does the word "story"
mean to you?
don’t ask easy questions, do you? Okay. In a story, something
changes. Or, at least, has the potential to change. It can be a
very small thing. But if nothing moves what you have is not a story
but a vignette or possibly a poem. The word "journey" is
overused in this context but that’s because it applies. I’m
thinking now of John, in my story The
Man Without a Team.
John spends the whole story deciding whether to go into the hospital
room of his dying uncle. If he goes in, that’s one story; if he
doesn’t, that’s a different story. It’s such a small thing.
But our lives are built out of these little journeys – away from
the door or in the door.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
Sometimes the reader is me and sometimes it’s someone else, most
often my friend Kim who is an extremely discerning reader and who
I’ve known for, God, almost twenty years now. Other times, the "reader" is the main character – I hope that if they could read
the story they’d say yes,
that’s just how it was.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
suppose I’d ask which characters, which stories, stayed with them
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
published two poetry collections so I thought I knew how it’d feel
to hold Lights
In The Distance for
the first time. But it was different from the poetry; when I flipped
the pages I saw names of characters that I’d been living with for a
long time. All my old friends, and they finally had a good home. So
I felt very happy in a weirdly selfless way. I like thinking about
people sitting down with the book and encountering Grace and John and
Peg and Tom and all the rest. I don’t know the word for that
feeling but it makes me smile in a goofy way.
What are you working on now?
supposed to have a third poetry collection written by early 2012 so
I’m working on that. It’s going unpredictably but well.
Meanwhile I can feel the idea for a novel slowly forming…which