Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in over 100 journals including One, the Journal, Berkeley Fiction Review and Epiphany. She has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. She has publihed a chapbook, Disparate Pathos, (Monkey Puzzle Press, 2012) and an anthology, Exquisite Quartet, edited and co-authored by her, 2012. She is the fiction editor of Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press.
(San Francisco Bay Press,
by Bonnie ZoBell
(Monkey Puzzle Press,
with Meg Tuite
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Meg Tuite: I’d
have to go back almost fifteen years. That sounds crazy, but I was
putting together the skeleton of these stories at the time. My mother
was dying and I was sitting in a room with her, writing like a maniac.
I didn't know, nor care that these stories would end up anywhere, but
they were cathartic to write and they were pouring out of me. Of
course, the process of honing them in for publication was a whole
different animal. That's why the many years have transpired. I
rewhacked them in workshops and whittled them down. It was a long
journey, but I never knew that I was in a process when it was
happening. I was just moving along through the wavelength.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
idea. I was lost in the writing itself. I wrote some of these stories
in first person and some in third person. It wasn't until I put
together some of the stories and sent them out as a collection last
year that I realized they could be a collection. And when San Francisco
Bay Press wanted to publish them, we worked on making it into a
novel-in-stories. Most of the stories had been published already in
literary magazines and so I reworked them so that it was the same
narrator throughout and it became a much more cohesive unit.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
can't remember what order I sent them in as a collection, but once I
said yes to San Francisco Bay Press I worked the stories from a girl
starting grade school all the way up through high school, college and
out into the hellish world of employment. Then I changed the names so
that it was more of a novel-in-stories. I would say that all but two of
the stories had previously been published in a different form.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
That's a great question. Now that I've been publishing stories in so
many different forms it has taken on new meaning every year. A story
can be anything that breathes new life into me. I read something that's
anywhere from six words to fifty pages and it transforms me. It deepens
that black hole in whatever part of the brain, choose your spot, and I
am opened up into another universe or my world as I know it has let go
of its borders.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
I don't think of a specific reader when I'm writing. I am trying to get
to a place with the characters. I am trying to bring them alive without
the obstacle of cliche. The reader comes in when I edit and read the
story out loud. If I don't find it interesting, why the hell would they?
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
question would be the question I ask myself when I finish a collection.
Has it moved you, changed you in anyway? That is the ultimate for me in
a book and if I got a yes from a reader, there would be nothing that
could bypass that.
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
I'm so thankful that people are buying my books and reading them.
That's what it's all about. But, I'm really excited when someone tells
me that they finished the book and then their daughter, son, friend
picked it up and took it to read themselves. A book that is passed on
by word of mouth is a gift for the writer. At least, for me.
What are you working on now?
have another full collection that may be coming out in 2013. I have an
ekphrastic chapbook that is coming out this summer with one artist and
sixteen writers. I am editing it, as well as participating as a writer.
I have another chapbook coming out that will be poetry with my own
collages included. Very excited about all of these. And I have a novel
in the works.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
MT: Baby & other stories by Paula Bomer/Word Riot Press, Jimmy Lagowski Saves the World by Pat Pujolas/Independent Talent Group, Inc. The Odditorium by Melissa Pritchard/Bellevue Literary Press. All exceptional reads!