervous system is in knots. Only I don't say it in so many words. A lot
of my stories are apologies for my own stupid behavior, but I have too
much pride to just call someone and say "Sorry." So I write a story and
hope that maybe they'll read it and get my meaning.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
MH: No. I say that because I think a writer needs to have the ability to let
go of their work and let it be interpreted. Once it leaves my hands,
it's not my story any more. It belongs to someone else and how their own
experiences will influence their interpretation of the words.
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
MH: Pretty great. I'm not getting a big head about it though, I still buy soap at the dollar store.
What are you working on now?
MH: I'm knitting a sweater --really, it's consuming me. I'm also almost done
with the book Don't Sleep, There are Snakes. iI's about a linguist
living with an indigenous tribe in the Amazon and I'm trying to figure
out how to write a story that mimics the way they tell stories.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
MH: I used to be more secretive about this, but the truth is, I don't read a
lot of fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction and biographies. I'm almost
finished with Don't Sleep, There are Snakes by Daniel Everett which is
about his experience as a linguist living with the Piraha tribe in the
Amazon. I just re-read some parts of Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff
Chang which is a comprehensive history of Hip-Hop. I also just re-read Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk which is the perfect book to
read if you're feeling sad.