Peter Gordon Stories.com
Peter Gordon is a graduate of Yale whose short
stories have appeared in Ploughshares,
The New Yorker, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. His work has
been anthologised, awarded a Pushcart Prize and cited in The Best American Short Stories
series. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.
with Peter Gordon
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Peter Gordon: Most
of the stories in the collection were written over a five year period.
A couple of the stories were previously published over a decade ago but
were extensively revised.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
But as I began to put together the collection, it was pretty clear that
most of the stories I’ve written – and certainly the ones I thought
would best cohere as part of a unified collection – reflected similar
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
considered over 30 published stories, and a few unpublished ones, for
the collection. My biggest goal was to create a book where the sum
total adds up to something bigger than each part. It’s like climbing a
hill one step at a time with each step affording a different view, and
then reaching the top and looking back at something that surprises you.
I left out many stories that I’m very attached to but that just didn’t
make thematic sense as part of the collection. As for the order, I
fiddled around with that quite a bit, and ultimately ordered the
stories based largely on my own sense of natural progression as well as
suggestions from the publisher.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
It means going on a journey, however brief, propelled by people, ideas
and language that give you a fresh glimpse of what it means to be human.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
The only reader I have in mind is someone who is open to the experience
of reading serious fiction, in whatever mode or style that experience
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
you ever think about the stories – perhaps one story, or even one image
– that relates in some way to the particular circumstances of your own
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling. I love thinking about the fact
that the book is out there in different places and in the hands of
What are you working on now?
PG: I’m working on a cycle of new stories that are designed to ultimately add up to a collection.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
PG: Irish Girl, by Tim Johnston. If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, by Robin Black. Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, by Lydia Peelle. I enjoyed them all.